Deborah Yaffe

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My suspicious mind. . .

By Deborah Yaffe, Feb 26 2015 02:00PM

Here we have a self-consciously literate Craigslist personal ad from a Portland man who says he’s a Jane Austen fan.* He’s looking for companionship -- specifically female companionship -- for “new conversation, contact and correspondence,” or “new experiences,” later identified as “new email friends, coffee and lunch time strolls through the park.” He says he’s interested in meeting people who are “not prepared for anything rash or unseemly.”


So far, so Edmund Bertram.


Yet I can’t help picking up, dog-whistle-like, some discordant notes. This conversation-seeker mentions his level of attractiveness (more Robert Martin than Mr. Darcy), suggests an eventual exchange of photos, and says he hopes to meet someone who “has taken good care of herself,” which probably doesn’t mean someone who always makes sure her freezer is fully stocked with Ben & Jerry’s Mint Chocolate Cookie.


Oh, and by the way -- he’s married.


He’s making this clear up front, which is definitely an improvement on the Edward Ferrars MO, but still: tell me, ladies, do we believe that this guy is just after coffee? I think Jane Austen would wonder.



* For all you enterprising sociology grad students, let me suggest a dissertation topic: Jane Austen in the personals. This is my second post on the subject (the first is here) so, as any lifestyle journalist could tell you, one more example makes it a trend.



4 comments
Feb 27 2015 10:25AM by A. Marie

JA would have taken Mr. Portland out of the running at the mere mention of the word "married." As Mansfield Park and the letter about Mrs. Powlett indicate, she took an extremely dim view of adultery.

Feb 27 2015 04:24PM by dyaffe

Indeed -- but he seems to be claiming that adultery, at least of the physical kind, isn't on the menu here. As I said, however, I take this claim with a shakerful of salt.

Feb 27 2015 08:00PM by A. Marie

Adultery isn't on the menu? Riiiiight. And I'm Queen Marie of Rumania.

Feb 27 2015 08:04PM by dyaffe

LOL, Your Majesty.

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