What is your favorite form of communication? by Ella Quinn
I’m so glad to be invited back. The last time I was here I discussed heroines, Regency ones in particular. But today I’ve been thinking a lot about how we communicate. Even with all our electronic devices, and tendency to be blunt, we sometimes have trouble being understood. Everyone probably has that person or persons who take everything we say the wrong way.
Some languages lend themselves to miscommunication as do some cultures. During the Regency people were brought up to be contained. An outward show of strong emotion was considered vulgar. As was head tossing, rolling one’s eyes, and any number of actions we take for granted these days, It was even considered forward for a gentleman to compliment a lady on her appearance. Not to mention, a young lady (not married) was not allowed to be alone with a gentleman until they were engaged. Nor could she receive a letter from a young man without her parents’ permission.
So if a gentleman wished to tell a lady what he thought of her, how would it be done? If he had been introduced to the lady, he could send her flowers. Back then pretty blooms could convey a message. Here are just some of the meanings.
Apple Blossom – preference, Azalea – temperance, Columbine – folly, Daisy – innocence, Daffodil – regard, Holly – foresight, Iris – message, Ivy – fidelity, Lavender – distrust, Lily – purity, Marigold – sorrow ,Morning Glory – affection, Myrtle – love and marriage, Pansy – thoughtfulness, Primrose – consistency, Roses had a whole range of meanings depending on their color and how many were sent.
Woe to the young man who sent a bouquet to the young lady without taking their meaning into consideration.
Writing poetry to a lady was also in vogue. He may not be able to tell her lips were like a red rose, but he could write it.
Ladies in the Georgian era had a form of texting, by using their fans. Unfortunately that appears to have fallen out of use by the Regency era, though they came back into fashion during the Victorian ear. Here are some examples which are pretty specific, unless you’ve forgotten the meaning.
Carrying Open fan: come speak with me
Twirling the fan in the right hand: I love another
Twirling the fan in the left hand: We are being watched
Placing the fan near your heart: I love you
A half-closed fan pressed to the lips: You may kiss me
Letting the fan rest on the right cheek: Yes
Letting the fan rest on the left cheek: No
Placing fan on left ear: I wish to be rid of you
Carrying fan in right hand in front of face: Follow me
Drawing fan through the hand: I hate you
Threaten with shut fan: You are imprudent
Gazing at shut fan: Why do you misunderstand me?
What is your favorite form of communication?
About the Author:
Ella Quinn lived all over the United States, the Pacific, Canada, England and Europe before finally discovering the Caribbean. She lives in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands with her wonderful husband, three bossy cats and a loveable great dane.