Forget about finding that special someone to share sunsets and fireside chats. If you'd rather find that special moron who bumped you in the checkout line, a weekly shopper has just the ticket: anti-personals.
Manhattan Pennysaver invites readers to "give the gift of hate" by placing an advertisement in a special section where people are cut down to size in small print."Slay a rotten neighbor. Bad-mouth the public figure of your choice," the paper urges readers. "Spew forth your anger. You'll feel much better afterward."
At a rate of $10 for 20 words (50 cents per each additional word), New Yorkers have been verbally kneecapping each other since the anti-personals appeared several months ago.
The page offers an opportunity to have the last word in the kind of impersonal yet acrimonious run-ins for which the nation's largest city is famous.
Some examples, occasionally suggesting a casual command of English grammar, spelling and punctuation:
"Attn: The girl who was wearing the tight leopard jump suit with black pumps who purposely stepped on my foot while you was getting off the R train last Wednesday. Meet me at the end of the 63rd Avenue station next Wednesday. I got some shoes with your butt's name on them. - Rita."
"To the misery who purposely let the elevator door close while I was standing there with my hands full. Don't be alarmed when the banging noise becomes so great it sounds as though it's coming through your ceiling. Sweet dreams! - Your Upstairs Neighbor."
"To the insensitive boob in the business suit and sneakers who watched me get mugged on the No. 1 train last week without doing a damn thing to help. Pig."
"2-13, 2:30 p.m. Downtown No. 2 train - You, light blue rain coat, sunglasses. Me, tall, short blonde hair reading accounting book. Learn some manners!"
But most of the anti-personals deal with that bottomless source of bitterness and disillusion - romance.
One is addressed to "The Faxman: Faxes are impersonal and cold. If the best you could do was fax me your reasons for breaking up, the best I can do is tell you it is over and drop dead in an anti-personal."
Even casual dates seem to inspire intense recrimination. Many anti-personals are taken out by women to complain about dates who tried to drive too fast, go too far or eat too much.
"Dear Jake," writes Janet. "Thanks for the wonderful dinner. . . . After eating with your fingers, burping & passing wind all evening, I say, `Find somebody else to date that's your own species.' "
There's a morass of redundant insults - "spineless jelly fish," "trampy slut" - and cliched put-downs, but some ads deliver their message simply and clearly without wasting words.
"Ginger darling," purrs Susan R. "Next bus out of town. Be under it."