Friday, August 15, 2008

Sex Between the lines of Classified Ads

Many newspapers back in the day had what we call "classified" ads. It was their version of, blind dates and so on. To those that think the Victorians were prudes with no flexibility whatsoever, I shall disagree with you this once when it comes to their newspapers and their naughty little ads. I have to say that putting in an ad in the newspaper back in the day gave a man or a woman a rare form of anonymity while allowing them to explore the opposite sex. The following ads are all from American newspapers back in the day. I plan to dig up British ones somewhere else down the road for your amusement, but hopefully, the American ads will prove to be more entertaining...

Behold some of my favorite examples:

February 18, 1864 New York Herald:
"Gentlemen, take notice -- I am in need of a husband; one who is educated and respectable. I am in my nineteenth year, considered good looking, of a very lively disposition, have plenty of friends but want someone to love, to smile when I smile, when I weep shall refrain."

One has to love her sense of humor.

February 14, 1868, New York Herald:
" A Gentleman worth $50,000 desire to marry a woman from 18 to 30 years old, who is willing to make home happy, with a view to matrimony. Send photographs; rejected ones returned if stamp is sent."

Clearly, he wants sex first, matrimony possible if sex is good.

November 24, 1865, New York Herald:
"A young lady, extravagantly fond of dress, desires the acquaintance of a wealthy gentleman; no other need answer; with a view to matrimony."

Oh, yes, that will have all the wealthy men knocking on her door. It seems no matter the era, women will always pine over wanting a rich man...

February 7, 1862:

"A gentleman, thirty years of age, in full health, possessed of ample means, well read, fond of poetry, good living and society, six feet in his socks, dark hair and eyes, called by his intimate friends "Handsome Jones" keeps a pair of road horses, can sing, dance and play the fiddle, belongs to no club, Free Mason or Odd Fellows Association, has no idea of going to the war at present, a good whistler, and upon the whole, a desirable person, wishes to make the acquaintance of some lady, with the ultimate view of matrimony. The lady must be plump, pleasant and pretty, not over twenty years of age (he is a great believer in the advantages of early marriage); dark complexion preferred, without curls, cotton or cosmetic; money of no account, in particular - still, some not objected to; must be a good dancer, without old aunts, uncles, grandmothers and grandfathers, or second, third, fourth, fifth or any other cousins (as the advertiser, although well off, cannot marry a whole family); good teeth, fond of children (the advertiser has none, however), kind to servants, domestic, chatty, clever, and well educated. None but with good intentions need apply. Answers, with full particulars of age, size, disposition, looks, likes and dislikes, will be treated confidentially and answered if send to Handsome Jones."

By far my favorite advertisement thus far! I personally am of the belief, that if he feels the need to keep calling himself "Handsome Jones" in the ad, I guarantee you he is anything but. However. One has to admire his determination.

March 21, 1866, New York Herald:

"If the lady who from an omnibus smiled on a gentleman with a bunch of bananas in his hand as he crossed Wall street, corner of Broadway, will address A, box 6,735, Post Office, she will confer a favor."

The poor man. He MUST be bananas...

January 2, 1892, New York World:
"Wanted, a young lady of German parentage; must be a 36 bust and understand bookkeeping on a small scale. Apply Milbaner & Bleiweiss."

Now this here is the most straightforward employer I've ever come across. Clearly.

Glimpsing ads from days of old gives us a sense of what the reality was for these poor souls in search of the perfect sex mate. I mean...soul mate. Curiously enough, I don't feel times have changed all that much. We all still want handsome and rich. And men, God bless them, still want a particular bust size. Which was the entire point of this here post. Now for a bit of fun! If you were going to take out an ad in 1865 in order to land your sex mate (or soul mate, for those of you that are hopelessly romantic) how would you write it? Note that every person who posts their "classified" ad here, shall be automatically entered into my Gift Card Giveaway posted on my gossip page of my website.

I give thee my own advertisement:

"A fairly pretty young lady with remarkable talents which shall be disclosed upon the selection of one lucky gent, is seeking a fine gentleman with his own set of remarkable talents pending that he is handsome, well endowed and wealthy. Talents that include drinking, smoking, gambling, and womanizing need not apply."


Leah Braemel said...

LOL, I think your own advertisement is the best of the bunch!

And I'm highly suspicious of "Handsome Jones." If he's not ugly as you suspect, he's waaaay too full of himself.

Anonymous said...

Coquettish redhead seeks a not-too-frugal Scottish gentleman to converse regarding the excitement and niceties of bonnie Scotland and also willing to show her the same. Must enjoy Port wine, cigars, watching the sunrise over Loch Ness. Kilt and sharp claymore a definite advantage.


Jessa Slade said...

Extremely attentive and attractive miss currently employed in life insurance industry is graciously seeking gentlemen of indifferent health (failing eyesight no hindrance) and expansive pocketbook. Marriage imperative. All queries will be accepted in the order in which they are received.

Maire Claremont said...

Oh, Delilah! If I were but a man! But I know you have a lovely lord already. As to myself.... Ahem

A luscious and adventurous young lady seeks a gentleman who is keen to travel. He must be above six feet in his stockings as I do enjoy wearing heels of a certain height. A hefty pocket book should be in readiness for the procurement of said high heels and copious amounts of travel. Drinking of wine, merry making, and devotion to one amour at a time is necessary. All applicants not able to withstand a rigorous pursuit of merry making need not apply.

Oh and I must admit I wouldn't mind a highland lad myself.

Heather Redmond said...

This is hysterical - and amazing. I had no idea that the historical personals were like this! I always imagined pages of servant and governess ads...


Offered, a lady of impeccable morals, sense of humor and no mean bookkeeping skills, requires a position as help-mate to respectable business owner. Proprietor must be handsome, wealthy and unattached. Lovers of wine need not apply.

Delilah Marvelle said...

You gals are a RIOT! And oh, so naughty, LOL. I have each and every one of you down for an entry into my contest. "Handsome Jones" sends his love.

Eliza Knight said...

Fabulous post Delilah!!! Those are great advertisements! I never would have guessed they had those back in the day! Thanks for sharing.

I read your post on the 15th, and I've been mulling this over for several days...

Saucy, independent lady, seeks a man with an extremely well built and tall body, preferably with a title, land and money. Must be willing to treat me like a princess, have a genuine and kind personality, but still have a backbone, and be good in bed. Anyone not meeting this description need not apply.

Anonymous said...


What a fun topic and informative too! I think my ad would look like this:

A not so young miss with questionable morals who does not have a view to matrimony, seeks a conspirator who shares the same lust for adventures and thrills.

Delilah Marvelle said...

You sound like you know EXACTLY what you want out of a man. LOL I do love a gal who is straight to the point. Thank you so much for posting (and mulling it over :D).
"Questionable morals?" Oh, I do believe I like you!!!! Of course already knowing you, I have to say I completely agree!!! LOL Thank you for posting, you fabulous lady you.