Thursday, March 4, 2010
I can't remember the last time I was so excited about finding an ad. (OMG, this is my life, I get excited - seriously excited - over finding 19th-century personal ads.) Honestly, though, this is a true find.
I was browsing around looking for an ad that inspired me this morning, and ran across this one:
So, I said to myself: Self, go find the personal column from one year ago and see what ads are there. And I found this:
People. Do you know what this means? This means that women really did answer missed connection ads. They did they did they did! Okay, I knew this was the case, because I do have one other ad in which this happened. But in that one, it appears that the two people never actually met - and there seems to be some confusion about identity.
But the ad here, not only did she reply, but they actually did see each other again, and repeatedly! He says that last Friday was the anniversary of their first meeting, which implies that they must have met more than once. Now, maybe it was only one other time, but it's hard to believe that he would have written another personal ad sounding so heartbroken to a woman he only met twice a year ago. He says he's waited a long time, but that could mean anything- it doesn't have to be a year.
I also like the French. "Pour le present" obviously means "for the present." My assumption is that she told him that she would have to stop seeing him for a little while. Something's come up, so for the present they're going to have to cool things down, or whatever. And now she just hasn't been in touch since. But the French is great because, you know, not everyone could speak French. Granted, this isn't complicated or anything (I didn't need to pull out a translator for this one), but that it's even there indicates some familiarity with the language. Which indicates that these are two people who were somewhat well-educated (also, poorer people don't own sealskin jackets). So, again, that helps my premise that the people writing and responding to personal ads were actually of all classes - not just the lower class rakes that critics assumed.
Poor guy. I think "pour le présent" was her way of getting out of the relationship, and he's not getting the hint. However, much as I feel his pain, I'm (not-so) secretly pleased this happened because it resulted in a real gem for me. I doubt that would give him much comfort, but it's the best I can do.
Having trouble reading the ads? Click one to enlarge!
©2010 Pam Epstein