Thursday, July 1, 2010
As a contemporary critic might have said, these two girls were playing with fire!
If the two gentlemen who followed two ladies down and up Broadway, on Saturday afternoon, and spoke to them, will be at the corner of Twenty-third street, by the Fifth Avenue Hotel, at half-past two next Saturday, they will meet the same ladies. Answer through "Personals" as soon as possible. E & L.
Ooohhh, I know what's going on here! Two teenage girls saw two hot guys down the street and started batting their eyelashes or whatever it was that you did 150 years ago to flirt, and so the guys started walking alongside them, but like on the opposite side of the street or whatever, and waving or smiling or, you know, whatever guys did 150 years ago to flirt. (That was a really long sentence! Bertram would be so proud of me.) The girls are kinda silly, as teenage girls often are, and are giggling and finding this hilariously awesome, and when the boys wave and bow their final goodbyes, E & L decide that they don't want the fun to end so...they throw in a personal.
Or, alternate scenario, these two really gross and slimy guys were stalking E & L, and trying to pick them up, and the girls are totally disgusted but decide to take revenge by inviting the guys to meet them at this location and then standing them up. Or finding some clever 19th-century way of humiliating them in public - which I'm sure was possible but right offhand I can't think how a young girl could humiliate a strange man in public without herself getting censured.
Either way, it doesn't look like the plot worked. I couldn't find a response in the Personals, which makes me think that the guys either didn't see the ad, or they were just having fun with no intention of seeing those girls again. And just as well, because contemporary critics would have been shaking their fingers in horror and pointing out that it was just one small step for a girl from shaking a strange man's hand to falling into a life of depravity, prostitution, illegitimate children, drug abuse, and early death. (Really, I'm not making this up, they actually said stuff like that.)
Still, I love seeing examples of ads that, I think, show how people not only read the ads for entertainment but used them to create entertainment as well. Because obviously these girls were not looking for their future husbands here. Just for fun. Whether it be the fun of printing an ad, or meeting cute guys, or whatever the case may be, this was all about having a good time.
And I'm all for that!
Having trouble reading the ads? Click one to enlarge! ©2010 Pam Epstein