Alan Mays

Alan Mays

Posted on 07/25/2016


Photo taken on July 25, 2016


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Whip and Fan Flirtations

Whip and Fan Flirtations
Flirtation lists like the ones printed on this card also circulated in books, newspapers, and other media in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. These lists suggested that common objects like buggy whips and handheld fans could be used by men and women to secretly signal their romantic intentions, but the coded gestures really seem too complicated for easy communication. Flowers, handkerchiefs, gloves, parasols, hats, cigars, and pencils were other items allegedly employed for covert courting.

For more on flirtation cards and acquaintance cards, see "When 'Flirtation Cards' Were All The Rage," an article by Linton Weeks on the NPR History Dept. blog.

See The Ghost Card, or the Skeleton on the Wall (below) for the other side of this card.

Whip Flirtation

Holding stock in left hand and lash in right—Desirous of an acquaintance.
Holding the same, and placing center against the waist—I am sorry.
Holding in left hand by center—Will you bathe with me?
Lash in right hand, stock down—I love you.
Same in left hand—I hate you.
Taking in both hands by center—I love another.
In center, hands crossed—We are watched.
Right hand in center, left on lash—Yes.
Left hand in center, right on lash—No.
Butt against right eye—I am engaged.
Against the left eye—I am married.
Holding it with the left hand against the right shoulder—Follow me.
In right hand against left shoulder—Wait for me.
End in each hand, center bent down—You are cruel.
Same, with center up—You are too willing.
Winding lash around forefinger—Repeat your last signal.

Fan Flirtation

Carrying in right hand in front of face—Follow me.
Carrying in left hand in front of face—I wish to be acquainted.
Placing on right ear—You have changed.
Twirling in left hand—I wish to get rid of you.
Drawing across the forehead—We are watched.
Carrying in right hand—You are too willing.
Twirling in right hand—I love another.
Closing—I wish to speak to you.
Drawing across eyes—I am sorry.
Resting on right cheek—Yes.
Resting on left cheek—No.
Open and shut—You are cruel.
Dropping—We will be friends.
Fanning slowly—I am married.
Fanning quickly—I am engaged.
Handle to lips—kiss me.
Shut—you have changed.
Open wide—Wait for me.
Drawing through hand—I hate you.
Drawing across cheek—I love you.

The Ghost Card, or the Skeleton on the Wall The Ghost Card, or the Skeleton on the Wall (Rotated)

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