Mar 1, 2010

Victorian Courtship

Victorian courtship - what was it like? See for yourself all the heavy lifting young Victorian women had to do before courtship: sing and play the piano beautifully and effortlessly, be light on her feet doing the latest dances, be fluent in French and chatty about popular literature of the day, and most importantly, learn the art of...silence. Did I mention she was never allowed to speak to a man without a formal introduction or go out of the house by herself or shopping with a female friend. Victorian gentlemen had to show up every Sunday for church and go other "acceptable" places a good looking and available girl might visit.

Victorian woman with fan

Once contact was made, an elaborate flirting protocol began with a small but necessary piece of pretty equipment no decent Victorian woman left home without - her prized paper fan. Here's the unspoken Victorian wedding customs of the day we find funny and fascinating:

Fan slow—I am engaged
Fan with right hand in front of face—Come on
Fan with left hand in front of face—Leave me
Fan open and shut—Kiss me
Fan open wide—Love
Fan half open—Friendship
Fan shut—Hate
Fan swinging—See me home?

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