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Jack and Joe

Sunday, February 13, 2011

I was searching for some good ads to write about tomorrow, and while online ran across these.  Wow, do I ever wish I'd found this pair when I was working on my dissertation (book? Maybe? One day?).  What an awesome find!!!

Jack - Darling, my life is yours.  The die is cast.  Have left and given up all.  Joe.
Joe - Though separated still one in soul; my every heart's throb is yours; don't despair; the time of our probation is nearly o'er, when you will have your heart's desire.  Your own Jack
Oh, people, how fantastic are these on so many levels?  First off, I have long believed that personal correspondences must have also been used by gay couples; it makes such perfect sense as a way for people involved in forbidden relationships to communicate anonymously, and besides, why not?  But half the time - probably most of the time - the advertisers used pseudonyms, so knowing the sex is impossible.  As a straight woman, I tend to assume that correspondences are between men and women, but I have never believed that that is always true.

However, to find a pair of ads in which both advertisers are using men's that does not happen too often.  Er, well, ever.  Yes, of course, "Joe" could be short of Josephine, or "Jack" could be short for Jacqueline...or they could just be pseudonyms for Myrtle and Bob (or Myrtle and Kate).  I know that.  But I would rather take these at face value and believe this gorgeous romance is, in fact, between two men who actually found a venue where they could express their love freely without fear of social censure or exposure.

And what a story!  Look at Joe!  "The die is cast.  Have left and given up all."  !!!!!  Wow!  Joe, up till now respectable, successful, but in a miserable marriage is up and leaving everything behind to be with Jack.  Okay, yes, that sucks for his wife.  But look how much in love they are!  Can you blame him, really?  And Jack: "Though separated still one in soul; my every heart's throb is yours."  That is beautiful!  I feel a little weepy.  Sigh. 

But what did they do?  Where did they go?  Did they pretend to be Holmes and Watson-esque flatmates?  Did they find a place where they could live together openly?  Was there anyplace like that in the 1880s in the world?  I have no idea.  Clearly, they had a plan - or they didn't care and decided to throw caution to the wind in order to be together.  Whatever the case, man, I hope they surmounted those obstacles and were able to make it work.  What a lovely story that would be...sigh...if only I knew!

©2011 Pam Epstein


Unknown February 15, 2011 at 5:49 PM  

My first thought was that Joe (the son of a wealthy, well-connected family) and Jack (possibly also from the same circumstances) met at boarding school or possibly college. Joe's parents have made him come back home for a specified period of time ("the time of our probation") to forget Jack. Now that probational time is over and Joe has decided to forfeit his (probably large) inheritance and family for Jack ( who's parents have died and he is in full control of his inheritance). So they have money and a home and no one to censure them. To live happily ever after.

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