A Geezer’s Notebook, By Jim Foster
Do you know what I miss? Reading Lonely Hearts ads in the daily newspapers. I know today there are dozens and dozens of dating services on the Internet, where for a piddling few thousand dollars and a truckload of disappointments you can find someone to love and cherish until death do you both in.
In the 60s and well into the 70s, and 80s there were dozens of lonely folks looking for companionship in newspapers across the country. Part of the joy of a rainy Saturday morning was trying to guess who Felicity of Fesserton really was. Sometimes it was so obvious. Everyone from Beaverton to Omemee knew that Bob from Bobcaygeon was Frank from Fenelon Falls and already on his fourth wife. (I didn’t mean Frank was on his fourth wife at that moment, but he had been married three times before and it seems is now looking for number five. I thought I had better make that clear.)
There are all sorts of ways of hooking up on line, but I don’t want to hook up I am already hooked. I just want to see who or what is out there, and out of curiosity how a young lady or gentleman looking for a life partner, friend with benefits, one night stand, casual lover, or just a person to share the back seat of a 1973 Toyota on the Zehrs parking lot, would go about finding true love in 2020.
For no particular reason other than terminal nosiness I browsed through the want-ad section in this morning’s Toronto Star and there was nary a one. Apparently not one soul is horny enough, or desperate enough, to put him or herself out there for the chance to meet the person of their dreams. (Not those dreams. There are not, nor was there ever, anyone quite that kinky – and you need to book yourself in for a psychiatric assessment.)
Years ago daily newspapers from coast to coast cashed in on the sex thing and it was a wonderful service for the single persons of society, but the whole process fell by the wayside when computer networking took over. In our day, lonely people advertised in the Companions Wanted section of the nation’s newspapers looking for someone to share his or her bed, or if not actually share the bed, at least be willing to lie on it to commune with them once in a while. Even pasting your picture and romantic proclivities on the side of the neighbourhood group mailbox has fallen into disfavour believe it or not, possibly due to the local professional adding a price list.
The number of married men who were actively looking to meet a caring lady for a discreet relationship surprised me. I had no idea that sort of thing was so popular in Canada. Usually the gentleman describes himself as a successful young professional too busy to go the usual route of joining a church group or a political party, God forbid. The caring lady will probably question the ‘successful’ part when she has to chip in half of the cost of the motel room. She may also question the ‘young’ when she sees his heart medications, his orange-flavoured Metamucil, his false teeth and a Viagra pill lined up on the dresser.
Most folks running ads were not looking for just anyone. Lonely people back then were trying to find a friend and/or lover and hopefully a relationship that would last at least until their old Geezers Pension kicks in. Today they are searching for a ‘soul mate’. That’s ‘soul’ not a ‘sole’ mate I suspect would be a companion for someone with a foot fetish, or a chubby person trying to add a few grams of Omega 3 to his or her diet.
Can you imagine someone running an ad for a ‘soul mate’ in the ‘Personal’ columns in the 1950s? The readers would have assumed that ‘Lonely Linda from Long Branch’ was looking for a friend to go to the Thursday Night Bible Class at the Grace and Truth Gospel Hall or someone to hand out pamphlets on the other side of the street.
Of course there was a danger way back when, and sadly there still is, the chance one could get stung and your new-found friend who appeared to be a winner was lying. One poor women looking for an adventurous young stud actually found one in the Orillia Packet and Times. After several months of intensely boring evenings and nightly audits discovered he was, in fact, an accountant. Now how disappointing would that be?