Thursday, February 4, 2010
Okay, cheesy joke. But I did promise happy, and here's an adorable ad!
A green youth from a country village, tired of having young ladies fall captive to his good looks, desiring to be loved for his good qualities alone, desires to correspond with an intelligent young lady not over 22, having in view an ultimate matrimonial alliance. She must be a blonde, rather below than above the medium height, well educated, and refined, domestic in her tastes and not afraid to make herself generally useful in a home which he considers himself qualified to make happy. Sincerity will be proved by enclosing carte de visite. Address Verdant Green, Stamford, Conn.
Hee. Aw. That's cute. Now first of all, given the date this ad was published, I'm going to authoritatively state that this is not our advertiser's real name (I know, shocking), but is in fact borrowed from a novel, The Adventures of Mr. Verdant Green, by Cuthbert Bede (aka, Edward Bradley). If you didn't already know that Verdant had a sense of humor, the fact that he borrows this name would be a dead giveaway. I've never read this novel, but I do know that the story is of a very "green" college freshman at Oxford University who goes through a series of misfits and pranks and exploits. So it's kind of charming that the advertiser borrows that name.
And he's pretty cocky, this one, if you ask me; "tired of having ladies fall captive to his good looks" indeed!! I'd point out the stupidity of crowing on about one's own good looks when trying to meet women who will like you for more than your looks - if I thought he was serious. But of course he's not. I do think he's sincere in the ad - well, I take that back. Let me rephrase: I don't think he's a con artist who's going to try and defraud or seduce some poor innocent girl. I even think that he would like to get married - one day. Do I think that his only goal in printing this ad is to meet his future wife? There...I'm not so sure. I think he submitted this ad as much for fun as anything else - like an experiment. He wants to get married, sees all these matrimonials in the paper all the time, he's bored, he's got time, he wants some new entertainment. Why not kill two birds with one stone? Print a lighthearted matrimonial advertisement in the papers in the hopes that equally good-humored girls will answer in kind - and maybe one of those letters will be worth answering, and they'll live happily ever after!
I like it when advertisers have a sense of humor about themselves in these matrimonials. Everyone took the ads so seriously; the people who used them were often so formal (though obviously not all the time, as many of my ads have demonstrated), the people who commented on them were usually horrified. So it's nice when you see ads that are playful like this. I like how Verdant Green was using this very unconventional and very, very looked-down upon method of finding a spouse and acting like it's totally no big deal.
In any event, I can only say that I hope our advertiser's story ends the same way the novel's did: Chapter the Last (yes, that's what it was called) was entitled "Mr. Verdant Green is Married and Done For." Cheers to that.
Having trouble reading the ads? Click one to enlarge!
©2010 Pam Epstein