The other night I was watching television and a commercial for one of those dating services flashed on the screen. You know the ones I mean—those places like eHarmony or Match.com where folks go looking for the perfect match that will make their life complete. I’ve seen those commercials more times than I want to remember, but it wasn’t until the other night that I realized this was no more than a computerized version of mail order brides.
Back in the 1850’s when men traveled west to find their fortunes in the gold fields, women were left behind—until those men suddenly realized they needed someone to cook the Thanksgiving turkey and save their ear wax for them. (Oh wait, that was last week’s blog/ Back to the blog at hand.) There were a number of enterprising men who decided to help the lonely hearts of the west find their one true love. The cartoon at left shows one such man’s idea: A French marriage broker is packaging brides for shipment to California. And from my reading, that cartoon isn’t too far from the truth of what actually happened in some instances.
However, an idea I found more in tune with the dating services of today was the Matrimonial News. This newspaper boasted it was the best available method for men and women to locate a proper matrimonial match. Just like today’s dating services, the Matrimonial News had strictly enforced rules. Those wishing to advertise were required to provide information on personal appearance, height, weight, and their financial and social positions, along with a general description of the kind of person with whom they desired correspondence. Pictures were encouraged but not required.
Now I read some of these ads and found a couple where I thought the woman took honesty to the extreme when she said “I am fat, fair, and 48.” However, there must have been others who weren’t so honest with their advertisements because the warning at the right appeared in several editions of the newspaper in the 1870’s and chastised brides for their lack of honesty and stated complaints had been lodged by unhappy grooms. Seems that false hair bolstered hips, cosmetic paints, artificial bosoms, and padded limbs got some of the ladies in trouble. Even back then women were trying to redesign themselves. In the 19th Century ladies wanted to increase the size of their hips and limbs while today we do everything possible to decrease our size. I knew I was living in the wrong century!!
May you find joy as you accept God’s design for your life. ~Judy