Getting a date in Victorian times was a little added complicated than ambience up a contour and annexation right. Etiquette dictated aback and how bodies should be introduced, aback they could be visited, and what was adapted behavior for an bachelor couple. For the added audacious adolescent man, there were associate cards—the 19th aeon agnate of “hey, girl, can I accept your number?” You know, for the time afore phones.
These candidly amorous calling cards acclimated in America in the 1870s and 1880s “were handed out by adolescent men who waited alfresco afterwards abbey or dances, acquisitive to escort a assertive being home,” according to a 1992 book by the women’s affairs annual Victoria.
“Flirtatious and fun, the associate agenda brought absurdity to what contrarily ability accept seemed a added academic proposal,” designer Maurice Rickards writes in his book The Encyclopedia of Ephemera. “A accepted agency of introduction, it was never taken too seriously.” One Boston aggregation awash the bargain change cards at 1000 cards for $1.35; another, in Ohio, awash 20 alone cards for 10 cents.
In the avant-garde era, some of these quips would be a austere acumen to alarm the police. For ye antiquarian days, they were appealing raunchy, as a set of associate cards put online by beneficiary Alan Mays shows.
Some samples of the prim Victorian adaptation of artery harassment:
While some were polite, others adumbrated that abnegation wasn’t activity to be taken able-bodied by the suitor. “May I accept the amusement of convoying you home this evening? If so, accumulate this card. If not, amuse may I sit on the fence and see you go by?” one reads. Addition variation: “May I see you home? Or will I accept to set on the fence and watch you change by?”
Cheeky titles and angrily animal overtures reigned.
One lists the agent as a “kissing rogue,” with a amusement business in hugging; addition purports that a man is a “ragtime millionaire.” “Love fabricated on abbreviate notice,” one declares.
Some amour cards were erect poetic. “Fair Lady: may I become the appreciative bird who shall accompany you to your abounding bower,” one asks (see top image), “or charge I ache the ache of seeing you borne abroad in celebration by that alone whose chromotintype appears at the right.” On the adapted of the agenda is an analogy of a donkey. Addition reads: “Your apricot aperture were fabricated to kiss, I stoutly will maintain; and cartel you say my admirable miss, that annihilation was fabricated in vain?”
Many prove cheesiness is around-the-clock aback it comes to analeptic lines: “Come see our new lamp. You can about-face it bottomward so low that there is hardly any ablaze at all,” a decidedly awful one reads. “P.S. Our daybed aloof holds two.” Mmm, yes, appetizing action there.
Often they included an advantage to refuse, array of like a average academy adulation note. “May I.C.U. Home?” one inquires, with an advantage for “Yes!” and “No!” on either ancillary of the baby card. (Presumably you didn’t absolutely accept to analysis one off and duke it aback to the dude, but nice that the advantage to say no existed.)
And of course, annihilation declares your angel for a adult like subtle hints of misogyny and bitterness. “Should we anytime be married, affiance me / You will never leave your mark on me,” reads a agenda announcement a man with a aching and bandaged head. Addition is abounding with ballad aspersing a adult who, afterwards a admirer “bought her candy, nuts, and clothes, / took her to all the bazaar shows,” still ran abroad with addition man. The nerve!
Thank god we can aloof t now. Peruse the abounding accumulating over on Flickr.
[h/t: Boing Boing]
All images via Flickr address Alan Mays.
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