Friday, January 22, 2010
I couldn't find any ads that inspired me today, so I'm just throwing in a few typical heartbroken correspondences. Great way to start the weekend, right? Still, I'll admit, as sad as they are - these are the ones that interest me most. (And I'm sure is also why contemporaries loved reading the personals so much.) All but one of these are from the same day (on the same day as one of the ads from Shaky, as if these weren't sad enough on their own):
Dear Dan - How can you leave me like that, without letting me know where you are? I am almost crazy. You must let me know where you are, or alas it will kill me. Yours forever, Annie.
Romeo. - Received; broken hearted; my life blank. Is there no hope? Send message immediately. Notice Sunday's Personals. Juliet
Was tricked out of coming in a way which regard for you prevented me from frustrating or resenting. This compulsory silence under misunderstanding more trying than ever; you will justify me when you know the facts. In the meantime can't I have one reassuring word? Never so well. C. O'M.
Am I not punished enough? C. O'M.Sometimes I have to ask myself why these people never read all the other personals posted around their own and thought: you know, there's a lot of depressing stuff in here. The odds for a successful relationship that's being carried out through the personals seems kinda low. Maybe we should quit while we're ahead! I mean, I've hardly done a scientific study of this, but I've read enough personals over the course of my study that I feel I can definitively say that more ads are sad than they are happy. Honestly, folks, you need to face up the fact that if this is the only way you can talk, it can only go downhill from here.
Anyway, as you can see "Romeo" and "Juliet" are repeat users, and I think at some point I have posted one of their ads before (ah yes, here it is). I've been meaning to do the whole series but they are really spread out and I'm too lazy to hunt them all down. So I don't happen to have the Sunday paper she's referring to on hand. I think they are actually a perfect example of a couple which was fully aware how doomed their love affair really was - why else nickname yourselves after a pair of lovers who, you know, died? Talk about linking yourself with tragedy!
Finally, the two from "C. O'M"; these were two days in a row. An extremely rare occasion where I suppose I can make a pretty sound call about the writer's ethnicity. So now I can say that Irish people sometimes used personals. Or at least one did. Seems like the typical story here: forbidden love; C. O'M isn't able to see or contact his/her beloved because his/her family is making it impossible; the other person thinks that C. O'M has lost interest. Since C. O'M says that he/she was tricked out of coming, I wonder if there were people who knew about the relationship; "tricked" suggests that the family or friends were deliberately making it impossible. If that's the case, though, you'd think using your own initials in the personals would be pretty risky, as I'd assume everyone knows how they are used. If I wanted to make sure someone wasn't contacting another person at all, I'd certainly look here. And "C. O'M" is, as I said, pretty distinctive.
I predict these all ended badly. And now I'm completely depressed. As Nazareth once said, love hurts.
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©2010 Pam Epstein