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Taboo or not, the practice certainly isn't new.Personal ads have a history going back at least 300 years, according to a new book on the subject entitled "Classified: The Secret History of the Personal Column" (Random House Books, 2009).Being single passed the age of 21 was considered almost shameful in that era, and the ads were often a last resort for the men who advertised and the women who read them.

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When the London Review of Books’ advertising director David Rose started the personals section in the publication’s classifieds in 1998, the first ad he ran was “Disaffiliated flâneur, jacked-up on Viagra and on the look-out for a contortionist trumpeter.” With that one sentence fragment, the gauntlet was officially thrown down.

Originally designed to match intelligent people based on their literary interests, readers immediately ganged up on the personals section like Amazon reviewers and twisted it for their own purposes. Now people turn to the personals ads first, then read the book reviews.We are both happy as can be and it is really great with us both being positive and understanding the side effects and other issues that we have to put up with."—Ron "I just wanted to let you know how much I love POZ magazine and POZ Personals.As someone employed by the Minnesota AIDS Project it has definitely been a great resource for news and the personals have really helped me feel less alone.But if he were to describe himself for a LRB ad, he’d have to make himself sound like a circus freak or monstrous horror movie creature in order to get anyone’s attention.David Rose has compiled (named for the delightful ad “They call me Naughty Lola.Are the readers going to say, ‘No I didn’t mean for you to print that ad? ’ They were consistently like that from there on in. The cynical, dark-humored, quirky, but literate descriptions are tinged with existential despair and CV’s full of failed relationships.