Alan Mays

Alan Mays

Posted on 07/27/2018


Photo taken on July 24, 2018


See also...

Vintage Printed Ephemera Vintage Printed Ephemera


# NEW # # NEW #


Typography Typography



Keywords

love
courtship
flirts
ephemera
handkerchief
lists
codes
typefaces
flirtation
hanky
courting
hankies
acquainted
flirtation cards
acquaintances
flirtation lists
flirtations
handkerchief flirtation
signals
printed
women
paper
antique
vintage
old
romantic
men
type
typography
handkerchiefs
romance
cards
fonts
gestures
flirting
acquaintance
rules
handkerchief flirtations


Authorizations, license

Visible by: Everyone
All rights reserved

38 visits

" Tempi passati " ... The nosy nostalgic group

Hankerchief Flirtation Card

Hankerchief Flirtation Card 

The notion that men and women could use handkerchiefs to secretly signal their romantic intentions may seem far-fetched, but that's the idea behind this "Handkerchief Flirtation" list.

In fact, using hankies to flirt seems downright dangerous. You might accidentally drop your handkerchief on the floor and end up telling the wrong person, "We will be friends." Or even worse, you could draw your handkerchief across your cheek as you blow your nose, inadvertently saying, "I love you."

Despite the potential for miscommunication, flirtation lists like this circulated widely in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In addition to handkerchiefs, you could supposedly also use flowers, gloves, parasols, hats, cigars, pencils, and even buggy whips and handheld fans for covert courtship.

For further discussion of these secret flirting methods, see the following:

Esti Brenna, From the Stacks: Victorian Courtship and the Language of the Fan, Clements Library Chronicles, June 6, 2012. "Unfortunately, the fan language--and other, similar codes like the language of the handkerchief and the language of the parasol--were largely the result of advertising campaigns meant to popularize and sell accessories. There is little evidence that the fan language was ever in widespread use, though the concept was satirized by several writers in the 18th and 19th centuries."

Natasha Frost, The Victorian Cards That Explained How to Use a Book to Flirt, Atlas Obscura, March 23, 2018. A "Book Flirtation" card and other alleged flirting techniques. (Full disclosure: I'm quoted in this article, and it includes some of my calling and acquaintance cards.)

Handkerchief Flirtation

Drawing across the lips—Desirous of an acquaintance.
Drawing across the eyes—I am sorry.
Taking it by the centre—You are too willing.
Dropping—We will be friends.
Twisting in both hands—Indifference.
Drawing across cheek—I love you.
Drawing through hand—I hate you.
Letting it rest on right eye—Yes.
Letting it rest on left cheek—No.
Twisting in the left hand—I wish to be rid of you.
Twisting in the right hand—I love another.
Folding it—I wish to speak with you.
Over the shoulder—Follow me.
Opposite corners in both hands—Wait for me.
Drawing across the forehead—We are watched.
Placing on the right ear—You have changed.
Letting it remain on the eyes—You are cruel.
Winding around forefinger—I am engaged.
Winding around third finger—I am married.
Putting it in the pocket—No more at present.

Whip and Fan Flirtations

Risa Profana, Steve Bucknell, Smiley Derleth have particularly liked this photo


Comments
Smiley Derleth
Smiley Derleth
Fascinating, Alan. Wonderful pieces and documentation. Thank you for sharing it with us.
3 weeks ago.
Steve Bucknell
Steve Bucknell
For we poor lost souls in the 21st century this opens up new worlds f social signalling. Thank you.
3 weeks ago. Edited 3 weeks ago.