This story is going to be difficult for anybody born after about 1970 to wrap their heads around, but, believe it or not, there used to be the equivalent of analog dating apps. The Droning Voice remembers a very charming note received, and loving kept, by her great-grandmother which had been delivered via a messenger boy, and in which my not-yet great grandfather asked if he could enjoy her company that evening at her home….where, presumably, she would be under the watchful eyes of her parents. Propriety, and all.
The plot of this little romance (?) involves a cold and distant socialite who can’t be bothered with her bed-ridden fiancé, leaving him to face the cold northern winter alone while she goes off to frolic in Jacksonville (Florida). Before heading off she states upfront that she really can’t be bothered to write him more than once a week, so she leaves him a pamphlet for something called “The Serial Letter Co.”, which is kind of a pen-pal* for hire service, should he require more than a few cursory lines about the weather from his lady-love. Letters can be received from Oriental Fairies, Historical figures, and even Plush Squirrels. And, of course, love letters for the lonely, which is what Our Hero signs up for, innocently enough, as he wishes to provide examples of what a love letter should contain to his stately and aloof bride-to-be. Not that she cares. Oh, no. Today, of course, there are all sorts of ways one can snub their fiancé AND rub their faces in it by posting photos of themselves doing jello shots at beach resorts with strange men on social media. Hey, they aren’t married yet.
But back to our story:
Of course, everything goes wrong….or at least not as Our Hero thought it would. The Droning Voice does not wish to spoil the ending for anybody wanting to listen, though is hoping the listener will be in a drowsy stupor by then. Still, this was one of the more engaging books she has read in the service of the insomniac, so offers a bit of caution for those of romantic inclinations. For those into racing sports cars, the WWF, or watching programs where the goal is to determine which of three heavily tattooed men missing key teeth is the actual baby daddy, this may be just the selection for you.
*A “pen-pal” was a pre-internet, pre-social media way of meeting Russian women, Nigerian Princes, and, occasionally, interesting (and real) people from other countries where you could share bits about your cultures via the postal service involving actual STAMPS.