Copyright © 2007 by
Sean Michael Ragan
I'm interested in the notion of the personal ad as an incipient literary genre. This "Dear Jane" letter is fictitious; there is no real Julie. She is, rather, a pastiche consisting of all the most annoying characteristics of many of my exes. "Jonathan" is likewise made up. This document was posted on various on-line personal ad sites (without this italicixed explanation) and garnered many, many responses ranging from enthusiastic approbation to abhorrence.
September 17, 2007
The unreserved declaration of Jonathan Matthew Regan,
When in the Course of human life it becomes necessary for one person to dissolve the emotional bonds which have connected them with another, and to resume among men and women the single and untethered station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nations entitle them, a decent respect for the feelings of all concerned requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
I hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men and women are not created equal, yet each has been endowed by his or her Creator with the chance for certain Blessings, that among these are Camraderie, Health, Wealth, and Sexual Gratification.--That to secure these blessings, Relationships are instituted among men and women, deriving their true value from the consent and cooperation of the partners,--that whenever any Relationship becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of either Partner to alter or abolish it, and to seek a new Union, laying its foundation on such principles and establishing its customs in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Relationships long established shall not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown, that men and women are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the norms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations evinces true Incompatibility of Mind, Heart, and Spirit, it is their right to throw off the Relationship and to provide a new guard for their future happiness. Such has been My patient sufferance; and such is now the necessity which constrains me to abolish my former Partnership. The history of that Relationship is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
She has assailed my Ears unmercifully with the trivial minutiae of her existence, but has shown no patience to hear my own.
She has expressed Attitudes, certain of which are abhorrent to my Morals and to my Philosophy.
She has complained incessantly of my quirks, in venues Private and Publick, and has shown no evidence of the Respect in which she claims to hold me.
She has deposited long Hairs in my sink and in my hairbrush, and has cluttered my toilet with useless skin-care products.
She has shown no interest in that which I consider the meaningful Work of my life, and moreover has shown outright contempt therefor.
She has made no effort to meet my Friends, yet has insisted that I impress favorably upon hers.
She has demanded of me that which should be freely given, and has treated as Rights those favors which I would bestow out of Love.
She has withheld sexual Relations for weeks or even months at a time, feigning illness or otherwise dissembling, and has shown no concern for uncovering the true Causes thereof.
She has presumed to judge my Taste, and has openly mocked my possessions, my furnishings, and my clothes.
She has suspected me unfairly, and without true Cause has demanded accurate and timely accountings of my whereabouts and activities.
She has snooped about my Person and Property, and has in paranoid fashion spun trivial indiscretions into wild and irrational accusations.
She has Cheated, and deceitfully has tried to conceal her infidelity.
In every stage of these Oppressions I have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: My repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. I have warned her from time to time of her attempts to extend unwarrantable control over me. I have reminded her of the conditions of our involvement and cohabitation. I have appealed to her native justice and magnanimity, and I have conjured her by the ties of our established friendship to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. She has been deaf to the voice of justice and cooperation. I must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our separation, and hold her, as I hold the rest of humanity, Enemies in Love, in other walks Friends.
Therefore, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of my intentions, I do, in the Name of my Self, my Ancestors, and my unborn Progeny, solemnly publish and declare that I am, and of Right ought to be, a Free and Single Person; that I am Absolved of Allegiance to Julie Anne Tucker, and that all romantic involvement between myself and Julie Anne Tucker, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as a Free and Single Person, I have full Right to pursue other Partners, to make Liaisons, to Date, to Woo, and to do all other Acts and Things which Free Single People may do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, I do hereby pledge my Heart, my Loins, and my sacred Freedom.
[Signed] Jonathan M. Regan