Gentleman seeks lady of soft lips, full bosom: 1695 lonely-hearts ads

London, Jan 22 (ANI): A look at the history of lonely-hearts ads from 1695 onwards has shown that while some were hilarious others were demanding and heartbreaking.

Taken from 'Shapely Ankle Preferr'd: A History Of The Lonely Hearts Ad 1695-2010' by Francesca Beauman, an ad showed how in 1750, one gentleman described his ideal woman.

"Good teeth, soft lips, sweet breath, with eyes no matter what colour so they are but expressive; of a healthy complexion, rather inclin'd to fair than brown; neat in her person, her bosom full, plump, firm and white," the Daily Mail quoted the ad as reading.

"A good understanding, without being a wit, but cheerful and lively in conversation, polite and delicate of speech, her temper humane and tender, and to look as if she could feel delight where she wishes to give it," it stated.

Then in 1837 a 40-year-old frustrated bachelor living in Bristol decided to try his luck with the ads.

He got a response for his ad and agreed to the lady's suggestion to wait for her under a certain lamppost one evening, holding a black walking stick in one hand and gloves in another.

When they met, he in his best frock coat and she wearing a smart gown, he was much impressed when his blind date revealed that she lived with a Lady Courtly.

"As her friend?" he asked.

She replied, "Not exactly" before changing the subject.

Six dates later, he decided to marry her, and it was only then that he learned she was merely Lady Courtly's servant. Appalled, he immediately ended the relationship.

Another was by a 30-year-old man, with "a very good estate", announcing he was in search of "some good young gentlewoman that has a fortune of 3,000 pounds or thereabouts".

The most striking element of ads placed by women in this period is the sense of desperation.

There's the "young lady, who has lost her husband" (1777); another who's "desirous of freeing herself from the control of a cruel and capricious guardian" (1781); and one who was "compelled by loss of Friends and severe Misfortunes to solicit Protection from the most poignant sufferings".

One histrionic advert from a widow in her 20s "very candidly acknowledges that without a husband she cannot be happy; her evenings are spent in contemplations dictated by nature, which reason cannot obliterate, and her nights are passed in sighs and lamentations". (ANI)

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