Flabby Intellectual Needs a Girlfriend

Sunday, March 27th, ©2011 Marcus Brooks

Those are the most important words I ever wrote.

Long ago, around 1990 A.D., the Internet was an academic tool and the World Wide Web was a gleam in some physicist’s eye. Electronic bulletin-board systems (BBSs) were widespread, but bandwidth was pathetic. Most public sites were text-only and could handle just one user at a time. Most BBS users were male.

Photo of high-speed newsprint web press.

Old-School Tweets Came on Birdcage Liner (Wikipedia Photo)

In that dark age, the state of the art in arm’s-length social networking was still the newsprint classified ad, not so different from a hundred years before. A personal ad in the Austin Chronicle (free, up to a certain word count) was a virtual broadcast to the city’s younger, more open-minded populace.

And a broadcast was what I needed. My efforts at befriending the girls I knew had resulted in girl friends, not girlfriends. I am more or less a nice man, and glad to be, but none of the girls I knew could imagine me in a naughty context. Nice is nice, but it doesn’t make a whole person.

In those days, and perhaps still, Chronicle personals could get a bit racy, so I thought an ad in the Chronicle might suggest my capacity for naughtiness. As I recall, I submitted these words:

Flabby intellectual needs a girlfriend; preferably warm, nonsmoking, and tolerant of sonnets. Backrubs optional. I am SWM, 30, fixer upper. Ideal home project for psychology buffs.

(Yes, indeed, I had sunk to the low of writing sonnets. For shame!)

The ad brought three responses (snail mail forwarded by the paper). One was a law student and single mother who later said she responded by accident. Another was a strawberry blonde programmer who wanted to adjust my meridians. The third was Shea. (A psychology buff!)

That was 21 years ago. The years haven’t all been easy, but Shea gets me. And, within my lights, I get her. I don’t know how I did it, but somehow in that brief ad I wrote the spec for my perfect companion. I have that to prove I can be a darned good writer—at least once!

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