The first genuine Lonely Hearts advert there is evidence for is from the 19th of July 1695. It says: 'A gentleman of about 30 years of Age, that says he had a Very Good Estate, would willingly Match himself to some Good Young Gentlewoman that has a Fortune of 3000l. [£3000] or thereabouts, and he will make Settlement to Content.' Other ads had been published in previous decades, but they were most probably jokes.
The second Lord Lucan advertised for marriage in 1818, saying that this 'descendant of the royal branches of Lorraine and Capet, and other sovereigns of Europe, wishes to contract an alliance with a lady capable from her rank and talents of supporting the dignity and titles, which an alliance so honourable would confer on her.' He had no luck with this line of enquiry in spite of posting adverts on several different occasions.
In 1825, a group of young men from Harrow School took out an ad purporting to be from a rich and beautiful lady that elicited 50 replies. They then inserted a second advert, asking for the man who’d answered to be at Drury Lane Theatre on a certain night, and to stand up at the end of the show and put a monocle in his right eye. When the time came, 50 men duly stood up. As they caught sight of each other through their monocles, they gradually became aware that they’d all been had.
The first date in literature appears in the 5000-year-old Sumerian Epic of Gilgamesh. In order to tame Enkidu, a Tarzan-like wild man who is terrorising his people, King Gilgamesh sends Shamhat, a beautiful prosititute, to visit him. They meet at a waterhole where 'Shamhat loosened her undergarments, opened her legs and he took in her attractions.' He then drinks seven jars of beer, eats bread for the first time and the couple spend a week in bed. After this, Enkidu shaves, cleans himself up, put on clothes for the first time and accompanies Shamhat to the city, 'having acquired wisdom'.
Thomas Edison proposed to his second wife in Morse code.
I'm all for computer dating but I wouldn't want my sister to marry one.
Speed dating sounds like a great idea because it introduces you to lots of potential partners, but in reality it’s quite difficult to hook up with someone this way for the same reason that it’s difficult to decide what to order in a Chinese restaurant: when presented with lots of choices, people get confused and are likely not to choose anything at all.
This isn’t just speculation on our part; it has been tested experimentally in a study of 3,600 speed daters, and the conclusion was that as the amount of variety on offer increased, the number of introductions which actually led anywhere fell.
One theory is that our ancestors lived in relatively small, tight-knit communities, so we’re ill-adapted to deal with the level of variety that confronts us today.
Some websites offer gene-based dating matches, on the principle that we are attracted to people with different immune systems from our own. In one experiment, women were asked to smell t-shirts that men had worn for three consecutive days and rank them by attractiveness. Supposedly, the women were most attracted to men whose immune systems differed most from their own, an outcome which might have the evolutionary rationale that someone with a different immune system is likelier to make any potential offspring healthier. However, this all seems a bit tenuous to us, and the QI recommended method is to stick a pin in the phone book.
The parents of Pope Benedict XVI met via a lonely-hearts advert, posted in July 1920 in the Catholic newspaper, Liebfraubote (or ‘Virgin Mary Courier’).
The Pope’s father, also called Joseph Ratzinger, was a Bavarian policeman, and wrote, 'Middle-ranking civil servant, single, Catholic, 43, immaculate past, from the country, is looking for a good Catholic, pure girl who can cook well, tackle all household chores, with a talent for sewing and homemaking with a view to marriage as soon as possible.' Evidently a practically-minded man, he also wrote, 'fortune desirable but not a precondition'.
The woman who responded was a baker’s daughter of 36 called Maria Peintner. They wrote to each other, met up in a coffee house, and were married four months later.
17th-century French lovers would keep a flea from their lover in a tiny cage round their necks, letting it feed on their blood.
On bisexuality: it immediately doubles your chances for a date on Saturday night.
The Echidna Love Train consists of a single female followed about by as many as ten males, in single file, for up to six weeks before mating occurs.
A sprunny is another word for a sweetheart.
Female rats will wee on a male that they particularly like. Male rats will do the same to females.