As a gentleman who cultivates the skills of seduction, I pride myself on having recently learned the latest rage of fan communication. By way of this small article of a woman's toilet, a woman can convey the subtlest of emotions without the formality of an introduction. I'm a weekend guest at Lord and Lady T's country estate and shall advantageously employ this new-found knowledge. I spy two gentle creatures of the fairer sex; beribboned in the latest fashion, they're most comely to my eyes. However, they take no notice of me, nor employ their fans other than to cool themselves in this overheated domicile.
Hm, now here's a coquette eager for intercourse. Peeking coyly from behind her silk veil, she lets her fan rest on her right cheek. Her answer is 'Yes', to whatever my proposition may be. I nod acknowledgment of her meaning, then avert my eyes to disengage her. The weekend is just beginning, and though I do not wish to burn any bridges, I'm certain there are even more attractive damsels to conquer.
I do say, Miss Agatha is a vision in pink, and as I recall, a cracker in croquet. Though she's quite enamored with her nosegay, I shall attempt to attract her attention. Balderdash! She's twirling the fan in her right hand, thus relaying she's in love with another. No need to waste my time here.
There's sister Clara grasping her fully opened black Chantilly lace fan in both hands, which means she's asking that rake to forgive her of some trespass. Heavens, I shall have to reveal to her, the man's propensity for cards and fast women. Or perhaps, I shan't, for it will place me in those same seedy environs.
Dear Mrs. Whitmore is glancing my way, pressing her fan to her lips; a definitive invitation to be kissed. I dare say, her porcelain skin has never suffered the effects of the sun, and her dazzling blue eyes are surely a result of the prudent use of belladonna. Regretfully, I cannot succumb to her flirtatious enticements, for her boorish husband is also in attendance, and an expert shot.
Alas, my own heart betrays me, for Aliza Cranfield has entered the room. Catching my eye, she slips her fan's tassel over her delicate wrist, and with an adept flick, opens it wide. “Come hither,” it commands, and like a pup, I obey. Her vellum fan with mother-of-pearl blades is not adorned with the usual sentimental poem or decorative watercolor; nay, it holds signatures of our age's greatest gentlemen: Strauss, Rossetti, Dickens, and Tennyson. With her feminine wiles she has males at her beck and call. I have pursued the minx for months, to no avail, but now, she has placed her fan near her heart, telling me in no uncertain terms that I have won her love. Can it be true, she is now shutting the fan oh so slowly, promising to marry me. Farewell to my bachelorhood's roving eye, for I desire nothing more than the sweet embrace of Aliza.
More Fan Language
LETTING THE FAN REST ON THE LEFT CHEEK: "NO."
OPENING AND CLOSING THE FAN SEVERAL TIMES: "You are cruel."
HIDING THE EYES BEHIND AN OPEN FAN: "I love you."
TOUCHING THE FINGER TO THE TIP OF THE FAN: "I wish to speak with you."
FANNING SLOWLY: "I am married."
FANNING QUICKLY: "I am engaged."
TWIRLING THE FAN IN THE LEFT HAND: "We are being watched."
PRESENTING THE FAN SHUT: "Do you love me?"
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"
COVERING THE LEFT EAR WITH AN OPEN FAN: "Do not betray our secret."
Dear Reader, Have we lost the eloquent art of courting? Should we return to the language of the fan?