COLUMN

‘Well-educated, dynamic man seeks...’

Based on the ratio of population to personal ads, Ottawa stands as the capital city with the most lonely hearts

STEWART MACLEOD May 29 1989
COLUMN

‘Well-educated, dynamic man seeks...’

Based on the ratio of population to personal ads, Ottawa stands as the capital city with the most lonely hearts

STEWART MACLEOD May 29 1989

‘Well-educated, dynamic man seeks...’

Based on the ratio of population to personal ads, Ottawa stands as the capital city with the most lonely hearts

COLUMN

STEWART MACLEOD

Finally, thank heavens, the frustration has ended. It’s almost like graduation time in Ottawa. And if the expression weren’t so detestably meaningless, one might even be tempted to say we’re finally world-class.

You see, since Confederation and before, we word-packers in this nation’s capital have had to endure the unique indignity of confining our utterances to politics. The trouble was that Ottawa, apart from being beautiful and having a farm in the middle of the city, stood alone among capitals as leading the world in nothing. By contrast, political reporters in Seoul could pass an otherwise quiet day updating the riot capital of the world. In Moscow, the queue capital offers a fascinating diversion.

In Tokyo, they have been able to claim the world championship of subway deaths and, while not to go on indefinitely, it’s now known to absolutely everyone that Washington is the murder capital of the planet. Each year, some 600 victims—or is it 700?—bite the concrete. That, of course, is not counting political assassinations, or attempts thereof.

Surely, you can understand the horrible humiliation we felt when, in swapping yarns with colleagues from Washington, we were reduced to repeating stories of how P.E.I.’s Joe Ghiz became an immediate Canadian legend by being the first premier in 40-odd years to be punched by a drunk. And, after being told about 2,000 U.S. marines invading Panama, it was obviously one-downmanship for us to talk of pulling troops out of Portage la Prairie.

It’s no longer that way, however. We now have irrefutable evidence—but perhaps a subject for debate at the University of Western Ontario—that Ottawa, for reasons still under scrutiny, stands alone as the lovelorn capital of the world. It matters not whether it has racial,

cultural, bureaucratic, religious or aerobic connotations, it’s a fact. The evidence, based largely on the ratio of population to personal ads in Ottawa-based publications, is there for everyone to see.

And to think that Mr. A. Fotheringham has referred to this captivating capital as Eunuchon-the-Rideau. Perhaps he thinks this is a political town.

Anyway, some eunuch! This metropolitan area of 700,000 or so not only has three daily newspapers with let’s-get-together ads, it also has a full-blown magazine with 14 pages of absolutely nothing but. We won’t go into the naked truth about the magazine, except that it’s designed to bring people together. Intellectuals might use such lofty language as the horizontal mosaic.

And then, if you still harbor doubts about Ottawa’s world title, you can let your fingers walk through no less than 26 (count ’em) pages of “Escort Services” in the yellow section of the telephone book.

And boy, do we have variety to offer!

Here, for instance, is a masseur-turnedbusinessman in search of a “no-pressure gettogether.” Or would you be interested in a “well-educated, not-religious, dynamic, fun-

loving, irreverent, musical, physically fit social democrat.”

If the New Democrats don’t grab this candidate for their leadership, they deserve to lose.

Ever wonder where you might find a “cleancut, married, virgin gentleman 50 years or older?” Bet no other world capital would even launch such a search.

In fact, there are so many “companion” ads oozing out that some seem to get in the wrong column. As with this adoption request: “Naughty man in 30s wants a mommy in early 20s.”

But, while Ottawa is the undisputed lovelorn capital of the world, we can’t claim any title for originality or quality without further and deeper research. That bit about a fun-loving social democrat might strike you as a hilarious contradiction, but it still can’t compete with an ad in The New York Review of Books from someone with “a great sense of humor who loves ceramics.”

The giggling potter strikes again.

How would you like to cuddle up with what the Review bills as a “deeply conflicted, meateating vegetarian who seeks solace?” Might be less complicated to check out that “luscious, lusty old lady.”

Some lucky French-speaking Ottawan should jump at the chance to give language lessons to an attractive, active achiever who not only is willing to pay but throw in “incredible fringe benefits.” An opportunity to thrash around in the hedges of Government House perhaps?

We have a “competent poet who sings at the wheel.” That might not be as fascinating as New York’s “unusual psychiatrist who wants permanent relationship with female.” But then, in Canada’s capital, there’s a gal “equally in love with the outdoors and candlelight dinners.”

Anyone need a firebug?

Speaking of candlelight dinners, is it possible that these contribute to loneliness? Seems to me that virtually everyone in Ottawa who’s paper-shopping for a mate has this thing for candlelight dinners. But then, most enjoy dancing—Great Caesar, that could be the problem!—and they invariably enjoy the theatre. The vast majority also like skiing in one form or another, virtually all are music lovers, most adore long walks in the country, along with tennis, cozy conversation in front of a fireplace and, always, “fun times.”

At the end of a day like that, perhaps with a round of cycling thrown in, the only fun left would be snoring.

That’s it—Ottawa’s lonely hearts simply work too hard. It has nothing to do with longsuspected bureaucratic bungling in the bedroom. And perhaps it’s time some people strived for more simplicity: “Unhappily married man, loves women, no experience necessary.” Or, out of sheer curiosity, “Successful dentist, loves to laugh ...”

On the other hand, it might be best to leave things alone. Too many successful matings and Ottawa will lose its greatest claim to fame.

Eunuch-on-the-Rideau? Ha!

Allan Fotheringham is on vacation.

Stewart MacLeod is Ottawa columnist for Thomson News Service.