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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

It's amazing how easily even the shortest personals can spark my sympathy and curiosity. For example, take a look at these two.

This reads "Stephen - I simply want to see you. After that you shall be at liberty to do as you please."

Bitter? Angry? Annoyed? Desperate? And of course I can't help imagining an entire romance story behind it, though I'll spare you the wanderings of my clearly overactive imagination. It reminds me a bit of Sis and Sissy from many months ago, for those of you who've been around for awhile. Of course, this one is a little less dramatic. But it does seem to be the end of an affair, and perhaps one that didn't conclude very well. That, at least, is not surprising - it seems like none of the romances in the personals columns ended well. I guess when you're in the midst of an illicit affair, the odds aren't so good.

Here's another; it reads:
"1567 - Your letters wrong me. Try and meet me to-day. Believe no other Personals. H.A."

I don't really know what the "1567" means. It could be a code, it could be the person's street address (that's the one I lean toward). But I always find it interesting that occasionally the intrigues involve multiple people. We saw this with the Canoes, and here it is again. This relationship seems a little crowded; who else would be writing "1567" personals? If it's a secret affair, why does anyone else know about it; if it's not secret, why use the newspaper? And who is this third party trying to get in the middle and screw things up? Drama!!

Having trouble reading the ads? Click one to enlarge!

©2009 Pam Epstein


Matt August 18, 2009 at 1:33 PM  

It occurs to me that, when affairs end well (or, rather, don't end), the parties probably don't have to resort to communication through personal ads, no?

Pam August 18, 2009 at 2:49 PM  

Well, my assumption on the first one, at least, is that Stephen broke it off, but the advertiser wasn't ready to let go just yet - or wanted closure. Or who knows?

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