Retro dating ads
“You never knew where the drug came from, whose lips were on that before you, you never even thought about that stuff.In a strange way, it was a very innocent decade of time,” she says.Across the country, comparable publications sprung up like mushrooms, eager to capitalize on a wave of singles and divorcees looking for love in a time of increased sexual openness.One such of these copycats on the West Coast, the , was the subject of a 1977 psychology journal article, “Courtship American Style: Newspaper Ads,” which attempted a deep dive on what it called “a fascinating new development in the field of courtship and marriage.” Coastal differences and similar names aside, the two papers were remarkably alike, and provide a revealing window into heterosexual dating at the time.Shortly before the release of the first issue, Appleberg placed two “dummy ads” in the to get a sense of who her customers were likely to be.The text of each was similar, though one claimed to be from a woman in her 20s, the other in her 40s.
One even states that if you mail in 2,120 empty Chesterfield King cigarette packs, you may just score a date with the model (just in case you're wondering, the cigarette company wasn't serious about it.) But what's great is that each woman's measurements are listed. Anyways, all of these ads were created sometime in the early '1960s, when the Bond film series was just heating up. And as you can see by the end of this post, Sean Connery himself was a Chesterfield model in 1964. And oh hey, did I mention that three of these ads feature a sultry woman named Pamela?
Thinking back on it today, she laughs, “I wonder how much they were paying me for that.” All this she did alone in an office building on 3rd Avenue and East 55th Street. By the 1970s, couples were meeting at singles bars or discos—or by putting personal ads in physical, printed papers.
(That spirit of optimism and belief in serendipity similarly suffuses online dating.
She walked in and was introduced to the owners of the small press that put out the paper, all men.
One of them came up to her, she recalls, put out his hand, and said, “Per-‘suede’ me.” Now nearly 74 and still quite glamorous, Appleberg says, “I was extremely … And then I turned out to be a romantic.” For the next three years, Appleberg edited the paper alone, under the intentionally gender-ambiguous moniker “MJ Appleberg.” Her résumé from the period, kept in a locker in the East Village co-op she has lived in since 1969, describes her as “responsible for editorial concept of pioneer monthly Singles News, geared to the interests of unmarried New Yorkers.” Appleberg found contributors, wrote much of the content herself, supervised the graphic design, oversaw sales, distribution, typesetting, photo sources, printers, and more. Box, “in case someone wanted to sue.” In the first half of the 20th century, you might marry your childhood sweetheart, the child of your father’s business partner, or a nice boy or girl you met at church or synagogue. In the meantime, after the pill “liberated” women in 1960, dating had evolved.