With their abbreviated dialect - WLTM, GSOH, SWF - and cliched appeals, personal ads these days can appear anything but personal. It's always fun scanning through lonely hearts sections in newspapers and magazines.
The truth is that no matter how witty/clever the ad is, and how lovely a person might sound on the phone, the reality is only revealed when you meet that person for the first time.
My 4 most amusing encounters all started from small ads followed by a number of chats on the phone with apparently nice, normal men. 1) Turned up in a pale grey nylon blazer with assorted stains and missing teeth.
They are windows into other people's lives and many make for compulsive reading.
The first newspaper personal ads started appearing in the 19th Century and many magazines have had thriving columns for decades. Agencies that run small ads sections make fortunes by using premium rate phone lines and helping callers to formulate adverts.
I then lost her number and only managed to get her number from her friend who had given out her business card to all the blokes in the pub.