Language of the Fan

The Language of the Fan

“..the first person to organise ‘a language of the fan’ was a Spaniard named Fenella, who published (in Spanish) fifty directions on how to converse with the fan”-Nancy Armstrong

Carrying in right hand in front of face:Follow me

Carrying in left hand in front of face: Desirous of acquaintance

Placing it on left ear: I wish to get rid of you

Drawing it across the forehead: You have changed

Twirling it in the left hand: We are watched

Carrying it in the right hand: You are too willing

Drawing through the hand: I hate you

Twirling in the right hand: I love another

Drawing across the cheek: I love you

Presented shut: Do you love me?

Drawing across the eyes: I am sorry

Touching tip with finger: I wish to speak with you

Letting it rest on right cheek: Yes

Letting it rest on left cheek: No

Open and shut: You are cruel

Dropping it: We will be friends

Fanning slowly: I am married

Fanning quickly: I am engaged

With handle to lips: Kiss me

Open wide: Wait for me

Carrying in left hand, open: Come and talk to me

Placed behind head: Don’t forget me

With little finger extended: Good-bye

The shut fan held to the heart: You have won my love

The shut fan resting on the right eye: When may I be allowed to see you?

Presenting a number of sticks, fan part opened: At what hour?

Touching the unfolded fan in the act of waving: I long always to be near thee

Threaten with the shut fan: Do not be so imprudent

Gazing pensively at the shut fan: Why do you misunderstand me?

Pressing the half-opened fan to the lips: You may kiss me

Clasping the hands under the open fan: Forgive me I pray you

Cover the left ear with the open fan: Do not betray out secret

Shut the fully opened fan very slowly: I promise to marry you

Source: Fans by Nancy Armstrong

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The Language of the Fan



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