click to enlarge 1000w_skm_c224e15120317521.jpg

Orlando Weekly's personals section wasn't always what it seemed to be 

That time, it was personal

A mortifying confession: Back in the late 1990s, Orlando Weekly was so desperate to cultivate its personals section that the occasional employee was forced into being the photo ad of the week. I myself did such duty, and the evidence here shows exactly how desperate we were. Because even in those more innocent times, no alternative publication with genuine options would have staked the fortunes of its matchmaking operation on a listings editor who looked like the last guy to leave .38 Special.

Imagine my chagrin when I was informed – after the issue went to press, natch – that I would actually have to go on a date with whomever responded. Which is why I ended up spending two memorable evenings with agreeable lonelyhearts. (Only two, you scoff? Hey, our circulation was a lot of lower back then. Don't shame.)

click to enlarge screen_shot_2015-12-08_at_6.41.22_pm.png

One was a dark-haired, kind of empty-eyed young woman who declared an affinity for funny movies, "like the one with that guy in it." She ordered some sort of "con pollo" dish and asked the waiter to hold the chicken.

The other was a delightfully acerbic Paula Poundstone type I really could have seen myself becoming buds with – except that we happened to run into a local activist of my acquaintance, who spent about 15 minutes explaining his political philosophy to her in his absurdly squeaky voice.

"I'm kind of a Wobbly," he divulged.

"And me without my mace," she muttered.

The takeaway? Beggars can't be choosers. Staffers shouldn't be ringers. And take anything you hear on a blind date with a grain of pollo. Because if you responded to an Orlando Weekly photo ad 20 years ago, chances were, the call was coming from inside the house.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club for as little as $5 a month.


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Read the Digital Print Issue

June 16, 2021


© 2021 Orlando Weekly

Website powered by Foundation