Sunday, October 31, 2010
What? You must have known that sooner or later I'd have to go there. I wish I had more funny and cheerful ads to write about, rather than the doomy gloomy ones, but sometimes you have to work with what you've got. Sad though they are, the lovelorn ones do tend to be pretty amusing in their own way. Yes, I laugh at the dead.
So here are some to be amused by (but only in a nice way).
Dearest - Shall I never hear from you again or see that dear face? Pray for and love you constantly. Live and hope. I'll be patient. Mary--35.
I do care for you. Very anxious to see you. There must be some way. Let me know when and where. M-----E.
My dear, kind friend - You do care a little for me; but oh, how much I love you! It half kills me to see you leave with that cold goodby. Do call if in the city. M-----E.
Sigh. I'm not really laughing. I feel sorry for these people. Seriously, though, was everyone in the 19th century in miserably unhappy and extremely melodramatic relationships? Because if I took my impressions of this era from newspaper personals only (which would, granted, be piss poor scholarship, but that's besides the point) I'd be amazed that the human race survived.
In any event, these were different people (I mean the first vs. the last two, who were obviously the same) but the tone is so very similar that I thought they went well together. And that tone is: desperate and sad! Both of M-----E's ads were from the same day. I wonder when I see that if s/he submitted ads two days in a row, but the first was too late to be printed in the next edition, which is why they show up together. Because otherwise M-----E needs to take a great big step back! Clingy! Or, alternately, the first was submitted in the morning but then they had this very cold and miserable parting, so M-----E went and put in another ad. Right after they saw each other. Who does that? M-----E! S/he's not worth it! Move on!
I don't know if there are any other ads involving these people because I was too lazy to look too far in the future. I went a couple days out and didn't see anything. I hope that Mary and M-----E, after crying into their diaries and wandering around their homes listlessly for a week or so, woke up to the fact that their "dear friends" were not such fabulous people. But I do think there probably was something - just a little bit - fun for them in all this, don't you think? I mean, there has to be this awareness that the whole world is watching you, and you've got to make the most of it, right? This sort of public tug on newspaper audiences' heartstrings? I wish I could get inside their heads. I really want to know how the advertisers felt about the fact that they're saying these things in front of thousands and thousands of people. How do you do that without having at least a slight sense of the romantic nature of being the heroes and heroines of love stories, right? Even if they're tragic.
Just one of those things I think about that frustrates me because I'll never, ever know...
©2010 Pam Epstein