French Friday: 185 French Love Letters

In the summer of 2000, a handsome 36-year-old single Parisian posed (clothed) for a full-page photograph in a popular, large-circulation French woman’s magazine. Readers desiring a romantic relationship were invited to read an interview with the man and write him, care of the magazine, with details of their lives and romantic aspirations. 185 single women replied. Each letter was a manifestation, often powerful, of female desire. The bachelor, overwhelmed, decided to not meet a single woman.

Further detailed below, the letters collectively represent a striking case study of female desire and loneliness, impulsivity and creativity. And they can be yours for a paltry $12,200. All sales final.

NOT one of the 185 letters, but still awesome (Image: http://www.mayoph.com/images2/02d185.jpg)

NOT one of the 185 letters, but still awesome (Image: http://www.mayoph.com/images2/02d185.jpg)

Further excerpts from the seller’s eBay listing, where you can view several enlarged images of mixtures of letters:

185 love letters in French, sent from 185 women to a Parisian, offering an unmediated view of female desire in turn-of-the-millennium France. Ten of the letters are typed; 175 are handwritten.

In the summer of 2000, a handsome 36-year-old single Parisian posed (clothed) for a full-page photograph in a popular, large-circulation French woman’s magazine. Readers desiring a romantic relationship were invited to read an interview with the man and write him, care of the magazine, with details of their lives and romantic aspirations. 185 single women replied. Each letter was a manifestation, often powerful, of female desire. The bachelor, overwhelmed, decided to not meet a single woman.

The manuscripts are sold as a single lot. Many contain poems, drawings and photographs. Some of the sheets of paper, parchments and envelopes have been sprayed with perfume, painted with watercolors. One envelope contains a stick of still-fragrant incense. The collection includes a large selection of stamps affixed to envelopes for replies. (The buyer will receive the part of the self-addressed stamped envelope with the stamp or France’s La Poste sticker, but not the part containing the writer’s name and address.) The letters were written in France, save a dozen or so penned in Belgium, Canada, Costa Rica, Denmark, Germany, Latvia, Spain and Switzerland. The letters embody France’s strong epistolary tradition, which greatly values detailed expressions of sentiments, romantic recollections and beautiful penmanship. (Only 10 of the letters are typewritten; one is partially typed.)

The letters offer an unmediated view of fair-sex sentiments in turn-of-the-millennium France. Taken together, the collection provides insights—unfiltered by academics and sociologists—into French women’s emotional prerequisites for sex. (Careful reading is not always necessary; a large number of letters were written with disarming directness.)

Broadly speaking, the writing styles are variations of come-hither prose, at times perhaps coy. One young woman writes: “Le plus beau cadeau que j’ai pu offrir est mon corp [sic] mon âme oui m’offrir à un homme est le plus beau cadeau je crois.” (“The most beautiful gift I can give is my body, my soul, yes, I believe that giving myself to a man is the most beautiful gift.”) Another writes of her “charmant accent du Midi” (“charming Midi [southern-France] accent.”). Another explains that her favorite way to lift her spirits when feeling blue is to “faire l’amour” (“make love”). Another promises her “premier cadeau” (“first gift”): A “massage très long et très doux” (“a long and tender massage”).

The lot is sold with the agreement that no letter in its entirety may be published (electronically or otherwise). The buyer must return a signed legal agreement before the box will be shipped. Entire letters may, however, be used in art projects.
Excerpts of the letters may be used for art projects, scholarly works, press articles, poetry, scripts, screenplays, novels and non-fiction writings. Publishers or authors interested in publishing the letters (or a selection of the letters) in their entirety should contact the seller to discuss a special arrangement. The buyer is encouraged to use the letters for the teaching of French, French culture, psychoanalysis, psychology, gender studies, penmanship or other subjects. As time passes, the letters will provide an increasingly rare and poignant portrait of turn-of-the-millennium France and its women.

Interested buyers may review the letters for free and without obligation in Paris (contact the seller to discuss other possible arrangements for pre-sale review of the letters). Sales are final.

EBAY LISTING: 185 FRENCH LOVE LETTERS

2 responses to “French Friday: 185 French Love Letters

  1. thanks for great information, just bookmark and waiting your next posting😉

  2. Being a fan of Paris and everything that has to do with French, I had a great time reading this post! Why did the guy get scared? )))) In Russia, the number of women would be 185 with some zeroes at the end )))))))

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