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Is "Sincerity" really sincere?

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Some of you gave me some interesting feedback about the lengthy ad I posted yesterday, so I'd love to know what you think about the two follow-up ads "Sincerity" published over the following week and a half. Dig in, folks!




Here's the text:

The advertisement published at length in Saturday's Herald, Jan. 3, is still open for answers. Show your moral courage, young ladies, and write to, and in sincerity. All he requires is a good looking, amiable, and highly respectable young lady, with a fortune of her own, so that he may know she does not wish to marry him for his. Address for ten days, enclosing carte de visite, (which will be returned if desired,) and stating when and where an interview may be had, Sincerity, box 210 Herald office, New York.

Matrimonial. - Sincerity is not yet engaged, although he may be in a very few days. Send your cartes de visite (returned if requested), and show your moral courage, young ladies. Is not a young man, in the pride and strength of early manhood, prepossessing in appearance, who can prove his high respectability, and his claim to property, &c., to the amount of about $50,000, worth a reply from more than two or three dozen young ladies of high respectability, and at least moderate fortune, attractive in person and amiable in disposition? Address (in full confidence) for ten days Sincerity, box 210 Herald office. P.S. - Ladies enclosing cartes de visite will be more likely to receive answers.


Yeah, I have no idea what to make of these either. Do you? I could imagine a group of guys getting together and printing these ads for a laugh, to see the responses they got (somehow the expense makes me feel that one guy wouldn't do this on his own just for fun). But I could also imagine some young man with a really, really quirky sense of humor putting these in the paper and actually being, well, sincere.

Except, of course, if I was a woman reading these ads the absolute last thing that would make me want to answer one would be knowing that two or three dozen other may have already done so.

Frankly, I just don't know. Everything about these three ads is bizarre. And what does he mean by "moral courage"? What does he mean by anything? Was he just totally nuts? Help!

I nearly forgot again "A. - The fairest flowers of the season - Sadda Rang and Lalla Rang. So say we all of us."


Having trouble reading the ads? Click one to enlarge!

©2009 Pam Epstein

9 comments:

Arwen June 18, 2009 at 9:16 AM  

Huh. Yeah, no idea what to think of this. If taken seriously, it sounds like he wants a huge selection of women to chose from - which doesn't put him in a great light. It also smacks of desperation.

If not taken seriously... I have no idea.

Matt June 18, 2009 at 12:19 PM  

I'm not sure if he has, or expects a huge response. After all, why publish three ads? It really sounds more like that landlord who tells you "better decide quick, I have three other people interested in this apartment."

The thing is, there is a sense of desperation. The appeal to "moral courage" sounds like "aw, c'mon girls" than anything else. It also seems to suggest that there must be something to be confronted in the meeting. Perhaps he is preposesing, but is it possible that there is something else? Like I said, a disability? Blindness? Is there maybe some disgrace? Is he d-i-v-o-r-c-e-d?

One thing... $50,000 is a considerable fortune in New York in what I suppose is the mid-19th century. I wonder if this man might be publicly known. Also, I wonder if it would be possible to use tax rolls and probate records to find out who he is? There couldn't be more than a couple of dozen unmarried young men in their 20s with $50,000 fortunes in New York at the time...

Pam June 18, 2009 at 4:08 PM  

He sounds desperate, but he also seems kind of funny. Or, I suppose, he's never known anyone to use one of these ads and for whatever reason is really surprised not to get as many responses as he expected. But I don't think these follow-ups would have gotten him far. Not exactly appealing.

As for finding out who he is...a couple dozen is still a lot to wade through. IF he's telling the truth about this fortune, always debatable. If he'd used initials or a first name it might be worth tracking down, but "Sincerity" isn't much to go on.

Anonymous June 19, 2009 at 4:52 PM  

He sounds exactly like almost every single guy I knew in law school. They all walked around saying things like, "I know I'm a catch, and I'm looking for someone at my level." He keeps getting rejected, but he doesn't understand why, since he so perfectly fits his own criteria for being a great guy. So, of course, it's because there aren't enough women around with moral courage and a fortune of their own.

It's weird that 100 years later dickheads remain the same.

Pam June 19, 2009 at 5:02 PM  

@Anonymous - you are so right! I love it - that describes him perfectly. Some things never change.

Ms Avery June 20, 2009 at 7:26 AM  

I couldn't say why, but I get a definite "creep" vibe from this guy. I don't know what it is.

Also, I'm amused by his repeatedly saying that girls who send a carte-de-visite will be more likely to get an answer -- sounds just like match.com!

Ms Avery June 20, 2009 at 7:37 AM  

Sadda and Lalla -- this one sounds like they had a birthday (twins?)

Pam June 20, 2009 at 7:43 AM  

I think we're in agreement - Sincerity is officially a creep!!

@Ms Avery - go back to my June 9 entry for a bit more on Sadda and Lalla

Melinda July 8, 2009 at 5:15 AM  

I'd have to agree with those who see this Sincerity as a creep. To me it sounds like a guy who thinks that he's a great catch and simply can't understand why there aren't hundreds of letters flooding in. And of course each of those letters should be from a girl who meets his expectations. I think he wasn't getting the results he desired and was surprised. So the next two ads were a desperate attempt to up the ante, a bid to get girls of a "higher quality" to reply.

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