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Off-Kilter

March 17, 1998|ROY RIVENBURG | Times Staff Writer

SWM Seeks ICBM Into XYZ: As a "personal ad historian," writer Allison Hoff has scoured 35,000 singles ads nationwide and compiled the best in a self-published booklet, "If You Like Pin~a Coladas." We don't normally devote an entire column to one topic, but this was hard to resist. First, our six favorite:

* "SW male, 40, seeks life mate to help dig foxholes, make bombs, forage abandoned cities, determine which mutant plants are edible, clean and load machine guns, lay booby traps and stitch flesh. Cause Armageddon won't be any fun to face alone."

* "Sorry but they've only allotted me 40 words to convey to you the depths of my soul. Oh dear! Now it's only 23 words. I mean 17! No, 14! This is terrible! Now I have only eight left! What shall"

* "Seeking clone of last girlfriend (as she was of the one before her) to help me reenact lifetime of codependent behavior. SWM, 38, hair, eyes, etc."

* "Bla bla bla 32 bla bla bla handsome bla bla bla Jazz bla bla bla real bla bla bla companionship bla bla bla bla love."

* "Greg seeks Marcia. Since we're not really related, I wanted to say I think you're groovy. Let's listen to your funky 8-tracks. I am a 25 SWM with the coolest threads."

* "To the 57 men who answered my ad, I am now a lesbian."

Hoff says L.A. had the most people claiming to be good-looking, Denver was home to the most self-described "fun" Christians, and New York ads featured the longest abbreviations, including SWDPJMNRNSND (single white divorced professional Jewish male nonreligious nonsmoking nondrinking).

Some singles ads had rather bizarre specifications for a potential mate, such as the ability to identify 1980s tunes in three notes or a birth date of "Feb. 4, 12 or 16, especially in the year 1949 or 1953." A few more interesting examples:

* A woman searching for a man who possesses "the qualities of Jesus and Sting combined."

* A lonely heart who insisted that anyone responding to the ad play the ukulele.

* A request for someone "into exploring other sides of consciousness through tribal-ambient sounds."

* A woman who asked that potential suitors "please don't be a CEO who has downsized thousands of workers."

* A woman seeking a cross between Mickey Rourke, Ward Cleaver and Ralph Nader.

Other advertisers demanded that suitors not have certain characteristics, for example: "no Mormons or people with 15 cats." Hoff was surprised that another oft-mentioned qualification was "no psychopaths," as if someone would want to date a loon.

Also noteworthy was the number of ads that couched self-descriptions in such metaphors as cars ("backfires once in a while but can be controlled"), movies or animals:

* "Passionfish seeks angelfish, goldfish or even reformed piranha for company on the swim upstream."

* "Cockroaches fascinate me, as do men who scuttle about passionately on thin legs, investigating time, space, thought, food with dogged determination."

For a copy of the 31-page personals booklet, send a check for $1.50 to Allison Hoff, P.O. Box 90282, Pittsburgh, PA 15224.

Best Supermarket Tabloid Headline: "Kitten Drowned by a Giant Goldfish! Cat Dips Paw in Tank and Fish Pulls Him In!" (Weekly World News)

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* Roy Rivenburg can be reached by e-mail at roy.rivenburg@latimes.com.

Contributor: Wireless Flash

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