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Double date!

Monday, February 8, 2010

I haven't played matchmaker in quite a while, but these two ads presented themselves as such perfect matches that it seemed only right.  After all, the more people we can bring together in connubial bliss by Valentine's Day the better.

Two young ladies wish to open a correspondence with two young gentlemen, with a view to matrimony.  The young ladies, being naturally modest, will refrain from a description of their personal beauty, but suffice it to say they are prepossessing in appearance.
The gentlemen who would hope to claim either, with a view to matrimony, must be strictly temperate, have a good moral character, and must have a profession or some honorable business as a means of support; money no particular object, yet no serious objection; none under 25 need reply; please enclose carte de visite if convenient, and one will be returned.
Address for three days C. and B., box 902 New York Post office.
Two young men of respectability and wealth desire to form the acquaintance of two young ladies, with a view to matrimony.  This advertisement is sincere, and none but those whose cartes de visite are enclosed will be replied to.  Address Charles Seymour, and Fred G. Howard Madison square Post office, N.Y.
How perfect is this!  It's like they were made for each other!  I can totally imagine C, B, Charles, and Fred all getting together and going on dates and living happily ever after.

The thing that really strikes me as interesting, though, is in the first ad, where the girls says that money is "no particular object," which is very rare.  I'm not sure if this is an implication that they have money of their own and so don't care too much if their spouses are rich, or if they just mean that they're fine with living comfortable but not extravagant lifestyles.  I tend toward the latter, though.  I think what they're saying is that they want husbands who can support them, but don't necessarily need to meet someone who is actually wealthy.  Still, it's not too often you see women saying that money isn't essential - usually it's quite the opposite.  I like them, though; the joke about how modest they are is very cute.  Reminds me a bit of Verdant Green.

The only catch I see here is some kind of A Midsummer Night's Dream debacle, in which, say, Charles and B fall in love, and C falls for Fred, but Fred also loves B.  Since there's no Puck around to sprinkle fairy dust and make everything all right, this could really wreak some havoc.  I'd hate to see such close friendships torn apart by this kind of mess.  But I suppose there's no use borrowing trouble.  Maybe it really could all work out in the end.

Now the coolest thing about these two ads is that they were published on the same day!  So unlike the other two times I played matchmaker, there is a very real possibility that they met.  Why not?  They would certainly have seen each others' ads in the paper (because of course when you know you're publishing an advertisement one day the first thing you do is go look at it to see how it turned out).  The only real question is who answered whom.  Did the ladies decide to be adventurous and respond to Charles and Fred?  More likely, I think, they left the ball in the men's court, since that would be more correct.  Wouldn't it be funny if they all wrote to each other?

Imagine if it really happened!  What a great story to tell the kids!

Having trouble reading the ads? Click one to enlarge!

©2010 Pam Epstein


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