Nearly 20% of us have used an online dating app. That usage generates over $2.5 billion in annual revenues. The desire to find a BFF, bestie, or a mate has driven people to find a mate long before Match and Tinder came along. Archaeologists have found proof of types of online dating going all the way back to 10,000 B.C.
Ancient Mesopotamia – Along the Banks of the Tigris River – 10,000 BC
The crafty Mesopotamians were the first ones to invent language. They grew wheat and domesticated animals. If you had lots of wheat and goats, you had your choice of women. Wealthy Mesopotamians would go the riverbank and, using a stick, would write a message for the female villagers to see. The fossilized remains of one of these messages was discovered in 1952.
I/- >I |\ <I> X<
I< \I \\-/
Archaeologists were able to translate it:
I, the rich and manly Karzu, look for woman.
Applicants must have beauty. Line up my hut door.
Bring basket of gold from father.”
Château du Désespoir – Cloaque, France – Sometime around 1300 AD
Most of the local men were still straggling back from fighting in the Third Crusade. There weren’t many opportunities for local maidens to find a husband. They started posting ads about themselves on the walls of the Château du Désespoir. Many would include rough sketches of themselves in hopes of gaining an advantage. Sadly, most of the sketches bore a strange likeness to Edvard Munch’s “The Scream.” Archaeologists were able to translate one of these ads from its original Medieval French.
Babette la Salope: I am almost 13.
My parents are worried that I will never marry.
Cuddling in front of the fireplace with my man while we watch TV would be wonderful,
except for the fact that TV won’t be invented for at least another 600 years…
I have visions. My parents believe me to be possessed.
I’m looking for a man who can give me many children…
and who promises to not relieve himself on the kitchen floor.
“Do You Want Your Ashes Hauled?” – Advertisement in the New York Tribune – 1912
“Hauling Ashes” was a post-Victorian euphemism for “doing the nasty.” This was the first opportunity for both men and women to “go fishing.” People would place an ad and ask for a response to a particular P.O. Box at the newspaper…”serious inquiries only.” The New York Public Library Archives provided this ad:
Proper Gramercy Park woman
seeking refined gentleman for casual social intercourse.
Must be gainfully employed.
I have my own home that features locking doors, window shades, and my own Victrola.
I prefer afternoon “meetings,”
as my husband usually returns from work around 7:00 PM.
It’s been about 12,000 years since Karzu penned his immortal ad looking for a mate. The human race, in its ever-evolving wisdom, has streamlined the entire process. Modern technology makes it as simple as:
A) Want to come over, watch Netflix and chill?
B) ON MY WAY!!!!!!!!!!!!
Experienced marketing and advertising executive. I enjoy writing humorous articles. Contributor