As someone who landed his first full time bluegrass employment thanks to a classified ad, I continue to take an interest in this kind of advertising. Not to be voyeuristic, but the personals section has always been pretty interesting, too; in fact, they’re generally more enjoyable knowing you don’t actually have to date any of the people running the ads. Much of that method of connecting has changed thanks to online dating sites and apps, but there has always been one constant: people do their best to make themselves seem as unrealistically desirable as possible, while masking the qualities that may repel potential mates. That’s where euphemisms like “curvy” or “stocky” come in. When people refer to themselves as “fun-loving” or “impulsive,” you can read that as “unbalanced.” “Detail-oriented” is likely to mean “obsessive and controlling.”
As for what these advertisers seek in a partner, the expectations are often way too high or too specific: “. . . seeking partner who is brunette, beautiful, between 110 and 115 pounds, between 5’4″ and 5’6”, must love German Shepherds with dark faces, the movie The Getaway (the Steve McQueen/Ali McGraw original, not the remake), snowshoeing, slightly overcooked eggs, early Ernest Tubb, and Norse mythology. A bowling average above 180 and ability to speak Dutch a plus.”
If such a person exists, it would probably be this guy’s ex, who dumped him recently, and even she didn’t like The Getaway (possibly the reason for the split).
One day I came across a personal ad that definitely had bluegrass overtones, and it led me to seek out more, and I thought I’d share my findings with you. Some of these are several years old, so don’t get your hopes up that any of these people are still available. In some cases it’s not quite clear whether they’re seeking romance or a bandmate, or both:
Loving, caring single male musician seeks long term relationship with female interested in companionship, romance, and long walks in a parking lot, carrying an upright bass. Love of music, ability to play the bass with a good sense of timing is preferred. Slapping is optional (I’m just assuming this refers to the bass-playing). Van and/or P.A. system ownership is a plus. I’m a mature man, on the stocky side, who plays a D-18 and knows all the words to Barbara Allen. I’m easy-going, warm, and respectful, unless you drag the tempo down. Those who don’t know what a D-18 is need not respond.
41-year old divorced female seeks male, 38-50, for love, friendship, music, and extensive travel in a 1973 Silver Eagle bus. Must play Scruggs-style banjo at a professional level. Ability to drive a bus, with knowledge of diesel mechanics required. Baritone harmony singing, and basic kissing proficiency a plus. Send picture and video clip of banjo playing.
Tall, attractive female, 31, seeks bearded man with fiddle and or banjo skills and an interest in old time music. A sense of adventure, interest in camping, moonshine, and craft beer a must. Ability to play the same tune 150 times through is desired. Children and pets okay.
Mature, lead singing male seeks romance and musical relationship with female 35-50 with mandolin and/or fiddle playing skills. Ability to sing the high baritone part is important. Knowledge of Kentucky basketball, classic movies, and the Stanley Brothers Columbia period desirable. Please send picture and recording of Pee Wee Lambert’s harmony part on The Fields Have Turned Brown.
37-year old man seeks female (or male with very high voice) for companionship, travel, and the tenor part. A strong right hand for rhythm guitar, the ability to sing a high C, and willingness to sell band merchandise is required, as is a valid driver’s license. Offering long drives in the moonlight and sharing of “profit” in the business. Any age is fine, but easygoing personality and flexible eating habits are a must. Snoring in the bunks is discouraged.