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Holy love

Monday, June 28, 2010

One of the many, many books that I read while working on my dissertation had an interesting chapter in which the author argued that, during the nineteenth century, many couples spoke of their love affairs in religious terms, and an ad like this is a great example of that. It's a pretty interesting idea, because so many people were very, very religious. The idea of your love affair being at all equal to your relationship with God would seem to be quite sacrilegious...but then I see something like this.
Later. - Satisfied, penitent, saved. You, too, misunderstood. "Reproach" not meant. "Rebuffs?" Absolute trust in main and in your best judgment. Your course sublime. Never again lack "courage to tell" the worst. I need your confidence alone. Do what is easiest and speak when you can to Hopeful Charles.

Now in no way am I suggesting that Hopeful Charles was deliberately making a connection between religion and his lover - though he may have been. I'm just pointing out that the language itself is filled with religious symbolism. Specifically: "penitent, saved" and "sublime." Being saved is kind of the whole point of Christianity (speaking as a irreligious Jew, so please, don't take offense as I generalize a little bit here! I speak with all due respect), from what I understand. And while the word "sublime" can now apply to chocolate cheesecake (or a band), it is also closely associated with religion - like a martyr is "sublime." So I don't know that when he wrote this he was trying to suggest that whatever happened with him was akin to being saved, but he certainly conjures up that imagery. My guess of what happened is that they had a falling out over a big misunderstanding. Hopeful Charles thought that his lover was being unfaithful to him, or lying to him. But then they finally talked about the truth was revealed - something had happened to her that she thought might anger him, so she kept it a secret - they reconciled and he is both sorry that he ever doubted her, but happy that they now understand each other. It's very sweet. Dear Hopeful Charles - like most advertisers you seem to be in an unsanctioned relationship, but I am hopeful (ha ha) that this one worked out in the end.

Now, in a totally unrelated vein, I ran across this ad the other day. There's not enough to say about it to merit it's own blog entry, but I didn't want to leave it out.
To jewellers. - See notice of situation wanted in another part of this paper.

Not very exciting on the surface; so why is this so interesting to me? Well, one of my arguments (which people at the time believed too) was that the personals column was so incredibly popular that businesses would sometimes sneak in ads for their establishments so that people would actually see them. I talked about this briefly ages ago with the Sadda Rang and Lalla Rang epic. An ad like this is sure proof that this did happen. Here's a guy who needs a job, but not only does he put his ad in the "Situation Wanted" classifieds column, but he pays extra to have an ad in the personals to ensure that it'll actually be seen by jewelers everywhere! I'd hire this guy just for being clever. And I'd like to thank him, from the bottom of my heart, for proving my point.

Having trouble reading the ads? Click one to enlarge! ©2010 Pam Epstein


Anonymous June 28, 2010 at 5:48 PM  

This is just fabulous! That first ad reads like a found poem! I love that you post these, and you have a great eye for the absurd, the poignant, and--in this case--the poetic.

(Incidentally, my Captcha word verification to process this comment is "popely." Appropriate, no?)

Pam June 29, 2010 at 5:39 PM  

Very appropriate - thank you!

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