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Hair Dye and Eyebrows

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Well yesterday was an exciting day for Advertising for Love, thanks to some fantastic person who linked here from MetaFilter, which has given me more hits in one day than I was hoping for in a month! So thanks for that, welcome, and I hope you'll all stick around!

I mentioned a few days ago a couple who called themselves "Hair Dye" and "Eyebrows," and I thought you might enjoy reading their little correspondence from April, 1885:

Eyebrows - Had you trusted me and been more frank with me the past week nothing disagreeable would have happened; have no fear for the future; I shall not try any more; whether I hear from you again or not will be for you to decide. Hair Dye.

Eyebrows - If you come down town this week will you call for me as before? Any day before 4. Let me know, if possible, when you are coming. Hair Dye.

Eyebrows - Disappointed yesterday; can meet you anywhere to-day after two o'clock; if you can arrange matters send telegram or send note to office before one o'clock. Hair Dye.

Eyebrows - It is sometimes very hard to be patient. Will you try to call for me tomorrow (Monday)? If not I will meet you after 4 anywhere you name. Do not fail to let me hear from you. Hair Dye.

Eyebrows - Still without reply. I trust you have not become utterly indifferent. Remember that where there is a "will" there is always a "way." Let me hear from you to-day. Hair Dye.

Eyebrows - Do not let anything prevent you from meeting me to-day. Will be there at three o'clock sharp. Hair Dye.

Eyebrows - Do not forget to-day, at four. Will be there promptly. Hair Dye.


In terms of entertaining correspondences (love how I get amusement out of other people's misery!), this isn't necessarily the best example, since it's one-sided and, by comparison, a little dull. (Yes, I said dull - just wait till I get to "Canoe.") But I like it because of the names. I mean, imagine you're embroiled in a presumably illicit love affair. You need pseudonyms so no one catches on. So you come up with...Hair Dye and Eyebrows. Whose idea was that?? It does make it a little comical to read Hair Dye's somewhat desperate little missives when they're using names like this.

In any case, these seven notes constitute the entire run between Hair Dye and Eyebrows; after this, they disappear. I hope things worked out for them, but I have a bad feeling. This one seems pretty doomed. Since I assume none of these relationships were above board (if mom and dad and your friends know what's going on, why do you have to be so secretive?), it's not too surprising that correspondence ads tend to skew toward the tragic. Plus, Victorians liked melodrama, which probably influenced the way they viewed themselves and their little romances.

For the other readers of the newspapers, I believe these stories worked just like serial novels (a lot of authors - Charles Dickens being a great example - published their novels in newspapers and magazines before they were in book form). Imagine the suspense! When will they write again? Will Eyebrows make it to the next meeting? Will Hair Dye finally be happy? Buy the next issue to find out!

I think the next time I do some correspondences I'll space 'em out over the same period of time so you can get an idea of what the readers must have experienced.

Having trouble reading the ads? Click one to enlarge!

©2009 Pam Epstein

3 comments:

D_S_K May 30, 2009 at 4:35 PM  

Bring on Canoe!

HCG June 25, 2009 at 7:36 PM  

Why do I think these are two men?

Pam June 25, 2009 at 11:55 PM  

@HCG - Could be! Why not?

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