"a fish, a barrel, and a smoking gun"
for 23 August 1996. Updated every WEEKDAY.

A Lovin' Swoonful



The commercialization of every

nook and cranny of our lives has

ramifications far and wide - one

could, indeed, waste the better

part of a day (or a lifetime)

listing them. But consumerism's

effect on mating patterns is

perhaps the most insidious and

delightful of the lot. In a

breathtaking twist of natural

selection's rules, consumers

everywhere are throwing aside

the instinct to mate with the

fittest in pursuit of the one

with the right stuff - in their

apartment, that is.


Indeed, determining whether or

not a potential mate shares the

same values can be as easy as

finding out whether they shop

for values or valuables.

Torturously inane relationships

can be avoided every single day,

thanks to a recently-acquired

human trait that allows one to

filter out possible partners

based on their consumption



[Grunge Guys]

A male friend of ours, for

example, had already gone out

with a woman a few times when he

found out her favorite band was

the Stone Temple Pilots, which,

naturally, represented a whole

barrel of major personality

flaws he would inevitably

encounter... So he dumped her.


[Wine for Whiners]

Similarly, a female friend had a

crush on a man for a few weeks,

but, upon visiting his apartment

with a couple of friends, was

shocked to find a beautiful

white couch, a dried flower

arrangement on the mantel, and a

full set of expensive wine

glasses hanging in the kitchen.

He had obviously put a lot of

thought and money into these

purchases, which she found

disturbing. She imagined him

smugly rising from the couch,

pulling down two immaculate wine

glasses while he suavely

explained the reasoning behind

his wine selection for the

evening. The crush died



[Bald is Beautiful]

Snap judgments based on the wrong

consumer choice might seem a bit

harsh, but in a society where

only good shoppers survive,

doesn't it seem more adaptive to

prefer loot over looks? That

sexy man might bring you some

beautiful children, but if those

children watch Full House reruns

and listen to Dishwalla, is it

really worth it?


[Red Red Roses]

Indeed, considering the

overwhelming importance of

finding the perfect mate with

whom to propagate your genes,

it seems the task should be

approached with the same gravity

and studied accuracy as a job

search. The personal ad is far

too haphazard a format - why not

meticulously construct a love

resume, one that offers up all

the important facts at a glance,

one that looks nice? Yet, based

on the personal ads we've

encountered, the resume form

might only accentuate the hollow

uniformity of the details most

seem to offer up for our




- red roses               
- cuddling                
- long walks on the beach 
- sunsets                 


- mean, inactive people   
- dissatisfaction         
- the indoors             
- being alone             

[Baby's Got Sauce]

Thus, the wannabe loved would do

well to seek the services of a

professional love resume

consultant, whose finesse with

design and organization issues

("Love Experience," "Products in

Bathroom," "Favorite

Restaurants," "STDs") might

focus the audience's attention

on the resonant features of that

person's love landscape:


Recent Purchases:                   

- G. Love and Special Sauce CD      
- Odwalla Superfood Micronutrient   
- Tahoe down comforter              
- Frye boots, black                 
- fetches Peet's coffee and         
  Katz's bagels quickly upon        
  command, no questions asked       
- certified massage therapist       
- lights Kamel cigarettes with      
- hazards guesses on the origins    
  of anything vaguely dadaist       
  (took Surrealism class in         
- quotes Shaft impeccably           
  (saw it fifteen times)            
- handles emotional breakdowns      
  with aplomb (read The Dance of    
  Anger twice)                      

[How I Love Thee]

The masterminds at Swoon are

brilliant enough not only to

bring us answers to such

questions as "What His Musical

Taste Says About Him," but also

to make personal-ad clients

disclose salient traits just as

the professional love consultant

would. At Swoon, they don't just

stand by and let bastions of

potential procreators awkwardly

craft disturbingly homogeneous

self-descriptions that hinge on

vague notions of love garnered

entirely from the last ten years

of flaccid romantic-comedy

scripts. Instead, the Swoon

personal ad staff recognizes the

importance of image management,

and accordingly, coaxes out only

the crucial details.


[Boy + Girl]

For example, when creating a

personal profile [Readers!

Search for: pe] at Swoon, one

must finish the sentence, "I

have _____ in my CD player." Or,

even better, "I'm an excellent

lover because ______." Leaving

aside the question of how many

truly excellent lovers there are

out there, such a question

allows the perfect space for

customized product placements:

"I'm an excellent lover because

I drink Ernest and Julio Gallo

pink chardonnay and play Nina

Simone, softly." Suddenly, many

of those who'd otherwise find

themselves hopelessly

distracted, like deer in

headlights, by images of love

scenes from Top Gun, are instead

forced to put forth concrete

evidence of their personal

tastes - and perhaps even their

income brackets!


But then, given the importance of

such trivial details, the

slightest error or misstep can

be fatal. What if some typo

leads a reader to believe you

like Bush instead of Kate Bush?

What if listing your Yoda

mousepad belies an overly

image-conscious fixation on

novelty items, not to mention an

unhealthy attachment to the

past? Swoon does its best, but

simple prompts are not enough.

Hunting horndogs need

professional help to ensure that

they secure the highest quality

booty available.


[Treats Me Like A Puppet]

In fact, forget the love resume

altogether. Doesn't this search

of searches deserve an entire

marketing team, replete with

copywriters churning out that

subtle turn of phrase that'll

get us laid? If those ad wizards

can make us think carbonated

sugar is the secret to a better

life, certainly they can make

even mealy slugs like us look

more like Sexy Hilarious

Supergeniuses. Hell, they could

probably even trademark our

names and copyright our distinct

blends of charmingly vain

anecdotes and self-deprecating

asides, not to mention our

sexual specialties.



Finally, we'll be free from those

lonely nights watching

adjustable mattress infomercials

and dreaming of That Special

Someone. The commodification of

the universe does have its

advantages, and once the love

consultants hit the streets,

those of us with fat enough

wallets to afford their services

are gonna have so many potential

mates lined up, we're gonna wish

we could clone ourselves and

distribute our trademarked asses

to the world.

courtesy of Polly Esther