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More missed

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

I noticed people seem to be intrigued by the "missed connection" ads, so I thought I'd put up a few more for your enjoyment. These are just two I found interesting, and I'll continue posting them as we go along.

As always, I have written out the text here:

Waverly Theatre.-Lady dressed in black, country friend between us; tried to give card but was too awkward; saw you in carriage. Can I have the pleasure of an interview? If so, please address Arthur Edwards, box 365 Herald office.

The gentleman who relinquished his seat in a Fifth avenue omnibus, on Saturday last, at about 4 1/2 P.M., to a lady, and who got out near Fourteenth street, would be delighted if the lady would so far transgress the ordinary rules of society as to send him a note by mail, so that her acquaintance may be made by him. The gentleman asks the lady's pardon for adopting this means of communicating with her; but he can think of no other whereby he is likely to attain the desired result. Address, naming some particulars to avoid mistake, M.F.C. station D, Bible House.

The first ad is fairly typical; short, with a few descriptive details, and to the point. I include it because I find the phrase "was too awkward" interesting. At first I just assumed he meant that "country friend" made it too difficult to give the lady his card, but then it occurred to me - maybe he meant that he himself was too awkward. I have run across a few other ads which have expressed similar feelings, and it would go a long way to explain why these ads were placed. If a man felt too shy to say something to a woman, maybe this was the only way to reach out? I like it.

The second one, on the other hand, is a little more unique. The "ordinary rules of society" in 1870 would prohibit a gentleman from talking to a lady without an introduction, and even more so would prevent a woman from ever dreaming of writing a total stranger. It's kind of sweet how far he goes to explain himself and why he's taking such a drastic step. It also, I think, does give just a little bit of evidence that these ads were being placed by middle-class men, as opposed to the villains I referred to a week ago.

Having trouble reading the ads? Click one to enlarge!

©2009 Pam Epstein


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