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.
“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’.”