First, I’ve received word that Charles Shield, whose biography of Harper Lee Mockingbird appeared earlier this year, is working on a biography of Kurt Vonnegut. He would like to know people’s experiences with Vonnegut, either personally or with his novels. You can email me or leave a comment. Vonnegut’s a writer that influenced me early on when I was a freshman in high school. Slaughterhouse-Five was one of the first books I read that challenged my notion of literature. Up until that point, I had been reading mostly classics like Dickens, Steinbeck, Bronte, and Austen. Vonnegut was an eye-opener.
My second piece of business isn’t really business. I just read this article in the NYT today about the London Review of Book’s personals.
A woman in the current issue, for instance, specifies that she is looking for a man “who doesn’t name his genitals after German chancellors” (not even, the ad says, “Prince Chlodwig zu Hohenlohe-Schillingfürst, however admirable the independence he gave to secretaries of state may have been.”)In an e-mail exchange also conducted on condition that her name not be used, the woman, a 38-year-old local government arts official with an interest in Bismarck, said she been inspired by a disastrous experience with a date who announced over the tiramisu that he called his private parts “Asquith,” after the World War I prime minister.
I’ve been trying to write a personal in my head that would both offend and attract. People, you’re assignment is to write a personal ad in the comments below. With all of our great minds, surely we can come up with some real prizewinners.
My personal ad would be something like this:
I’m convinced that every woman on the planet is a hooker, and I have no reason to believe that any woman who responds to this is any different. Dating has simply become a less certain way of purchasing sex. (This realization was enough for me to attend AA meetings, though I confess I only made it to the fourth step.) That said, don’t expect me to pay you in diamonds or cash. You’ll have to settle for a bus pass and a cheap dinner. And if you’re really lucky, I might pay the extra 39 cents to super-size your McDonald’s combo meal). Think you have what it takes to help me contribute to our fast food nation? Then go ahead and respond, but don’t expect me to be impressed with your literacy and your penchant for Thomas Pynchon novels (what a hack!); I’d rather watch you stuff your face with 99-cent cheeseburgers.
P.S. “The Da Vinci Code” is the greatest novel ever written! Take that, Leon Tollstory!
Will review books for sex.
Naming your privates after a German chancellor? That’s sick. Tattoos are the way to go. I can pick up any woman just by saying “I have ‘Theobald von Bethmann Hollweg’ tattooed on my cock, and it ain’t 8-point font, baby.”