Sunday, October 30, 2005

Yesteryears Missed Connections


In this age of craigslist (and soon Google base?) it can be easy to forget the long and varied history that the classified has had over the years. Which is why there are people like Sara Bader out there whose new book, "Strange Red Cow: And Other Curious Classified Ads From the Past", serves to remind us what has and hasn't changed in the wonderful world of the personal ad. Some selections from the excerpt in today's Times:

MAY MINNIE - FAREWELL, CRUEL GIRL! If not drafted, I will go as a substitute. Your scorn is harder and more pitiless to me than any Southern bullet could possibly be. - John No. 1 (Aug. 3, 1862)

X.Z. - IF YOU MUST HAVE A REASON why I refuse you, understand, then, that I cannot marry a man who wears soiled linen, has foul teeth and breath, and uses tobasco and whisky. Faugh! - GENERRA (Nov. 16, 1862)

TO PATRIOTIC UNMARRIED LADIES. - I am a soldier, just returned from the wars. Have lost a leg, but expect to get a cork one; have a useless arm, but will be called brave for it; was once good-looking, but am now scarred all over. If any patriotic young lady will marry me, why fall in line! The applicant must be moderately handsome, have an excellent education, play on the piano and sing; and a competency will not be objectionable. One with these requirements would, doubtless, secure my affections. - Address Capt. F.A.B., MERCURY Office. (Nov. 9, 1862)

Not to mention our favorite historical Missed Connection:

ON WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON A LADY WITH black silk quilted hat walked nearly side by side with a gentleman in a drab overcoat from Tenth to Fourteenth Street, in Broadway. Both were annoyed by the wind and dust. Her smile has haunted him ever since. - Will she send her address to Carl, Union Square Post Office? (March 8, 1861)


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