Deborah Yaffe


By Deborah Yaffe, Feb 26 2015 02:00PM

Here we have a self-consciously literate Craigslist personal ad from a Portland man who says he’s a Jane Austen fan.* He’s looking for companionship -- specifically female companionship -- for “new conversation, contact and correspondence,” or “new experiences,” later identified as “new email friends, coffee and lunch time strolls through the park.” He says he’s interested in meeting people who are “not prepared for anything rash or unseemly.”

So far, so Edmund Bertram.

Yet I can’t help picking up, dog-whistle-like, some discordant notes. This conversation-seeker mentions his level of attractiveness (more Robert Martin than Mr. Darcy), suggests an eventual exchange of photos, and says he hopes to meet someone who “has taken good care of herself,” which probably doesn’t mean someone who always makes sure her freezer is fully stocked with Ben & Jerry’s Mint Chocolate Cookie.

Oh, and by the way -- he’s married.

He’s making this clear up front, which is definitely an improvement on the Edward Ferrars MO, but still: tell me, ladies, do we believe that this guy is just after coffee? I think Jane Austen would wonder.

* For all you enterprising sociology grad students, let me suggest a dissertation topic: Jane Austen in the personals. This is my second post on the subject (the first is here) so, as any lifestyle journalist could tell you, one more example makes it a trend.

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