Monday, June 15, 2009
A young Frenchman, well educated, of agreeable manners and prepossessing appearance, of a faithful and affectionate disposition, is desirous of forming an acquaintance with an elderly lady of wealth, with a view to matrimony. None need address except in sincerity, as the gentleman is no trifler. Address Frenchman, station D, Bible House.
Matrimonial. - A respectable American bachelor, forty-five years of age, intelligent, sober, graceful, and affectionate, is desirous of immediately marrying some neat, plain, economical woman, between the ages of thirty and fifty. An orphan preferred. None that are strictly wealthy need answer, as the advertiser entertains an unconquerable aversion to every millionaire beauty. Address Alonzo Blossom, Union square Post office, New York.
I find both of these highly amusing. The first one - really? I wonder if the Frenchman thought this ad would be successful; I wonder if it was successful. Would some lonely old lady decide she'd like the company of a dashing young foreigner to escort her around society balls and keep her company? Or was she intelligent enough to know that a few days after getting married, her new husband would likely abscond with her every penny? I suppose maybe he really did want to be her plaything, but it's still money-hungry any way you look at it.
The second is also interesting. His last line - that he "entertains an unconquerable aversion to every millionaire beauty" - is funny to me because it suggests he knows all the BS that goes along with putting ads in the paper. Most likely, he's trying to put off "matrimonial agents" (more on those later), who would reply to ads like this this posing as rich men or women, as the case may be, then try to get you to pay a fee to meet this person and rip you off. But on the other hand, I'm always suspect of men who say they want to meet orphans - basically meaning that there are no parents to protect her. Or maybe he just doesn't want to deal with an interfering mother-in-law. Who knows?
Having trouble reading the ads? Click one to enlarge!
©2009 Pam Epstein