Was Dating Better In The 1800s?

If you are single and out in the dating trenches, then you know how absurd and post-modern the whole fiasco has become with the invention of the internet. Wanna find love? Head to Match.com. Wanna tell that special someone how you feel? Send them a Gchat. When I go out with a new guy, I find myself asking ridiculous questions like, “How’s our email chemistry?” or “Can I date him if he doesn’t text?” I barely know how to react anymore when a dude calls me on the phone, so I seriously think my head might explode if I ever received a hand-written letter. I was totally born in the wrong century. I want a long courtship complete with calligraphied love notes, white gloves, red roses, and a carriage ride…you know, Jane Austen style. I know, I’ll keep dreaming. This is why I’m kind of obsessed with a new blog, Advertising for Love, started by Rutgers student Pam Epstein, while working on a dissertation about the transformation of love and marriage in nineteenth century America. Pam found a bunch of personal ads from that time period and was so charmed by them that she felt the need to share. Thank you, Pam. Now I can really see if dating was better in the 1800s. Here are some of my favorite selections. [Advertising for Love]

Matrimonial. The world is so full of poetry, beauty, and glory, and I have no one to share it with me; no one to read with me my Shakespeare and Milton, to enjoy with me nature, art, letters, society; I seek, therefore, my other and better half, my complement and peer, equal, though not like; myself a New-Englander by birth, of liberal culture and pursuits, of about 35 years of age, a gentleman and a Christian in my aspirations. Ladies so minded will please address Mr. CHRISTOPHER LEIGHTON, Box No. 144 Times Office.

Too bad this guy is dead. My dreamboat wants to share poetry, beauty, glory and a little bit of Shakespeare and Milton with someone who could be his better half!? OMG. Chris…I kind of love you. Even if you didn’t ever find your true love, I will sleep soundly knowing that you didn’t have to log onto eHarmony.

Grand Opera House, Parquet, Saturday night, Feb 12. If the gentleman who was asked at what time the performance would end and afterward stood up behind a lady dressed in a blue sailor jacket wishes to make her acquaintance, he may address a letter to Clara Grove, Herald office.

Poor Clara. I feel her pain. How much does is suck to meet a hot guy on the Opera House Paraquet and then never see him again? I wonder if the mystery man ever responded…by post? So much more romantic than posting a “Missed Connection” on Craigslist.

The gentleman who followed and was several times noticed by the lady dressed in cloth basque, who called in a store in Nassau street about half past four o’clock on Tuesday afternoon, and then proceeded by way of Ann street to Broadway and got into a Twenty-third street stage, would be delighted to make her acquaintance. Please address Paul Vincent, Broadway Post office.

Paul, I don’t care if she was wearing basque cloth and it turned you on…it is not okay to stalk the poor lady. She only noticed you “several times” because she was frightened for her life. SHE DOESN’T WANT TO SEE YOU EVER AGAIN. At least psycho Paul couldn’t cyber-stalk her.

Hint, hint my potential suitors…take a clue from this site. I know that my prince charming is out there somewhere and I bet he’s wearing an ascot and top hat and carrying a copy of Baudelaire’s latest collection of poems. If he wants to meet my acquaintance please write…by hand.