Wednesday, June 2, 2010
Here's a nice little undemanding matrimonial. You know, no unreasonable desires or anything:
Matrimonial. - The advertiser, a young man of good family, genteel appearance, and liberal means, wishes to open a correspondence with a young lady of self-recommendations with a view to matrimony. His desire in a wife is perfection. Any fair lady who may favor him with her kind attention will receive in return his highest considerations. Please address L.L.W., Madison square Post office.
Um, okay L.L.W. I don't want to be the bearer of bad news here, but "perfection"? I wouldn't hold my breath. I mean, there's nothing wrong with aiming high and not settling for someone you don't think is really wonderful, but perfection? No. Such. Thing. (And honestly, who would want to be married to the perfect person? How could you ever measure up?) Besides, I'm all about these matrimonials and think lots of totally respectable and normal people used them - but frankly a woman who is "perfect" probably didn't need to meet a husband this way.
I'm not entirely sure what "self-recommendations" means, although my best guess is that it's just that she should be visibly refined, prepossessing, well-educated, and all those other qualities people brought up all the time back then. Interesting, though, that he doesn't actually bring up love or affection - either his own or his desire for it. Perhaps it's just assumed - I suppose the perfect wife would, presumably, be loving and everything. But it does seem that he's more interested in breeding and social status than in personality. His description of himself revolves around his good family, his gentility, and his money - not anything about himself. I think this is a guy is who is very worried about keeping up with the Joneses, as it were.
Anyway, I don't feel too positive about his prospects. Because the perfect wife - she's just not out there.
Having trouble reading the ads? Click one to enlarge!
©2010 Pam Epstein