Better IRL: The Best of n+1 Personals

From the limited-edition ebook Bad Romance.

We launched the n + personals website in the  summer of 2011. It began, as many great things do, as a harebrained joke between interns. “Welcome to the golden age of internet dating!” announced the press release for our ad-hoc tumblr, foreshadowing, perhaps, the histrionics to come. To our surprise, people leapt for the bait. So earnest in their sarcasm! We had no choice but to take them seriously. Strange bedfellows n+1 readers do make—and were they really our readers? We didn’t want to know.

Submissions were filtered and inquiries dispatched, and titles—much to the chagrin of users—generated in-house. (Not even interns have the gravitas to stomach more than one request for “Madame Bovary, c’est moi.”) The New York Review of Books wrote in, seeking détente: “These ageist sallies deserve an elegant response . . . we envy the very inventive personals tumblr and seek an exchange with n+1.” The interns complied. We were finally getting published in print!

Everyone wanted to know: did people actually find love? We couldn’t say. Certainly dates were procured, and emails—if not saliva—swapped. We interns, anyway, weren’t too interested in love. So we killed the site on its anniversary. However, in the name of bad romance, we’ve revived the best of the personals here, and done them a solid by coupling them according to our taste. If you’re out there, dear lonely hearts, you can still write us to meet your match: kphillips@nplusonemag.com.

Kaitlin Phillips

The Writer Girl Seeking Random Play

For Your Consideration: Latter-day Aphra Behn seeks straight Kit Marlowe for a great reckoning in a little room.

The Male Edith Sitwell

Looks like he was dipped in glue and pushed around a barbershop floor. Excellent posture, 35.

Nihilist Seeks Not Quite Nothing

Me: No bed of roses. Like waterboarding. The American way. Tooth decay. Facial imperfections. Squandered genius. Nasty reputation. Check out the thinning hair. Anti-this, anti-that, pro-not much. Morose. Morbid. Corrosive. Enemies list. Lives in the past. Megalomania. Limited palette. Horror of pets. Lapsed Catholic. Two years older than Jesus when he was crucified under Pontius Pilate, suffered, died and was buried. On the third day he rose again in fulfillment of the Scriptures to descant and yet again descant upon the supreme theme of art and song: the earth is an oyster with nothing inside it, and not to be born is the best for man. In other words, past “my prime.” Congenital tremor. Heart murmur. Insomnia. Vices. Nondomestic. Emotionally autistic “But you’re a very sweet person,” says someone else. Maybe. “[Not] ugly,” says someone else. Perhaps. Six foot four. London.

You: Knows how to read.

Extremist Seeks Not Quite Everything

Me: No bedstead of thorns. Likes wiretapping. The British way. Bare-toothed. Pale-faced. Untapped genius. Scandalous reputation. Slim-limbed and thin-haired. Anti-this, anti-that, pro-not much. Morose. Morbid. Embittered. Enemies list. Lives in the past. Fantasist. Selective palette. Horror of big pets. Non-Catholic. Possibly older than Jezebel if indeed she was eaten by large ravenous dogs. Likewise a defamed prophetess decrying artistic treason. To wit: Only Brodie had a prime. Congenital smoker. Insomnia. Vices. Domestically uncommitted. Emotionally intolerant. Five foot three. Portsmouth. New England.

You: Knows how to read what?

Would Like To Avoid Worries About Autism (Ha!)

Alternately world-weary and childishly-delighted 25 year old, drug-and-disease free, non-smoking, Asian, female. Living by Central Park with 781 Fico in search of a clean, cuddly sex god like you to live happily, if fretfully, ever after with.

You: A sincere, deeply loving, overeducated-but-down-to-earth single male 24-35 in search of someone like me (Highly committed to the two languages, cultures, and cuisines that I was born into, but prone to life-changing flings with others. Too open-minded to care about what you did during university, but too well brought up to not eventually end up in a happily closed marriage with accomplished, over-privileged offspring. Would like to avoid worries about autism). On most days, you are some variant of genius that is nonetheless well adjusted, well groomed, well traveled, and well spoken in at least two languages and cultures. Passion for food, drinks, sex, and other performance arts a plus. Your most recent relationships were serious and monogamous in theory and practice. You have a vice-like grip over your personal finances and freedoms, or at least try to file your own taxes, plan for retirement, and vote on time, even if any trust fund and family influences are generally so over- or undersized as to render your individual actions rather moot. This is of course unless you have been planning a revolution à la Robespierre, which could also be fun.

The Man That Refers to Fitzgerald as “F.Scott,” holds fort in a “tea salon”

Why is pulchritude such an ugly word? Dapper 22-year-old writer with a penchant for aestheticism. As an American my taste in literature is decidedly continental: Du Côté de Chez Swann, Madame Bovary, et al. If the writer is not French then he is an American living abroad: F. Scott, Hemingway. My favorite novel that actually takes place in the States was written by a Russian émigré whose protagonist is a French expat. A theme emerges. Food is also a major source of fascination.

You: always stunning me with your insights into human behavior and the brisk speed with which you sail through tomes—not to mention your poise, which I cannot ever quite pull off. You like it when I cook for you, always offering to chop the onions when my eyes begin to water, I never allowing it. I suggest we begin by meeting in a tea salon: my true home. NB: straight male, still in university.

Do You Think He Can Play Rachmaninoff ?Mechanically?

Twenty-five-year-old who honors his elders and looks devastating in a dinner jacket. Student and teacher of history, classics, philosophy. Used to identify as a classical pianist. Can drink as much bourbon as the next hipster, but prefers champagne. Practices martial arts and enjoys hiking in the White Mountains. Boston now; England soon. Seeks another young man in his twenties who’s interested in beginning a correspondence.

“INFJ’s are Among the Rarest of the Sixteen ?Personality Types, Constituting Only 1-3% ?of the General Population”

Proudly bespectacled, mildly bearded early-mid-20s INFJ guy seekscompatible fellow to spend time with. Enjoys late-’80s house compilations, snapshots as high art, and every exclamation mark of Frank O’Hara’s poetry. Embraces dress aesthetic of a 1966 Harvard homophile. From the South (the better Carolina). Looking for someone who enjoys, say, early-’90s Detroit techno. Or, perhaps, Gerhard Richter. Or, even, Philip Larkin. But really, just looking for a gentle soul with broad interests and a tendency for excitement. Let’s cook grits together!

Will You Go hunt, [With This] Lord? Perchance He’ll Steal Your Hart?

I descend from a long lineage of dukes. In my spare time, I like to play duke polo, which is similar to regular polo but instead of riding horses, we ride on exotic animals from the Orient or lesser-dukes. I am 23 years old and should the fifty-three people ahead of me die suddenly, I will ascend to true duke status. I have memorized all of Byron not because I care for the man’s verse, but because that is a requirement to graduate from duke primary school. Looking for someone who will unquestionably help plot the murders of fifty-three people.

Young Girl Sees Ghost Cats, Makes Gesture Towards Escaping Future as Crazy Harridan

Girl (neophyte, 21) seeks man (bright), girl (tall), or both (together), for spheres (public/private). Not as well-educated as you’d like, i.e., it’s funnier to tell, rather than show. Fixated on the pride of men, women, and children, but will settle for a late supper or dangerous winter sport. Concerned, sartorially, and so are you. Often mistakes slippers and chair legs for ghost cats. Wakes, but often does not rise, with the sun. Monolingual, because being understood in English is hard enough.

The Editor

Promiscuous homosexual editor seeks ambitious intellectual top. Young and sweet or old and worldly—either does the trick.

The Cute Gay Reporter

Reporter, 23. Gay, really cute. Emotional slut. Not political, not religious, not judgmental. Prefer ’em quiet. Takers?

Sister Wifedom in England!

Do you like rainy days for sitting on the couch with your man in front of a hot fire and a couple of cats, kids across the hall in their own living room? Could you live on a hill and walk to town? I am almost 33, a fundraising management consultant starting my practice, and planning to start a junior college in the next two years. My girlfriend is more than a decade older than me and we are concerned that eventually I will want a wife my own age. My marriage expects two “planners” a child told me. I live in England. If I were in America I would probably go raise investment for another tech company and try not to think of regrets.

Gotta Love Mistress Potential

Impoverished but ambitious artsy graduate student type seeks London-based man of means for spoilâge, frolics. Me: female, neither short, fat, nor dull. You: old-fashioned, wicked, and/or multi-lingual frequent traveler, possibly married.

As Baudrillard Himself Would Say: “At the heart of pornography is sexuality haunted by its own disappearance.”

Vaguely commited whisp of smoke seeks window pane to sully with virtual nothings and real consequences. Imagine a three-dimensional axe in your Twitter feed, cleaving any trace of a humanism from the avatar’s uncircumcised lips. You read Dennis Cooper for the sex. Let’s talk poetry and Baudrillard. Every date is the end.

Twenty-five, male for female, Brooklyn, graduate student.

You Will Undoubtedly Dress as Sherlock Holmes and, Turning to Her, Say: Now now, resident pervert, I can’t give away all my secrets, can I?

Well-dressed pervert seeks same for brown liquor, mystery solving.

The Single White Male Who Doesn’t Want You To Die During Childbirth

Single, white male who lives by Central Park. I run an international NGO that aims to reduce the number of women and newborns that die from pregnancy and childbirth. Totally immersed in the fine and performing arts. Very active physically—squash, skiing—foodie and wine lover. Looking for female to take the journey with me!

Because You Want a Natalia in the Sheets, and a Tatiana on the Streets 

Woman of a not-quite-certain age who carries a portrait of Pushkin (hideously framed in plastic) wherever she wanders, seeks lighthearted dalliance-unfettered flirtation with unattached man who has no aversion to Schubert as far as he knows, is intellectually buoyant, conversant in Wodehouse (“she thought every time a fairy laughed a wee babe was born”), nineteenth-century German philosophy, quantum mechanics, topology, the mechanics of the bicycle—in short everything she knows nothing about, except the first instance, and in the last comes equipped with a can of WD-40, and a pocketful of charming, unpretentious blandishments.

First Date, Pro Tip: Gesundheit Doubles as Cheers

Some other, off-line world, we hit it off:
A potluck with a swap of recipes?
A library, “gesundheit” to your cough?
A garden plot, and compliments on peas?
In this one, though, that hasn’t happened yet,
and so: I’m 34, male, Cambridge, MA;
IT, veggie, I seldom drink, no pet,
or car. Just cheap, it would be fair to say.
It once was principled simplicity,
but now, habit? I know I could do worse:
old books, and friends, familiarity . . .
Though to the new I couldn’t be averse.
Intrigued? Could write, if it is not a chore.
(Or not: I may have proved myself a bore.)

The Post-(Post?)-Intellectual-Slash-Farmer-Woman

Twenty-seven years old, well-acquainted with despair, modernism, German, dirt, downward dog. Exhausted of dreary academics with hunched shoulders, coke-and-cigarette diets, and acute amnesia about their bodies. Equally, achingly bored of liberal-hippie narcissists that can’t hold (compelling) conversations, let alone consider the oblique implications of Irigaray’s feminism. Prone to nostalgia, an affinity for second-hand wares, a recurring fantasy about growing food, reading, and living a simple life (which includes participating in the revolution, of course).

Seeking: Hyper-literatus with handyman leanings (possibly even pretensions, depending). Not afraid of or disgusted by dogs, dog hair, dog breath (dog poop forgivable). In touch with your body: yoga or meditation a super plus, habitual inspection of your own shit a must. Cook, cuddler, and owner of a pair of hiking boots and/or non-skinny jeans. Can hold up your end of the conversation on: art, literature, braising pork (or daikon, if you’re veg), capitalism, spiritual crisis, fixing things, your emotional state.

Well, Google Stalking is on the Table

I’m your unfinished novel.
We’re both attractive and successful.
We’re young and wise and old and irreverent.
My book is open at FastOrbit.com.

The California Runner Girl* 

So I might try to pretend that I’m just lonely but otherwise totally normal, but to be totally honest, I’m alone and posting here mostly through my own doing. I’m righteously bad at relationships, clingy and vain, yet utterly terrified of real closeness or intimacy, like seriously crazy. On top of that, I’m incredibly picky. I like to pretend that i’m not and that I’m totally cool with normal guys, but frankly, I probably will only sleep with you if you’re taller than 6’2” and have a PhD. I’m just that shallow. The only thing that lends me any depth is the fear that people wouldn’t like me if they knew how cruel and judgmental I actually am. On the bright side though I am young and not hideous. I run a lot. 25 years old, 5’9”, 135 lbs, dark hair, light skin. Located in San Francisco. Despite my own Gallic features, I approve of Northern European features and accents even more strongly than advanced degrees. +

[*the first n + personal]

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