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Decoding the Secret Love Language of Victorian Fans

Updated: Feb 1

Strict rules of etiquette governed communication between the Victorian lady and her potential gentleman suitors. And so, what could not be voiced verbally in the ballroom or front parlor, was signaled with discreet motions of the hand fan in a secret language of “Fanology.”


Clear Creek Publishing has recently released a new publication, sharing the history and secret coding (using various hand movements with the fan) in a special Brighton History Detective® Investigative Report, "The Secret Love Language of the Victorian Fan." The PDF publication covers the art of gallanting the fan and its secret love language. The history of the secret languages travels a surprising journey from King Tut to battlefields and royal courts to advertising collectibles. Victorian etiquette restricted conversation and conduct, stifling a lady's expression of preference for a dance partner. Such rules prevented her from refusing a dance invitation without a valid reason (and approved "valid" reasons were rare). For example, to plead fatigue, was considered insulting.

Discover how Fanology, the secret language of fan, provided the opportunity for a discreet way to communicate her preference of dance partners, within the confines of Victorian decorum. No longer was her destiny determined solely by the gentlemen approaching her with an invitation to dance. Despite the formal introduction required, the dance partner was more than a casual meeting in yesteryear's ballroom. It was significant occasion for a lady of this era, as most times it was the first step leading to a courtship. Unlike today, courtships were generally limited to one partner and it was very likely that that a courtship would progress in time to an engagement of marriage.

Ladies, get ready to “Unfurl your fans!” Gentlemen, try your skills at decoding the messages fluttering from what was once described as a “weapon of the petticoat battalions.”



Message Clear Creek Publications for your personal digital copy, using the Home Page Contact Form to obtain your downloadable copy, available for $5. Robin Kring aka The Brighton History Detective is also the author of several books available at https://www.clearcreekpub.com/shop , including two that feature more secret languages and symbology of the Victorians: ᴛʜᴇ ᴡᴇᴅᴅɪɴɢ ᴀɴɴɪᴠᴇʀsᴀʀʏ ʟᴏᴠᴇ ʟᴀɴɢᴜᴀɢᴇ and ᴛʜᴇ ʟᴀɴɢᴜᴀɢᴇ ᴏꜰ ꜰʟᴏᴡᴇʀs ᴀɴᴅ ᴏᴛʜᴇʀ ʜɪᴅᴅᴇɴ sʏᴍʙᴏʟɪsᴍ ᴏꜰ ᴛᴏᴍʙsᴛᴏɴᴇs [𝘏𝘢𝘱𝘱𝘺 𝘈𝘯𝘯𝘪𝘷𝘦𝘳𝘴𝘢𝘳𝘺! 𝘈 𝘎𝘶𝘪𝘥𝘦 𝘵𝘰 𝘍𝘶𝘯 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘙𝘰𝘮𝘢𝘯𝘵𝘪𝘤 𝘈𝘯𝘯𝘪𝘷𝘦𝘳𝘴𝘢𝘳𝘺 𝘊𝘦𝘭𝘦𝘣𝘳𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯𝘴 and 𝘈 𝘚𝘵𝘳𝘰𝘭𝘭 𝘵𝘩𝘳𝘰𝘶𝘨𝘩 𝘌𝘭𝘮𝘸𝘰𝘰𝘥: 𝘢 𝘨𝘳𝘢𝘷𝘦𝘴𝘪𝘥𝘦 (𝘰𝘳 𝘣𝘦𝘥𝘴𝘪𝘥𝘦) 𝘵𝘰𝘶𝘳 𝘰𝘧 𝘢 𝘤𝘦𝘮𝘦𝘵𝘦𝘳𝘺’𝘴 𝘮𝘰𝘴𝘵 𝘪𝘯𝘵𝘳𝘪𝘨𝘶𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘯𝘰𝘵 𝘵𝘰 𝘣𝘦 𝘧𝘰𝘳𝘨𝘰𝘵𝘵𝘦𝘯].

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