The Language of the Fan


I don't really think that Wickham would be the best tutor for fan etiquette
but I enjoyed this scene from Lost in Austen anyway.



Thanks to a dear friend for sending this to me.
I can't help but wonder though...
if men have such a hard time figuring out how to 'read' women today
(including understanding what women are actually telling them)
How in heaven's name did men figure out all these meanings of the fan??!!

~The Art of the Fan ~
The Young Ladies Journal of 1872 reported on the significance of each charming gesture:

Fan fast - I am independent
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 - can I see you home?
Twirling in right hand - I am watching you
Drawn slowly across the cheek - I love you
Resting fan on right cheek - yes
Placing the fan behind your head - don't forget me
Touching the fan against your left ear - go away!



and more meanings are listed here...

THE FAN PLACED NEAR THE HEART: "You have won my love."

A CLOSED FAN TOUCHING THE RIGHT EYE: "When may I be allowed to see you?"

THE NUMBER OF STICKS SHOWN ANSWERED THE QUESTION: "At what hour?"

THREATENING MOVEMENTS WITH A FAN CLOSED: "Do not be so imprudent"

HALF-OPENED FAN PRESSED TO THE LIPS: "You may kiss me."

HANDS CLASPED TOGETHER HOLDING AN OPEN FAN: "Forgive me."

COVERING THE LEFT EAR WITH AN OPEN FAN: "Do not betray our secret."

HIDING THE EYES BEHIND AN OPEN FAN: "I love you."

SHUTTING A FULLY OPENED FAN SLOWLY: "I promise to marry you."

DRAWING THE FAN ACCROSS THE EYES: "I am sorry."

TOUCHING THE FINGER TO THE TIP OF THE FAN: "I wish to speak with you."

LETTING THE FAN REST ON THE RIGHT CHEEK: "Yes."

LETTING THE FAN REST ON THE LEFT CHEEK: "No."

OPENING AND CLOSING THE FAN SEVERAL TIMES: "You are cruel"

DROPPING THE FAN: "We will be friends."

FANNING SLOWLY: "I am married."

FANNING QUICKLY: "I am engaged."

PUTTING THE FAN HANDLE TO THE LIPS: "Kiss me."

OPENING A FAN WIDE: "Wait for me."

PLACING THE FAN BEHIND THE HEAD: "Do not forget me"

PLACING THE FAN BEHIND THE HEAD WITH FINGER EXTENDED: "Goodbye."

FAN IN RIGHT HAND IN FRONT OF FACE: "Follow me."

FAN IN LEFT HAND IN FRONT OF FACE: "I am desirous of your acquaintance."

FAN HELD OVER LEFT EAR: "I wish to get rid of you."

DRAWING THE FAN ACCROSS THE FOREHEAD: "You have changed."

TWIRLING THE FAN IN THE LEFT HAND: "We are being watched."

TWIRLING THE FAN IN THE RIGHT HAND: "I love another."

CARRYING THE OPEN FAN IN THE RIGHT HAND: "You are too willing."

CARRYING THE OPEN FAN IN THE LEFT HAND: "Come and talk to me."

DRAWING THE FAN THROUGH THE HAND: "I hate you!"

DRAWING THE FAN ADROSS THE CHEEK: "I love you!"

PRESENTING THE FAN SHUT: "Do you love me?"



Whew! Good luck boys in deciphering that!
Another thought, if these meanings were known,
then surely other people in the room could read them as well,
including parents and chaperones of the young lady???

Gorgeous fans pictured above were found at
Cool Breeze: Fashionable Hand Fans



> The Language of a Parasol

>The Language of Flowers







3 comments:

  1. Lovely...thanks for the interesting info! always wondered about the whole fan-sign-language.

    ReplyDelete
  2. this reminds me of what sherwood smith did in Crown Duel

    ReplyDelete

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