Wednesday, May 4, 2011
These are two funny missed connections that were from the same day. They both seem just a little out of the ordinary, in that in both cases there is a decided brush-off involved. See for yourselves:
Will the lady that the car stopped for in Greenwich avenue on Tuesday last, and then refused to ride, have the kindness to send her name, stating if a meeting can be had, to G.F., box 13 station A.
Arion Ball - The lady who so ceremoniously removed the rose bud from a gentleman's coat at the Arion ball will please return it, and no questions asked, to Rose, station D.
These are...interesting. Okay, so the first one I initially thought the car must be a streetcar, right? (As in a trolley.) But if the lady waved down the car, which she must have done if it stopped for her specifically, why would she then decide not to get on? Could it have been some guy in his own carriage who stopped and tried to offer her a ride? That seems highly unlikely in that day and age, unless of course he thought she was a prostitute, in which case it would make a great deal more sense. Still, I don't think anyone ever called carriages "cars," so I'm not satisfied with that explanation anyway. I wonder if she waved down a streetcar, and G.F. was grinning at her and she was like, forget that, I'll take the next one. In which case G.F. is a dense idiot. But it is the interpretation which I am leaning toward. After all, he wouldn't send a message if she hadn't seen him (or at least I assume not, because not a respectable woman in the world would ever respond to an ad from someone when she didn't know a thing about what he looked like), but maybe he was so stupid as not to realize that it was his lecherous grin that kept her from boarding the streetcar? I dunno, but I can't come up with any scenario in which this guy comes off well. Conclusion: G.F. is daft.
Now the second ad is even more intriguing. A lady "so ceremoniously" takes a rose from, er, "Rose's" lapel at a party. I can totally see that. She's all flirty and batting her eyelashes at him or something and then takes the rose with her eyebrows arched and a suggestive smile (it's weird how minutely I can describe this, isn't it?) and there's nothing he can really do about it, even if he wanted to, because he is a gentleman and you can't rebuke a woman publicly. But, how came she to take his rose out of his lapel? If she didn't know him, did she literally just walk up to a total stranger at a ball and grab his coat? That's...ballsy. That's ballsy even today. I hate to fall back on the same old explanation of her being a prostitute (could prostitutes even getting into a fancy dress ball? I guess why not, if she's a high-class one) but I can't fathom another explanation, because if she was some working-class girl who didn't observe Victorian middle-class propriety she wouldn't be able to afford to get into such a ball. Ooohhh, maybe it was some kind of ritual? Like, maybe the women got to go up to men they find attractive and take the flowers out of their lapels? Rare moment when women could shed rules of etiquette? Like a Sadie Hawkins dance but not? But then how were they supposed to find each other, because no one else was posting ads like this?
So, fine, somehow or other a complete stranger comes up to this guy and takes away his rose very ceremoniously. We don't know why. But then he posts an ad and...asks for it back, no questions asked? Um, really? What kind of rose was this? Was it made of gold? Because after a day or so a normal rose is going to wilt and then I guess unless he planned on pressing it between the pages of Romeo and Juliet in his Shakespeare folio, he's going to have to toss it anyway. Maybe his real girlfriend gave it to him and he's like, if I don't get that back, and she figures out that some other girl has it, she's not going to be so pleased.
I have a feeling I'm reading a much more complex story into this scenario than really existed. Maybe this was actually a code for a drug deal gone wrong. Or maybe "roses" it's like when people on Craigslist were soliciting for sex by asking for or offering so many "roses".
Whatever the case, this is definitely something I've never seen before!
©2011 Pam Epstein