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Anonymous Dating Adds

One of the ways in which gay men met in the nineties was through anonymous dating adds in print press. The announcements however, rarely provided a phone number, and if they did, one understood that it was not that person’s main phone number that other people might recognize. They offered P.O. boxes for anonymity where interested people could send their letters to.

In the first issue of Gay 45 (April 1993), we find an invitation for readers to send maximum 25-words annonymous dating ads to help them find a partner.

The publication itself served as a mediator between the seekers and repondents as they provided them a single P.O. box from which they would let seekers know they received an answer. 

Annonymous classified dating ads in the second Gay 45 issue, 1993 

Note that two out of the four dating ads are meant to be sent to the publication's P.O. box 68-100. This meant queer people either did not have the means to rent a P.O. box or could muster the courage to rent one and indicated the publication's P.O. box instead and gave their initials to be identifiable. 

In the second issue of Gay 45, we already have a number of people who wrote to find potential partners. 

45 years old, 1.73 m, 69 kg, looking for Romanian friend, similar, between 25-35 years old to live in Holland. Answer with photo to the address:...

Young man, 25 years old, 1.72 m, 76 kg, intellectual, I want a serious, handsome and tender friend for a long-term relationship. Preferably between 18 and 20 years old. Answer to C.P. 68-100 Bucuresti for M.R.

Gentleman, 37 years old, 1.80 m, 65 kg, sexy, serious and tender, I want a friend for a long-term relationship (Between 18-40 years) from Bucharest. Answer to C.P. 68-100.

37 years old, 1.78 m, 68 kg, green eyes, passive blond, but not only! Wanting friends. CP 107-74 Bucharest!

C.P. refers to P.O. boxes, which were used to avoid revealing one's real address and identity. It was a way to ensure one kept their annonimity in their search for a loved one. 

While both men and women resorted to dating ads in magazines to find a partner, men found more public ways around the repressive and hostile environment.

Email Addresses: A Giant Leap Forward for Queer Relationships

In the magazine Angelicus, specifically targeted to a queer audience, especially gay men, included relatively anonymous dating ads, which represent a great technological leap from the printed ads in the mid nineties. Email addresses represents a marginal improvement with regards to establishing a proto-community as queer people could reach out to one another quicker than before, which inherently meant that one could reach a wider, broader, and richer demographic. 

Queer Magazines
Anonymous Dating Adds