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Wintry mix

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Anyway, that's what the weather is right now in New York, so appropriate enough for the random ads I've got today.

Well the last two weeks have been mad busy...I didn't even realize how long it's been since I'd last posted.  Hopefully things'll calm down and (as I've been saying for the last, I don't know, three or four months now) I can get more consistent.

Anyway, I couldn't really find any ads that got me all excited but I ran across a few from the same day that I found kind of amusing or intriguing.  And so I'm sharing them with you!

Arabia. - "Sulphuret oil of roses." Is it "Gold?" Ada

Lost - Saturday, 5 P.M., Broadway car, up; lady with beaded sacque and sore lips.  Address gentleman (with lady), who got out at 42d st., with bundle; state circumstances. Cicero, box 188 Uptown Herald office.

Wall street stage, Monday afternon. - Going up; check body and overdress, black velvet sleeves and underskirt, round silver knob on parasol handle, tiny red leather bag, smiled when I got out with my friend.  May I know you?  Address H.L.M., Herald office.
What a funny mix!  The first two in particular are very strange.  I could swear I'd actually written about the one from Ada to Arabia before, but a search of my own blog comes up empty so I guess not.  I tried to figure out what sulpheret oil of roses might be, and although I didn't come up with anything definite, my closest guess is that Arabia should treat the oil of roses with sulfur, which makes basically no sense whatsoever.  Maybe it's a type of perfume?  OR - oooh, I know! - it's an attempt at alchemy!  Yes, yes, that's it.  Ada and Arabia are engaged in an attempt to covert lead into gold ("is it 'Gold?'" Geddit?) and they think that mixing sulfur with rose oil and treating lead with the resulting compound might just do the trick!  I'm certain this must be the right interpretation.  Don't you agree?

Now the second ad...interesting.  It reads like a missed connection but starts with "Lost," which is confusing.  For one thing, there is a "Lost and Found" classified column so if something really had been lost, it would make more sense to put an ad there - plus, "Cicero" never actually says what, if anything, was lost.  But on the other hand, why is a man in the company of another lady trying to contact a woman he met on an uptown Broadway car?  But the real item that caught my (and I'm sure your) eye was the "sore lips."  Sore lips?!  Is that really what it says?  Actually, you know what, I just solved my own mystery.  I thought this must be some kind of weird code or something, but it's much more simple.  Note the misspelling in the following ad, which says "afternon" instead of "afternoon."  Yes, the typesetter that morning was either hungover or new.  That was supposed to be "rose lips."  HA HA HA HA HA!  I'll bet "Cicero" was furious.  I think he deserved it though; propositioning a woman you meet while in the company of another woman is quite low.  So there.  Justice wins again.

The following ad is more typical.  But it makes me laugh because of the in-depth description of the woman's outfit.  I wonder if he took notes to remember all those details?  This was a pretty elaborate costume this lady was wearing.  I've found a picture of what the outfit might have looked like, but imagine a checkered top under the overdress (also, this picture is about 20 years later, so the skirt would have been much fuller).  Seriously, not only does he describe the dress in detail, but also the tiny red leather bag and even the silver knob on her parasol (and how awesome is it that this picture has a parasol in it?  Total coincidence).  That being said, I kind of like this guy.  Don't know why - I just like the tone of his ad.

Wow, it's taken me an hour to write this what with my hunt for a good picture of an overdress (since my attempt to describe one failed) so I'll stop here.  New post soon...I hope.

©2011 Pam Epstein

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