Look at these two lonely hearts ads. “Man, 29, looking for a lady aged 25-29 for a serious relationship leading to marriage.” and “Man, 29, looking for a fat, beautiful, wealthy lady ready for marriage”. Do you notice the difference? The first one is from the good old days before the ads got specific and undoubtedly crazy like the second one.
It has become common to see the barely 10-word statements manage to specify so many requirements. Like “a rich man ready to open up a business for me”, “ready for a secret relationship, such and such a tribe do not bother”.
While it is easy to understand why people will see it important to add their sero status or specify on the sero status of their prospective partner, these others just leave more questions than answers. Why, for example, would you put an ad on a national newspaper or TV, fully aware that by doing so, you are casting your net wide, then want to restrict it to a certain tribe?
“I have had an experience with a man from a tribe I said I do not want,” Nisha, a 25-year- old lady, who, in her ad, had made it clear that members of a certain tribe should not bother contacting her, says. Apparently, that he spoilt it for anyone who hails from the same region. But as she expounded on her reasons, it was apparent that she was also hang up on common stereotypes.
“People from that side cannot be faithful to one woman,” she says. On why she felt she had to put it there rather than wait and quietly choose from those that responded to her, Nisha adds: “I just want to make sure I do not get replies from only men from that tribe. I want to increase my chances by choosing from what I already want.”
Job, a 36-year-old man, is searching for a lady aged 20-30 for a secret relationship. His decision to put it there, he says, was because he wanted to be honest from the start.
“I have my reasons, of course,” he says, adding that he had very specific reasons, which means, only a secret relationship can work right now. “There are circumstances in my life right now I can only share with the person who contacts me as interested. You know these things. I want company,” Job says.
He, however, shies away from confirming whether he is married or not, but says his intention for including the part about a secret relationship is to find a person who is willing to understand whatever his situation may be.
“I have even asked those interested to text and I will call back, not them to call me. Any discerning person can see this is already a hint at how our relationship will be. I do not want to lie,” he says, evidently missing the irony that a secret relationship will be a lie in itself.
More and more people seem to be keen to specify the preferred economic ability of their prospective suitors. If it is not a blatant “a rich man to open a business for me, pay my fees or even take care of me”, it is a thinly-veiled “financially stable, employed, or well-to-do”.
“It is what I need. I have failed to get it so far so I put up an ad,” says Peter, who specified that he is looking for a rich sugar mummy who is ready to have lots of fun.
Another 29-year-old man who is also looking for a financially stable White or light-skinned lady aged 35-50, able to help him get back to school, says he is driven by his current situation.
“I cannot handle just any relationship in my current situation. I do not want to have to disappoint someone. That is why I make it clear,” he says.
Peter further explains that times have changed now and men do not have to be the breadwinners anymore. “We all know some women have more money than men nowadays and some are open to taking care of the men.” He adds that the bit about the financial requirement is an indication that he is alright with a woman who bankrolls the relationship.
“It takes out all that fumbling and faking at the beginning of the relationship when one is trying to impress a girl. I will not have to borrow for a first date for example,” he says.
Both men say there is no shame in it as the women they may find will already be sympathetic to their situation, thanks to that money clause in the ad.
“It is just me trying to make certain roles clear before anything happens. I have seen people asking for a tall, slim lady, a light-skinned man, or even a person who lives abroad. People have choices. Mine is a woman who is financially stable. I have dated before without really being so strict, but now I am,” the 29-year-old who refused to give his name, says.
Easing the hunt
Apparently, this is a favour even for whoever responds. “There will be no surprises. I am honest. I want people to know what they are getting into,” says Peter.
Interestingly, the possibility of pushing away prospective soulmates who may not meet these specified qualities, say, for example, an average earner where rich has been specified or in the case of an interested person falling in a tribe told not to respond does not seem to bother these lonely hearts.