Dating apps such as Tinder get slammed for reducing partnering-up to transaction based on looks and, sometimes, money. But it seems things have never been that much different, if an 1865 advertisement is anything to go by.
A Reddit user posted the newspaper advertisement from “a young man in Aroostook County, Maine” that was titled Chance For A Spinster, in which the would-be loverboy had all his asset on display, just like his modern-day counterparts on Tinder.
Writing that he is 18 years old and has a good set of teeth, the young man says that he’s taken up some government property, cleared a good deal of it and is already farming some.
“My buckwheat looks first-rate, and the oats and potatoes are bully,” he writes, before setting out his livestock holdings – “nine sheep, a two-year-old bull, and two heifers” – and the fact that he has a house AND a barn.
Then he reveals his romantic side.
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“I want to buy bread-and-butter, hoop-skirts, and waterfalls for some person of the female persuasion during life,” he writes. “That’s what’s the matter with me. But I don’t know how to do it.”
And should anyone doubt his true-blue American credentials, he throws in that he believes in then-president Andrew Johnson (who, as VP, stepped in after Abraham Lincoln was assassinated), the star-spangled banner and the Fourth of July.
History savvy Redditors explained that a waterfall was the name for the flouncy bustles worn on the back of dresses at the time. They loved the post, giving it almost 40,000 up-votes.
One Redditor explained the ad’s charm. “It’s just such a genuinely endearing ad,” the user wrote. “Like ‘Hey, I can provide for someone. I just want someone to provide for, and don’t know how to go about meeting someone. Please help’.”
Have humans really changed the way that they meet partners? What do you think of the 1986 advertisement?