Love, love me do
Mating rituals at the end of the second millennium may be more elaborate than those of our ancestors. But the need to find a significant other is as primal as ever. Ann Donald got Personal and checked out how to set up a blind date around the world.
‘The Parisians are ﬁxated by it. It‘s like their sex toy,‘ proclaims Dale Gavin, a Scot living in Paris. The sex instrument in question is Minitel: the screen and keyboard telephone information service issued some years back by French Telecom to six million households. it was intended as a replacement for telephone directories, the dullest reading matter available. but that is not how anyone would describe the thousands of affaires conducted via its tiny screen.
Numerous ‘chat-lines’ are available but, according to Dale, the metropolis’s current favourite is the unambiguously titled CUM. ‘The publicity on TV and the Metro is all very classy with people in tuxedos and ballgowns, but really it‘s : just a sex-line,‘ notes Dale matter-of- factly. Putting this slanderous accusation to the test, Dale dialed 36: 15, hooked into Minitel and pressed in the codeword CUM, (deﬁned by Minitel as being the Latin derivation of ‘ﬁnding love‘). A list of options then appears ranging from ‘direct dialogue‘ to ‘tarot cards‘. Opting for the former. Dale is requested to choose a nom-de-
plume which then slots in alongside the
,, other sixteen names already on screen. These pseudonyms range from the
waggish ‘Closet Lolita’ and ‘Touche Turtle‘ to your regular Jean-Paul, and are accompanied by a brief description of the user. You then choose a number corresponding to the most intriguing— sounding homme or femme and hey presto. by the wonder of technology you are now in direct screen contact with your computer concubine and can type any number of salacious messages to your heart’s desire. As Dale observes, Minitel’s popularity lies in the fact that, ‘it‘s completely anonymous so people have no
inhibitions’. The liberating experience
costs 12F connection fee, then 4F per minute.
in the Paris weekly paper J ’Amzonce there are pages of personal ads lodged under the ‘Rencontres‘ section. Here‘s a guide to the current argot -
. Shorthand 3 JJMS jolie, jeune mais seule (pretty. _ young but alone)
Jll jeune homme (young man)
1 FCII femme cherche homme (woman looking for man) i lich bon chic. bon genre (Sloane)
a deux tout est mieux it takes two plaisantlns s’abstenir jokers needn‘t apply
ILLUSTRATION: DAVE KEEN
je ne cherche pas une rencontre iurtive et sans lendemain l‘m not looking for a one night stand.
Some iiecent Examples
I hie bruler les ailes au soleil de tes yeux, me nourrir au suc de tes levres, me pamer d’amour au creux de tes bras. enﬁn pret pour aimer. (To burn my wings in the sun of your eyes, to feed on the nectar of your lips. to swoon with love in your embrace, in short: l‘m ready for love.)
I la propose a iolie JF soins protheses dentaires contre calins si afﬁnites. (For a pretty young woman, dental care or false teeth in exchange for caresses if suited.)
Wanner, / "PfMis/jw'w'.‘ 5 “honszmbtmm (30‘ _ / mmmgﬁkm
kbch and, which} ,’ inﬁdch - I kmﬁundamdncvjz Wclr, I I “berodcxl'nﬂgyﬂd : dab?! Verz’ko-nd‘ Qqﬁmniuslw fifhnmrbonuofht Don. C "gcb. "Winn. don“ nu_ Wit” [(xrfrgfuggkﬂi wl'rzbcn’o Will. “Inﬁwmnk 2”“ )( sofa" a [89 likrchDW- n. C“. "with" C257; rich ‘ u’ or / CH”
nub}, 0 mv h RE I!
' OC “btycb' use, “if'sProbfl'f'fi‘Ymp M / -.‘w»rnb.f?.""" m
f Munchner magazine
i ‘l believe that everyone in the whole of 9 Munich must be lonely judging by our
number of ads‘. Manager of the vast
classiﬁed section in Munich‘s List
equivalent. Uwe Wudtel is in the
perfect position to pass judgement on
his fellow burghers’ plight. ‘In the last two years especially our section has tripled,‘ he notes with amazement. The magazine devotes eight pages in each issue to personal ads encompassing various persuasions and sexual preferences organised with Teutonic efﬁciency into four distinct categories.
The ﬁrst is ‘Wahre Liebe’ (True Love) and consists of three pages of serious. straightforward heterosexual Munchners looking for ‘smart’,‘healthy‘.‘clean‘ heterosexual Munchners. Next, ‘Lust Akut‘ (Intense Lust) two pages of, as Uwe bluntly puts it: ‘A lot of people over-using the term Hard-Core who want to wear leather and be hit with sticks.’ Or as one recent pheromone-induced advertiser was moved to say. ‘Schlacht mich. schlacht mich mit eine Zeitung!’ (Whip me. Whip me with a newspaper!‘) From the ‘Dominant' and ‘Sklave' (Slave) littered section back into good. clean. platonic pals fun with the ‘Kontaktwiese‘ section which actually translates very quaintly as ‘the meadow where people meet’. Devised for those wanting to pursue such clean-cut activities as hill-walking or traditional dancing with friends of both sexes without the added romantic burden. The ﬁnal page is occupied by ‘Rosa Zeiten’ (pink camp) and the intriguing ‘Amazonen’ section for those advertising for gay or lesbian partners respectively.
Shorthand Trau 0lr was Go on be brave lch bin neue in der Stadt l‘m new in
town For das giuck zu zweit We could be happy together
I 0u suchst weder Rambo noch Yuppie. Auch keinen Ersatz fur Deinen Papi. Was fehlt? Fruhstucken auf dem Balkonen mit Dir. (You are looking neither for Rambo or a yuppy. And you‘re certainly not looking for a father-ﬁgure. What do you think? Breakfast on the balcony together.)
I Lost und Spiele statt Luit und liebe! Welche Frau denkt auch so und spielt mit m.27? (Lust and games instead of air and life! Which woman agrees and wants to play with this male. 27?)
_ The bridal
A Scottish wedding; the kllts, the castle, the kirk minister and ’til death us do part with a cool seven grand ior the privilege. That’s the average cost at a wedding, according to Bliss, the newly-launch magazine'ior Scottish brides. Multiplied by 35,000, the number oi marriages every year, that makes a market worth £245 million. So, weddings are big business in Scotland. Bliss is illled with page
alter page oi glossy ads ior the kind at l ma
wedding dresses that make Princess
i l l I l
chie the night beiore. This deiinitely one ior the traditionallsts
Diana’s look like something run up the : who believe ialry tales come true.
‘Vle’re not preaching marriage, we’re
i there ior the people who have already
‘ decided to get married,’ explains
editor Morag Malloy. ‘Yes, there’s
5 some cynicism about the institution,
but not among the people we’re targeting.’
Further evidence that the ‘waddin’ industry is blooming is the Scottish Bridal Fair which returns to Glasgow later in February and visits Edinburgh ior the iirst time. The organisers boast that you can arrange your whole wedding in a day, apart irom the actual venue. Sadly there will be no church elders taking stands to tout business.
ii none oi God’s representatives will be oiierlng advice on the Big Day, you could always consult the astrologer who will be on hand to give you a sneak preview oi married liie.
Presumably it your palm indicates the lloover is to be your constant companion or an oiiicial irom the Child Support Agency looms large, the resident mystic keeps stunun.
Even ii the tea leaves say all’s well, the ilowers are arranged, the dress bought and the invitation list drawn up, the odd little wrinkle can still spoil the periect day. Bliss averts at least one problem. ‘idany brides worry about wedding day quivers causing nervousbiotchesontheneck . . .’iie worries, just buy a tube oi green Indie-up and ‘the only glow you have to think about is the glow that all radiant brides have!’ (Eddie Gibb) Bliss is available quarterly irom newsageuts at £15. The Scottish Bridal Fair is at SE00, Glasgow, 12-13 Feb and the linyal llighland Centre, Edinburdi, 20-21 Feb.
The List 1 l-24 Februarv I994 73