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Single Daughter Seeks Single Father

From the Edge

By Malka A. Older

Maybe you've toyed with the idea of placing a personal ad before. It's kind of cheesy, and yet...

"Single [do a lot of non-single people place personal ads?], attractive [do a lot of attractive people place personal ads?] Harvard student [uh oh], looking for romance and fun. Call 5-7801." Maybe not.

But would you place a similar ad for your mother?

Diana L. Adair '98 placed a personal ad in The Harvard Crimson earlier this year not for herself. "Harvard Mom seeks Harvard Dad," the ad reads, "for friendship, maybe romance."

Adair, an English concentrator, says the idea of finding a Harvard father for her mother actually has a long history.

"My freshman year my mom had come up for freshman weekend," recalls Adair. "I had had a similar idea and informally polled half the Union to find out if any of my friends had single fathers."

Unfortunately, however, the idea didn't work out.

"The people who did have divorced parents were frequently like, 'my dad's jerk,'" Adair says.

Last June she tried again, this time with a specific man in mind.

"I had a friend of mine who had an eligible bachelor as a father and we spent a good 45 minutes trying to plan their meeting," Adair says. "But I don't think he really took it as seriously as I did because they ended up missing each other. I was sadly disappointed by that."

So it wasn't too much of a non-sequitur when Adair's sister dared her to place a personal ad for her mother.

"My oldest sister was visiting me for a weekend in August. We spent some time chatting about our mother's love life, which basically was rather bleak at the time," Adair explains. "She came up with the great idea of my using my Harvard connections to locate an eligible bechelor."

So Adair, who is writing a creative thesis in poetry, turned her talents to composing a personal ad for her mother. The classified ran several days during the month of September.

Why did Adair go through so much trouble to find her mother a boyfriend?

"I think it's hard to meet people when you're an adult, even when you join the Vegetarian Potluck society or go to yoga classes," Adair says.

Unfortunately, the ad inspired no responses from prospective suitors.

"We put the ad in, nothing happened except I won the bet with my sister and I have my pride."

Well, sort of...Adair recounts that not everyone was as impressed by her matchmaking ways.

"Half of the rugby team made fun of me for an entire practice," says Adair. "Although none of them offered any eligible bachelors."

According to Adair, the ad was placed without her mother's knowledge.

"My mother has no idea that I am agitating selflessly on her behalf from miles away," says Adair.

So if you see her mother, don't mention it. But if you happen to know a nice, single older man who likes yoga and macrobiotic food, you might suggest he put a personal ad in The Harvard Crimson. You never know, he just might get lucky.

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