Before the rise of Tinder, OkCupid, Bumble and all the rest of them, people were still trying to sell themselves in order to score a date. The only difference is that, more than 100 years ago, they didn’t have the internet to help them do it.
Yup. Back in the day, things were a little different. Just check out this vintage personal ad from a newspaper that was printed all the way back in 1865. The image was posted last year by Oxford University researcher Max Roser on Twitter, and it’s pretty amazing to see what constituted a good catch in the 19th century:
Looking for a wife in 1865 pic.twitter.com/5YWWag7isA
— Max Roser (@MaxCRoser) June 19, 2017
“A chance for a spinster,” the ad begins. It’s already off to a bad start. I’m guessing that addressing a potential date as a “spinster” would not be taken to so kindly today. The suitor goes on to describe himself as “eighteen years old, have a good set of teeth, and believe in Andy Johnson, the star-spangled banner, and the 4th of July.”
If you were looking for a patriotic man with a full set of choppers in 1865, it sounds like this guy may have been your match. Although a “good set of teeth” might not necessarily sound like something to boast about, dentures made from dead people’s real teeth were not uncommon back then, so his pearly whites may have been quite the selling point.
He goes on to tout his farming prowess and also brags about his real estate, which includes a house and a barn. He concludes his case by saying, “I want to get married,” and even says that he hopes to one day lavish his wife with gifts, including “hoop-skirts.”
However, he doesn’t seem to have much confidence about his ability to find the person meant for him, as his final lines read, “That’s what’s the matter with me. But I don’t know how to do it.”
There are some — on Reddit in particular — who wonder if this ad is even real but, in the end, the mystery remains unsolved. Either way, the ad is a good excuse for pondering how dating may or may not have been different back then.
What do you think? Is this guy a catch or what?