Similarly, a 1932 silent film from British Pathé’s archives titled Language of a Fan decodes more romantic shenanigans conveyed via fan signals. A closed fan pointed at the lips meant “I’m married but you may kiss me.”

The hand fan’s coy sign language probably won’t work in the #MeToo era. But its original function, as a personal cooling device, remains undiminished. When the planet feels like it’s melting, an elegant, eco-friendly hand fan is just the thing.

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