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 Flirtation methods

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Caro
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PostSubject: Flirtation methods   Sun 10 Sep 2017, 05:15

I was thinking of adding this to the Strumpets thread and then thought it might be worthy of its own, since it wasn't really about them. The other night we watched an episode of Murdoch, a Canadian crime series which you may or may not be familiar with in Britain and Europe.  They tend to incorporate events and ideas of the time they are set, including famous personalities of the late 19th century.  Eg the suffrage movement, cholera epidemics, the fire of Toronto (I think that's where it is set).

The one we watched recently was based round flirtation cards left in men's pockets to invite them to meet up with a woman, or vice versa.  This episode had these flirtation cards inviting them to a particular place where the victim was poisoned by lip rouge (another word I wasn't familiar with, and wonder when it morphed into the commoon 'lipstick') administered by a kiss which bit into the man's lip. (Makeup was in its early stages of acceptance: I know Anne of Green Gables books had people disapproving of it generally.) I hadn't heard of flirtation cards and my husband thought it might have been an invention of the writers, but when I checked there were quite a lot of mentions of its popularity in the American continent in the late 19th/early 20th century. 

I was on the side of the police off-sider who warned one of the women that meeting strange men alone in lonely places was a dangerous pastime.  Though I am a very trusting person, that seems to be taking trust a bit far.  I don't think it was confined to people you knew, though perhaps in reality it was.

I thought there might be other historic ways of "linking up" with people you had a secret or not so secret hankering for.  What can you all think of?  Dance cards? Excuse me dances?  I do remember once in a Ladies Engage dance asking a boy I fancied to dance - and a week or so later he asked me out, and we went out for 9 months!  Quite a successful enterprise.
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Priscilla
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PostSubject: Re: Flirtation methods   Sun 10 Sep 2017, 18:25

The dropped lace hankie routine may have worked in days of yore where a dropped Kleenex today may not.
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PostSubject: Re: Flirtation methods   Thu 14 Sep 2017, 06:14

And I suppose cigarettes have been used as flirtations, at least in movies.  Not anymore though.
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Temperance
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PostSubject: Re: Flirtation methods   Thu 14 Sep 2017, 10:02

Apparently the present Duchess of Cornwall did not resort to dropping hankies or to being mysteriously seductive behind a cloud of cigarette smoke: she was by all accounts honest and direct in her early flirtations with the Prince of Wales - alarmingly so, in fact. The formidable duchess, then Camilla Shand, is reputed to have captured the heart of  HRH in 1972 with the forthright proposition: "My great-great-grandmother was your great-great-grandfather's mistress, so how about it?"

I've always been fascinated by fans - apparently the use of these things was quite an art form in the flirtation game.


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PostSubject: Re: Flirtation methods   Thu 14 Sep 2017, 11:07

An entire coded language by the looks of it:

Fan Language
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PostSubject: Re: Flirtation methods   Thu 14 Sep 2017, 11:13

Jealousy and Flirtation, 1874; by Haynes King:

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Meles meles
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PostSubject: Re: Flirtation methods   Thu 14 Sep 2017, 12:00

Re. 'fan language' as a means of dealing with the restrictions of social etiquette ... I'm pretty sure I've read somewhere that all that was mostly made up by Regency/Victorian fan-makers to try and drum up business when fans were going out of fashion. Much like with the current 'language of flowers' or 'birth stones', there was probably some kernel of old lore and tradition in it - perhaps, in the case of fans, dating from the French court of Louis XIV - but as codified in the 19th century much of it was simply a marketing gimmick.

But on a similar note, 'hanky codes' for cruising gay men do seem to be real and were/are used (particularly when homosexual acts, even just flirting, were illegal) ... but I hesitate to lead the conversation in that particular direction.

Embarassed
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Temperance
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PostSubject: Re: Flirtation methods   Thu 14 Sep 2017, 12:44



Crikey, Trike - really interesting stuff in your linked article above. Wafting a fan about was obviously a rather complicated business - could lead to all sorts of misunderstandings. Was there a simple sign for "Phew - it's really hot in here!"
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ferval
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PostSubject: Re: Flirtation methods   Thu 14 Sep 2017, 18:30

The language of flowers was one way of expressing one's feelings, one would hope that the proffered bouquet of red roses (I desire you) was not followed by a yellow carnation (rejection) in return.

Flower meanings

These meanings were also employed in jewellery, that elaborate Victorian flower brooch might be much more than just a pretty design.
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