The text of each was similar, though one claimed to be from a woman in her 20s, the other in her 40s.“There were about 25 or 30 responses to the 40s ad,” she says, “but there were over 200 to the 20s one, including doctors, lawyers, and several from prison.” In her paper, men’s ads skewed a little older, women’s slightly younger.Many of the seekers were divorced, and looking for an alternative to the carousel of what the authors of “Courtship American Style” call “the tedious and meaningless …round of bars and singles’ clubs.” One ad says the writer is looking for “a little fun and excitement and a lot of deep down feeling but not wedding bliss (I’ve gone that route).” “The ads in this paper read a little like the ask-bid columns of the New York Stock Exchange,” wrote those authors, Catherine Cameron, Stuart Oskamp, and William Sparks.Despite proposals from nine separate men, she says, she never married or had children, and has no regrets about a life spent traveling, collecting vintage clothing, and dabbling in real estate.
Thinking back on it today, she laughs, “I wonder how much they were paying me for that.” All this she did alone in an office building on 3rd Avenue and East 55th Street. By the 1970s, couples were meeting at singles bars or discos—or by putting personal ads in physical, printed papers.
was the first, and largest, “singles newspaper” in the city, and promised “real ads… real responses…” from “100’s of eligible singles.” A fresh romantic life could be yours for just 75 cents a copy.
Across the country, comparable publications sprung up like mushrooms, eager to capitalize on a wave of singles and divorcees looking for love in a time of increased sexual openness.
She’s now on Nick, her fourth companion of the breed, who caterwauls with joy as he hears her climbing the stairs.
Her enduring love of vintage clothing—a 1950s navy-and-red checked coat, for example—appears in the paper, as well, when she recommends second-hand clothing stores as a dating idea.Cameron, Oskamp, and Sparks remark, drily, “The overwhelmingly positive content of the ads is especially clear if one considers the likely nature of information which was not presented.” Well, hope springs eternal.