Thursday, June 7, 2007

Cartas para enamorar/Letters of seduction

Por el Secretario de los amantes/By the secretary of lovers
Biblioteca de Amor/Love Library
México, D.F.

I made the best 10 peso purchase imaginable today. For only $1 US, I purchased a slightly faded, and/or stained paperback copy of Cartas para enamorar at a discount book shop in el Centro. This little treasure begins on page 5 with ¨LO QUE ES EL AMOR/WHAT IS LOVE¨ and by page 74, is offering “CARTA DE UN VIUDO PIDIENDO RELACIONES A UNA SOLTERA/HOW WIDOWERS CAN WRITE TO WIDOWS REQUESTING TO BEGIN A RELATIONSHIP.” In between, it touches on how to look for a girlfriend, how to dress when you’re courting and the symbolic meaning of how you use your handkerchief or fan. The meat of the book, however, is a series of proper letters and responses for every amorous situation imaginable (or unimaginable). I get the sense there may be cultural courtship differences here when the book begins with how to ask the girl’s parents if you can marry her.
As I read over the many letters in this slim volume, I can’t help but think, “Damn that’s good. Why didn’t I think of that?” Unfortunately, there is no copyright date on this book so I have no idea when I was written. Based on the contents, I would say, the Victorian era, perhaps turn of the century. Based on the cover design, I would lean toward the 1970s. These letters are too great not to share – I've put some excerpts worthy of swooning (potential suitors take note) in the column at right.

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