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If only it was this easy!

Monday, May 10, 2010

I've posted a few ads like this one before (too lazy to link to all of them, but my favorite is here), but I liked this one especially.  I wonder what this guy's method was?  Or at least, what he claimed his method was, because I for one think he was full of it and using a nice little scam to rip off gullible people.  Thoughts? 


Matrimony made easy, or how to win a lover. - Professor Lawton, Boston, formerly of London, will send to any address, on receipt of one dollar, post paid, plain directions to enable ladies or gentlemen to win the devoted affection of as many of the opposite sex as their hearts may desire.  The process is so simple, but so captivating that all may be married, irrespective of age, appearance, or position; and last, though not least, it can be arranged with such ease and delicacy, that detection is impossible.  Address Professor Lawton, Boston Mass.  No letters taken from the Post Office, unless the postage is paid.

I am dying to know how this worked.  Actually, I wonder if this guy had a method at all.  "Professor Lawton, Boston Mass"?  If he didn't send you anything in return for your one dollar, how could you possibly track him down?  Although of course to me, one of the most fascinating things about this is that you could send mail to "Professor Lawton, Boston Mass" and it would actually reach him!  It's a good reminder that (a) the U.S. postal service has always been surprisingly efficient and, more importantly, (b) how small cities were 150+ years ago.  (Actually I just looked it up; at the time this ad was printed, there were about 150,000 people living in Boston.  That's really impressive work by the post office.)

But putting the mail aside, I wonder if he did reply, and if so, what his "plain directions" were that made it so easy to get married, no matter your looks, social status, or age.  "So simple, but so captivating"!  I gotta admit, I'm dying of curiosity.  It can be "arranged with such ease and delicacy, that detection is impossible"?  What does that mean?  Is it, like, a magic spell?  A love potion?  Pour a drop into your desired one's wine glass and they'll fall madly in love, a la A Midsummer Night's Dream?  Or is it lessons in how to behave?  Sort of like Hitch: how to dress, body language, good pick-up lines (though that probably wouldn't apply to women), or how to flutter your eyelashes seductively (ditto for men).

Ultimately, however, I think it's much more likely that "Professor Lawton" had no advice at all, and anyone who was - frankly - foolish enough to send him a dollar probably lost it forever, none the wiser on how to win a mate.  But it's not fair to laugh either; no one likes to be alone, and people still fall for scams all the time (like, for example, those Nigerian exiles who want to deposit money in your bank account - or more commonly, in my opinion, the lottery).  It's too bad, but I can hardly judge anyone who is tired of single blessedness!  

Having trouble reading the ads? Click one to enlarge!

©2010 Pam Epstein

3 comments:

drwende May 10, 2010 at 12:58 PM  

I believe the lack of a street address means that the mail was treated as general delivery and held at the post office for Professor Lawton to pick it up.

Pam May 10, 2010 at 1:01 PM  

Right - which means there was only one post office in Boston!

Liz May 10, 2010 at 2:39 PM  

I love the 'formerly of London' gloss - having the English ancestry to draw on has always made things look respectable!

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