The Washingtonian, with a readership of 400,000, has provided DC metro readers articles about real estate, politics, eateries and other local interests since 1965.
And for all but its first four years, editor Jack Limpert has been a key player on the magazine’s editorial team. In a town and era with managing editors as legendary as Ben Bradlee here at the Washington Post and Charlie Peters at the Washington Monthly, Limpert kept a more discreet profile.
Best known for its lists of the best doctors and restaurants, Limpert’s glossy periodical won five National Magazine Awards in the 8 years between 1982 and 1990, for stories with topics ranging from the assassination attempt on Ronald Reagan, to a biracial medical partnership that revolutionized heart surgery.
A memorable cover article during the 1970s noted the lopsided racial demographics of the District of Columbia (then sometimes referred to as the ‘Chocolate City’) by carrying an image of a towering ice cream cone containing three scoops of chocolate topped with one of vanilla.
The February 2012 cover story about DC’s “soccer moms and power players” secretly getting high depicts a well-groomed lawn with a tree pruned in the shape of a giant marijuana leaf.
Only months after Nixon resigned the presidency over the Watergate scandal, Limpert was the first to surmise Mark Felt was “Deep Throat,” Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein’s mystery source .
Last Monday, the patrician looking 78-year-old, whose twitter handle is @bluepencil2 , packed his manual typewriter in his car and said goodbye to the magazine that he edited for nearly 50 years. He will still occasionally write articles, but he’s finished correcting syntax and insisting on clarity.
Back in 1999 the careful editor used his legendary blue pencil on my first magazine assignment in over 2 decades, but I have another reason to be grateful to Jack Limpert. I am among those who found love through the Washingtonian.
For more than 30 years, until October 2008, the classified “In Search Of …” section in the back of the city glossy united a certain kind of romantic intellectual man or women looking to meet a like-minded soul. Yes, there were “meat rack” DC watering holes during the Carter and Reagan administrations. Then as now, Sign of the Whale on M St. NW was a popular place for hook ups or to meet the Ted Mosby or Barney Stinson of the day.
But for many 1970s, 1980s or 1990s DC single bureaucrats, Washingtonian’s ISO pages served as the original version of match.com.
The following ad, in 1991, for example, sparked the marriage between a 43-year old lifelong bachelor and a divorced PhD. with 5 children.
“Very Intelligent Lady Sought—with warmth, energy, and understated care for looks (hyperachievement not required)—for long-term relationship. I’m SWM, 5'6", 43, GS-13 bureaucrat, occasionally talkative, usually a good listener. Love skiing, snorkeling, cycling, travel, extended families. Like historical novels and SF, work, politics, Jagger, Baez, Chopin, dogs.”
Though neither of us placed such an enticing ad, I also met my husband through the magazine, when a young writer came to my R St NW office to interview my two male partners and me. He was on assignment from Limpert for an article titled “Sherlock Holmes is Alive and Well and Working at Dupont Circle” about DC’s “new age” private investigators
The story he would write described my “lean strong face, hazel eyes, and … sensuous mouth.” We are celebrating 27 years of marriage Saturday.
Mr. Limpert, thanks.
Bonnie Goldstein is a Washington-based writer. Her Twitter handle is @KickedByAnAngel.