THE PERSONALS, 1450 A.D., and 2010

Today looks at the Personal Ads, a feature of the news media since Johannes Gutenburg completely changed the world with his printing press in 1450. Naturally they carried over into today’s printing press, the Internet. Instead of reaching only their hometown newspaper readership, personal ads now go worldwide in seconds. As much as progress and technology have transformed our world, people haven’t changed a bit since the 1400s, with the same basic wants and needs. The language may be a little more frank these days, but the message is the same. So, as a service to our brilliant and erudite readers, we give you the fruit of exhaustive research and compare the Personal Ads in 1450 to a typical selection of today’s Personals.

1450: For barter, one ox w/yoke and plough, and two indentured servants. Will trade for horse, sturdy cart and comely serving wench. Reply: Asgard the Weary

2010: Mail order wives! Asian! Pacific Rim! They look like teenagers! Reply: Yes, I do!, Incorporated.

1450: Important baron with landed estate and castle seeks mistress. Home, clothing, jewelry and expenses. Reply: Your Worship

2010: CEO seeking female companionship. Opportunity for advancement to trophy wife with generous Pre-Nup. Serious inquiries only. Reply: Mr. Leach

1450: Honest tradesman seeking stout wife to bear many children, farm a small plot, take care of the livestock and keep house in order. Reply: Jarvis.

2010: Married celebrity grease monkey seeks tattooed Nazi Dominatrix. Discretion a must. Reply: J.J.

1450: Lonely widow seeking older gentleman for companionship. Reply: Miss Ophelia Bunsworthy

2010: Sexy cougar wants to scratch your back, Pop! Reply: Tess Tosterone

1450: Professional minstrel seeking jester for rewarding partnership in musical theatre. Reply: Geoffrey

2010: Gay man seeks life partner. Reply: Jeff.

1450: Help wanted: Shoppe Assistant: duties include tending the fire, taking care of customers, cleaning up, deliveries, loading and unloading wagons and cooking meals. Compensation: A cot and a brazier in the shed, Christmas Day off. Reply: Heywood Hugh Doomey, Proprietor.

2010: Join the Walmart Team! Reply: Take it or leave it.

1450: Situation Wanted: Wet nurse: I am the mother of seven children, three of whom survived, and can be of service to a lady, if you please, whose child needs a mother’s milk. Reply: Mrs. Lillian Belvedere.

2010: Situation Wanted: Surrogate Mom available. Much experience and a proven success. Reply: Nadya.

1450: Poor orphan seeks shelter with anyone. Will do anything for whatever food you can spare, a pile of straw to sleep on, and a thin blanket. Reply: Tom

2010: Adopt a Haitian child today. Paperwork, shmaperwork! They’re better off doing your housework than starving. Reply: Waifs R Us.

1450: Situation available: Thatched cottage, small barn, plough, livestock and farmlands belonging to the Duke. Former tenants too old to farm. Move right in and get to keep 10% of what you produce. Several openings for strong Serf couples with many healthy children.  Reply: HIs Lordship.

2010: Home Foreclosure Bonanza! Thousands of homes at reduced prices with attractive variable rates! Reply: House Vulture, Inc.

1450: Matchmaker Service Available: many years experience. Will negotiate dowry even for spinsters as old as 17 or 18, or marry off even your dullest lads! Reply: Maids and Swains, Ltd.

2010: Meet your Soul mate at! Guaranteed to get even antisocial misfits laid! Skip all that tedious and time-consuming meeting and greeting and dating. Cut right to the chase! Reply: Lazy

1450: Barber-Surgeaon available. Haircuts, amputations, bleeding, leech treatments, carbuncle lancing, ill-vapours banished. Reply: Doctor Gustav

2010: Breast implants, penis enhancement, lipo-suction and Botox treatments. Be all that you can be, and then some! Reply: Dr. Luke Goode

1450: Help wanted: Literate person needed to write newspaper articles of general interest to the public, to transcribe the king’s edicts and comment on polite society. Reply: The Gutenburg Tattler

2010: Help Wanted: Web Wizards, Red Carpet Vultures, Entertainment Reporters and Ambush Video Crew needed for startup Celebrity/Twitter/Gossip/Scandal site. Reply:

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