Tuesday, January 19, 2010
I was searching for something else entirely when I ran across this ad today and...I am just blown away. Seriously. Every time I think I've seen the ad that tops the rest, I'll find something like this...
Two gentlemen, of middle age, who have a similarity of tastes arising from a long association in business, and have retired therefrom with a moderate competency, wish to form a matrimonial alliance each with a young lady who possesses the qualities to make the domestic circle home.
The each wish to find, without a too particular regard to beauty, a lady respectably connected, with an agreeable person, a good education, refined manners, the useful accomplishments, a cultured mind, and possessing and practicing a high regard for the moral precepts of Christianity.
Their intentions are to visit Europe the ensuing season and make its tour. One of the parties has visited Europe in the prosecution of business, but has not had the leisure to gratify his desire in the examination of the curiosities and works of art which centuries have been accumulating in that older portion of the world.
He has had only to a limited extent the privilege of studying the habits and manners that have resulted to those nations from the impress that ages of destroying time has left upon them. He has felt the want, when examining a picture, either of real life or artistic, of that keen, perceptive, susceptible and discriminating mind which only woman possesses, to detect the dividing line in the lights of the reality, or the nice shading in the artistic. That woman should be a wife, a sharer of joys or sorrows. Each should be so deeply interested in the other as would bring to trouble relief, or make pleasure reciprocal. He and his partner have come to this conclusion, consequently each wishes to take a wife with him. They would prefer to meet with two sisters, (or two ladies whose intimacy and association partake of that character,) whose impulses and education being similar, and, if congenial, would lead them to appreciate the jaunt and increase its interest; and who, if possessed of a competency themselves, by uniting the means of the parties, would enable them either to live stationary or travel in that manner most agreeable to their wishes.
They have resorted to this mode to solicit from some congenial spirit a response. Those who may favor them with an answer can rest assured that their communications will be treated most confidentially. Address A.R. & J.P., New York city.
So, here are my thoughts: ....................................!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
That's all I have to say. I am speechless. I think - I don't know what to think. Okay, let me try. So first, how interesting that they're advertising together - these guys are really close friends. It's actually very endearing. They are, in fact, such good friends that they want to meet women who are equally close with each other so that they'll all be BFFs forever and ever. Second, they are quite the romantics! I like their qualifications: respectability, education, refinement, and culture taking preference over beauty. Good looks is nice and all, and I'm sure they'd like to meet pretty ladies, but I like their priorities. They seem like really good men.
The place where it gets truly fascinating, though, is the explanation of their travel plans. I mean, whoa, rambling on much? What's going on here? It's lovely that they want to take a European tour together, and charming that they want wives to come with them to lend the woman's perspective (and while somewhat saccharine and anachronistic, I appreciate the respect they have for women's contributions, even if they're based in very Victorian stereotypes). But why the lengthy description of the one guy who has never had a chance to really experience European culture? What about the other one? Has he traveled to Europe before? Does he not feel the need for a lady's touch?
On the one hand, I find it rather unnecessary; why not just say, "We're planning a tour of Europe and we'd like wives to bring with us to add to the fun." But on the other hand, I find it quite romantic. They don't just want wives so that they can have women along for the ride. They want, essentially, soulmates, who will rejoice in the exploration of European culture as much as they do.
Can you imagine? Four people who all care deeply for each other, with apparently a fair amount of money to spend (they mention "competency" as an "if" rather than a necessity), sailing off to Europe together to visit the museums and tour the palaces and eat the food and go to balls and parties and soirees galore and I wanna go too!
I hope they found their wives. What a lovely story this would be. Excuse me while I go daydream. (Also, if you have a more cynical take on this - I don't want to know. Leave me with my little rose-colored fantasy, will you?)
Having trouble reading the ads? Click one to enlarge!
©2010 Pam Epstein