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Friday, September 24, 2010

Yes, it's me - I don't know if there's anyone still reading my blog after such an extended absence, but, well, for those who are - HI! I had good reason though, dear readers, which is that I've been grinding out my final revisions in order to graduate next month. Cross your fingers!

Today, I realized, is a special day because this is my 300th blog post. Wow! It's amazing that I've lasted this long, and I must say it's been a successful run so far (or at least, more successful than I ever imagined!). Despite that, I don't have a particularly exciting ad for you, but it is one that I thought was cute and amusing. I just don't have time to go a-hunting for something better. But I'll bring out the big guns soon. So, without further ado:

A gentleman of a serious turn of mind is anxious to correspond with a lively, good hearted, romping, skating, and withal lovable young lady, with a view to matrimony. Those possessing great beauty need not apply. Address Thomas Phenix, New York Post office.

Aw. That's kinda sweet. So intriguing too. Thomas Phenix (which, by the way, I thought must be some kind of pseudonym, because I'd never heard the name "Phenix" before, but apparently Thomas Phenix is on Facebook. Crazy!) is of a serious turn of mind. For him to say that means he must be pretty darn serious. I mean, it's the only characteristic about himself that he names. Not his age, occupation, looks, education, anything. Just that he's "serious." Whatever that means. And yet he wants to meet a lively, romping, and skating young lady. I have no words for how adorable that is!

I suspect that when he says he's serious that he means - not depressed, exactly, but that he has a tendency of taking things too seriously. So he wants some cheering up. He wants to meet a girl who knows how to laugh things off, who likes to play - romping! Romping! I love that he uses that word!! And skating! I bet he's a good skater but never goes out on his own (I think he's lonely) and he wants someone to indulge in his little hobby with him. Now this wasn't quite as random as it sounds.
This ad is from the early 1860s, and during the 1850s and 1860s (so I've just read) there was a great big ice skating rage going on in the middle- and upper-middle classes. In fact, here's a little picture of people skating in Central Park from the exact year this ad was placed.

I suspect it was a way for people who were otherwise supposed to be very proper and staid to flirt with each other and to have excuses for physical contact which they otherwise might not have done. But that's just my opinion.

In any event, can't you imagine our serious friend Thomas going skating with a cheerful, not too pretty girl (he'd probably be intimidated being with someone too attractive), who laughs a lot and is really sweet and charming, who isn't one of those skaters who clings to the rail and goes at the speed of about 5 feet per minute (like me, for example), but who likes to race around and, yes, romp. And our serious friend suddenly isn't going to be taking things so seriously anymore.

Now doesn't that thought make you happy?

©2010 Pam Epstein


Sandra September 25, 2010 at 9:34 AM  

Good to see you back, and congratulations on nearing the end of your revisions! This is indeed an adorable ad. I appreciate your focus on the wacky and sad ads, but it's also refreshing to see the ones that are simply endearing.

Pam September 25, 2010 at 11:02 AM  

Thanks - honestly I don't focus on the sad ads because I want to but because that's really what the majority of them are!

Cari Hislop September 25, 2010 at 9:24 PM  

Welcome back!

What a lovely ad. I would have written to him (though I'd have left out the fact that I don't skate - I'd have sprung that on him after putting on some skates and stepping onto the ice). Clearly he's was not only serious, but sensible and wise; he knew he needed his opposite. I hope he found happiness!

Bianca C September 26, 2010 at 6:37 PM  

I would love to introduce him to J March. I think they would have got along quite well.

And you are in my Google reader, so I will always be here "waiting". :-)

Bianca C September 26, 2010 at 6:37 PM  

And my J I mean Jo.

My o key gives me trouble.

Pam September 27, 2010 at 4:44 PM  

Cari - Thanks! I agree - he knew he needed some livening up. I would have written him too - if I knew how to skate!

Bianca - I'm so glad! And yeah, Jo March would have been a perfect match!

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