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Elite matrimonial alliances

Friday, November 5, 2010

Er, hi!  Still here!  Okay, taking that break to finish my dissertation was necessary, but now I keep forgetting to update here.  Bad habits sure set in fast.  For the first time in months, however, I have a weekend with few obligations and I'm taking advantage of it.  Here goes.


An amiable, accomplished, healthy and sensible lady, between 30 and 40 years of age, who is a good and true woman, and possessing a handsome income (her property to be secured to herself), can now secure, as a husband, a wealthy gentleman, who, in every sense of the word, will be abundantly proven to be worthy of her.  Character, family and connections second to none.  Address with full particulars M. Bureau, Herald office.  Elite matrimonial alliances honorably and constantly arranged in the most confidential, delicate, and admirable manner.  Facilities unusual.  Enclose stamp.

Man, this is weird.  It starts out as a normal matrimonial (well, "normal"), and then starts to veer into strange-sentence-construction-land, and takes a sharp turn into matrimonial bureau, and ends up in unusual facilities.  Color me confused.  I assume what's going on here is that the "wealthy gentleman" with "character, family, and connections second to none" has supposedly hired a matrimonial bureau to find a wife for him.  And it has done so by putting a personal ad in the paper which he could have done himself for, I imagine, considerably less money.

That is naturally also assuming that this ad is for real, which I doubt.  First, the writing is very forced.  It reads to me as someone who is not well-educated trying to sound well-educated and totally overcompensating.  It's the "will be abundantly proven worthy" and the fact that the alliances are arranged in and "admirable manner" that strikes me as slightly off.  I mean, who in his right mind would use the passive voice in a matrimonial ad?  Good grief.  (I jest.)

Second, though, it doesn't make any sense.  Why would a man hire someone else to post an ad he could have done on his own, and probably more eloquently?  There is a precedent for this, an ad I wrote about some time ago.  But that one I found equally weird.  It seems more likely to me that the advertiser is trying to get wealthy women to respond and then charge them some kind of fee to meet this wonderful guy, and then disappear with all their money.

My favorite part here is "Facilities unusual."  Why would this ever be in an ad?  How incredibly unusual must the facilities be in order for the advertiser to think it necessary to mention? And what does that mean anyway?  That the office is like an M.C. Escher print?  Or that their method of introducing people is unorthodox?  Is this a warning or an appeal?  I have no idea.

What I do know is that if I saw this ad, I'd be running the other way!


©2010 Pam Epstein

2 comments:

Cari Hislop November 8, 2010 at 10:31 PM  

I read the ad thinking it was the woman advertising for a husband...it seemed weird to me that she couldn't say she was 35, but all is now clear...or rather clearly unclear! That was confusing.
I'd run away from this nutter too!

The one about the two soldiers on the block aid ship made me go Ahhh too. I'd have written to them if I was single. It could be they were Irish, as in recently off the boat, in which case that would explain why they didn't have any close by lady friends. My mental history files could be mixed up, but I thought there were quite a few Irish who fought in the Civil War in Blue.

Pam November 8, 2010 at 10:48 PM  

Someone else made the point that they may have been recent immigrants. That's very true. But most recent Irish immigrants were really, really poor (potato famine). They also weren't this highly literate. But, who knows - it's as good an explanation as any why they have no lady friends whatsoever!

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