Friday, 28 February 2014

F, 63, GSOH.



So I'm idling through the Guardian's 'Soulmates' column, as you do because it has good adjectives, and I am struck by the number of ladies and gentlemen who are looking for love - or possibly romance, friendship, affection, a good time, adventure, passion or felicity (yup, copied that last from someone's ad.)

Which makes me think that nothing really changes, does it? In preparation for the sequel to Diamonds & Dust, which is all about the Victorian search for the perfect man, I have just finished reading a brilliant book called Shapely Ankle Preferr'd  by Francesca Beauman. It is the history of the Lonely Hearts Ad from 1695-2010. Yes, that is not a typo.

Admittedly I know I am lucky in that Beloved Husband and I have been married for 39 years come this September, and although those of you who know us well would say that in our case it is definitely Mr Chalk wed Ms Cheese, we go along amicably and are looking forward to growing even older together. We still make each other laugh. A lot. In his case, every time I open my mouth and say something about football.

Others do not have such good fortune. 'Good fortune' being the critical attribute. To snare Mr Right in the 18th and 19th centuries, it was not so much GSOH as ''Comeliness, Prudence, and 5 or 600l. in Money, Land or Joynture'' that would guarantee you an admirer quicker than you could say knife. Or wife.

By the 1800's, there were fifty-three newspapers all containing lonely heart ads of one sort or another. I was fairly gobsmacked at the audacity of one advertiser who wrote: ''A young man wants a wife with two or three hundred pounds; or the money will do without the wife - whoever will advance it shall have 5%'' (Daily Advertiser) Not for nothing did Jane Austen pen those famous words at the beginning of Pride and Prejudice that: 'a young man in possession of a good fortune ... must be in want of a wife.'

In a way, I guess we are more fortunate (sic) in that money does not feature quite so prominently in today's search for love, though I'm sure it lurks behind the scene, gurning happily. Even so, it is sad that in our digital, well connected age, when we are all supposed to be only 6 steps away from each other (or possibly 6 feet away from the nearest rat, can't remember, but maybe not inapposite, given the topic) that there are still so many lonely folk around.

And oh my, so many over 60's! Maybe I'll hang on to Beloved Husband for a bit longer. I can't see anyone going for: Totally batty writer (63) likes cake, cats, 2CVs and prosecco. Knows absolutely zip about football ...  can you?

23 comments:

  1. So ummm, do you happen to know someone fitting those last criteria, and interested in keeping me in style to which I wish to become accustomed? All interested parties invited to forward particulars to.........

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  2. Haha. Very good Carol. I shan't say that I'm looking for a batty writer, etc, because it would get me into trouble. However, my sister is called Felicity. I wonder who it is who's looking for her.

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  3. It's amazing that people we thought were so reticent about such vulgar subjects as money would be so direct in their ads! As to the last sentence…I think you'd be much in demand, but hang on to BH anyway. He sounds hard to beat! xx

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  4. The weekend papers in India are full of marriage ads - no hanky-panky allowed, this is unambiguous wedding planning. And the qualities people are looking for: education and light skin. Which saddened me.

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  5. actually, if I was a fella I would love to meet someone like you, laughing is sooo important these days, and I for one don't do it enough!

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  6. Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose - (had to look up the translation - but don't tell on me) in English - which to me sounds less 'right' - The more things change, the more they stay the same. Pity there was no slot for GSOH in the old days. It oils the wheels but money isn't to be sniffed at for that purpose either. I had no idea there were lonely hearts ads so far back in our history! Thanks for this interesting snippet, Carol!

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    1. There were ..written by men in them days!!

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  7. Am I the only person who sees the connection between 'lonely hearts' being only six steps removed from one another and everyone being only six feet from a rat? Or am I just a cynical person?
    Carol, I like all those things too, and feel we would be well suited. Please send your bank details so that I can check out your pecuniosity levels, and I will be round in the morning with your proposal..

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  8. My current husband shows no signs of wearing out just yet so I'm not in the market which is a relief. "Certified Bipolar author with chronic spinal condition, brain damage, two dogs and an addiction to motorcycles seeks ... well just about anyone really" I think GSOH is not needed - anyone going for that would just have to have one.

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    1. I think you sound most appealing. Old Jewish proverb: every pot has a lid.

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  9. Meanwhile, back in the not-so-distant past:

    http://broad-thoughts-from-a-home.blogspot.co.uk/2013/04/yesterdays-prompt-was-to-write-poem-in.html

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  10. And all those piano legs the Victorians covered up.... it was just so they had somewhere to hide their money

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  11. Enjoyed this. My husband and I have been married a little longer than you, and for the most part, happily so. But I wonder, just out of curiosity, sometimes what kinda guy I could hook up with if I joined eHarmony or one of those groups. Would be interesting to know.

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    1. BH and I have often joked that one day we'd both fill in a dating CV for the same website and see if it paired us off!! Trouble is, what if it didn't?

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  12. I didn't know they advertised for wives in the newspapers either. I would have hated to have lived then and been treated like a comodity. I have been married for 36 yrs in March and I just wouldn't have the will or the energy to ever think about dating. I'm so thankful I don't have to.

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  13. Does BH know that you've been lurking around those Lonely Hearts ads? You'd better explain to him why or he'll think you're being lured away by a 'clean cut cinema goer wishing to meet similar for genuine friendship' or some such person! Who'd have thought that these ads had been going for so long.

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    1. I was amazed when I discovered it too!

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