Did you know these everyday objects facilitated communication between enamored couples during the 19th and early 20th century? Next time you watch Downton Abbey or another period drama, see if you can spot any of the signals below.
Right cheek = Yes
Left cheek = No
Across lips = flirting
Twist left = not interested or go away
Twist right = thinking of you
Wind around 3rd finger left hand = married
Forefinger wind = engaged
Drawing napkin through the hand = I desire to converse by signal with you.
Holding napkin by the corners = Is it agreeable?
Using three fingers to hold napkin = Yes
Playing with fork = I have something to tell you.
Holding up knife and fork (one in each hand) = When can I see you?
Laying both fork and knife to left of plate = After the meal
Clenching fork or knife with right hand on table = Yes
The Mystery of Love, Courtship, and Marriage Explained (1890) by Henry J. Wehman
Victorians’ Secrets: The Love Letter
Victorians’ Secrets: Tussie-Mussies and Sweetheart Flower Clocks
Victorians’ Secrets: Fans