May 5, 2015

How To Communicate With Your Fan (The Object, Not The Person)

Girl with a fan, Pietro Rotari
Since moving back to Europe, I've found myself falling deeply for the history channel. I find the programs on it to be very interesting, well-researched, and cover a wide variety of topics. One of the the programs on random historical news brought up a very interesting fact regarding the use of...
The Fan.

So here's a little dictionary of uses regarding the fan from the Maison Duvelleroy, a house founded in 1827 by a man who wished to see the delicate object back in use...
Lady with a fan, Alexandre Roslin

Holding it in your right hand before your face: Follow me.
Holding it in your left hand before your face: I wish for an interview (private).
Placing it against your left ear: I wish for you to leave me alone.
Brushing it against your forehead: You have changed.
Twirling it in your left hand: We are being watched.
Holding it in your right hand: You are being enterprising.
Sliding it in your hand: I loathe you.
Twirling it in your right hand: I love someone else.
Brushing it down your cheek then placing it against your chin: I love you.
Showing it closed to someone: Do you love me?
Sliding it before your eyes: I am sorry.
Touching the edge of it with your finger: I wish to speak to you.
Placing it against your right cheek without moving it: Yes.
Placing it against your left cheek without moving it: No.
Opening and closing it: You are cruel.
Letting it hang: We shall remain friends.
Slowly fanning yourself: I am married.
Quickly fanning yourself: I am engaged.
Placing it against your lips: Kiss me.
Open and still: Wait for me.
Holding it open in your left hand: Come speak to me.
Placing it behind your head: Do not forget me.

~Transl. from "L’√©ventail √† tous vents" (Louvre des Antiquaires, Paris 1989).
Of course, you could also try to cheat with your fan...
Now what should an unmarried woman use the fan to keep cool without giving any false messages? ;)



  1. Fascinating! I particularly like: "Sliding it in your hand: I loathe you. Twirling it in your right hand: I love someone else.". I often talk to AV and we often have chalk in our hands - so I will check what she does with the chalk when she talks to me - kind of a chalk chat check.

    1. Oh you should totally transpose it to chalk! Then you could be insulting those you don't like without them even knowing it! JK :)