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What's with these nicknames?

Saturday, May 29, 2010

I rarely post on Saturdays, but this week has been crazy! I'm all moved in to my new apartment - or at least, all moved in enough that I can take a break to finally blog again.

I really wanted to put up this ad, which reads:

Woman Hater - Please write again; been away. Address H.J.F. Herald Uptown office.

There isn't much to say, but of course the name is too funny to let by. "Woman Hater"? What's the story behind that one? I haven't seen any other ads addressed to (or from) this person, so I always wonder - why the bother? If it's just one ad, why not just use a first name? Or initials? Did two people who intended to use the personals all of one time sit down together and hash it out and say, "I'll write you at 'Woman Hater'"? I dunno. I'm sure there's some perfectly reasonable explanation. It's just that the content of the ad is so businesslike that it seems incongruous. If the rest of the ad was sort of funny, then I'd say, ok, inside joke. But it's still pretty amusing to see, especially in the midst of so many romantic ads.

Like this one, which was very close to the woman hater:

Inlet - Would send you letter, but think it hardly safe; however, if you can arrange it, well. Our greatest danger is in the wish I have to do what I think will please you. Write often as you can. Forever and ever. G.
I actually don't quite understand what he's (or she's) saying here. I mean, obviously, I understand, but that second sentence is really confusing. "Our greatest danger is in the wish I have to do what I think will please you." For someone who was clearly trying to save money by cutting corners ("Write often as you can" instead of "Write as often as you can"), you'd think G could have found a more economical way to say...whatever it is G's trying to say. I think what G means is that he (I'm just going to go with the male pronoun here) desperately wants to do something that will make Inlet happy, but that very thing is risky. Like, openly declaring his love for her in front of the world, which would be great but perhaps would anger her parents. Or expose her to her husband, if it comes to that.

I suppose if that's G's meaning, he says it to be all romantic (I'm so desperately in love with you that I can't contain myself!!), but actually I find it a little annoying. Our greatest danger is that I am so much in love with you that I'm putting both our lives at risk! Aren't I the best guy ever?

No.

But maybe I'm misinterpreting.

Well, perhaps I'll post again this weekend. But (for those of you in the States), hope you all have a great Memorial Day weekend!

Having trouble reading the ads? Click one to enlarge!

©2010 Pam Epstein

2 comments:

IdeaSmith July 4, 2010 at 12:59 PM  

This is late but I got behind on my feed-reader and I just saw this post. And it's the first time I've wanted to comment.

What if 'Woman-Hater' was a reference to a gay man? Gay men don't exactly hate women but they don't love them either, do they? I imagine homosexuality was even more a taboo than it is these days so perhaps this was a gay affair, a secret lover reaching out to another.

And by the same token, the second ad makes sense too. I'm thinking that that the writer G is already married. Possibly Inlet wants G to come out to his wife. G has been dragging his feet on this but is fearing that his resolve will break soon. Once that happens, he'll be doing what Inlet wants him to (which he himself secretly wishes to do) but it'll be mayhem in general with the families (which explains 'Our greatest danger').

May I say, by the way, that you've an extremely interesting blog!

Pam July 5, 2010 at 7:59 AM  

Thanks! Those are both good theories! I love the idea of Woman Hater being a gay man. I definitely believe that these ads were used by gay couples - an easy way to communicate for people who weren't supposed to be involved.

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