Poetic Personal Ad Brings Love

by Jack Locke

Danielle Berthiaume and John Thomas found love through a personal ad.

Danielle Berthiaume and John Thomas found love through a personal ad.

I like to think that the real world is captured by newspaper headlines, but more often the real world is found in the classified ad section. You know what I’m talking about.

Fifteen words written in a Montreal Gazette personal ad was all it took to bring Danielle Berthiaume and John Thomas together.

The year was 1996. Berthiaume was 3 months shy of her 50th birthday and a successful sales and marketing representative with Chatelaine Magazine. She worked 12 hour days and had little time for pursuing a man. But with a creative classified ad Danielle found love. In those days, personal ads were free for women.

“Pretty, petit, professional, passionate woman looking for peer partner to explore potential paths to paradise,” the ad said.

Sappy? Perhaps. But it caught the eye of her Mr. Right.

“I had seen ads that described women as beautiful, or funny, but I thought if that’s true, you don’t need to tell me,” says Thomas, a former Ilco Unican employee. He too worked long days.

He was almost 55 and had been married three times prior.

“I had decided to never get married again.

“I picked up the paper on a Saturday afternoon, took it home, poured myself a glass of Scotch, and started to read,” remembers Thomas. He spotted Berthiaume’s ad.

She was surprised when she got a call. When she placed the ad it was to run in the month of September. Somehow, the ad ran a 5th week. Unexpectedly, Thomas called in October.

“At a certain age, it’s hard to meet people,” says Berthiaume, “There is no way we could have met without The Gazette.”

The phone number posted in the ad was a proxie number redirected to the placer of the ad.

“He told me that the ad was so different that it caught his attention.” Berthiaume then called back on a weekend morning to ensure that no woman would answer the line.

On December 1, they met at Hurley’s Pub for a coffee. She would be wearing a coat patterned with Mickey Mouse, he would be the “guy with salt and pepper hair with a hat next to him.”

“If that’s salt and pepper, then it’s white pepper,” Berthiaume joked when they first met.

“And you didn’t mention that you were the size of Mickey Mouse,” Thomas responded. Berthiaume stands a shade below 5 feet tall.

Their first tête-a-tête lasted four to five hours.

“I even remember the table,” says Berthiaume. “It was a stroke of luck that the ad ran an extra week,” insists Berthiaume.

“Absolutely,” chimes Thomas.

They have been married since May 1999.

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