|Nancy with parasol at Colosseum|
|Woman with Parasol by Renoir|
It made me wonder why we've abandoned the parasol and fan. The parasol probably went by the wayside because we now embrace having a tan. But a hundred years ago, having porcelain skin revealed breeding. Only people who worked for a living had tanned skin. So I'll surrender the parasol--even though I don't do tans either.
|Lady with a Fan by Aviat|
In my research, I learned there was a Language of the Fan, where women could say secret things to the men in their lives by the flip of their fan. Fanning with the right hand in front of your face meant "Follow me." Fanning with your left hand meant, "Don't flirt with that woman." Slowly fanning yourself meant, "Don't waste your time, I don't care about you." While quickly fanning yourself meant, "I love you so much."
|Lady with a Fan by James Tissot|
Which leads to a bigger question: did men really understand this special, intricate language? Not to disparage the other sex, but I've noticed that most men I know don't pay attention to what a woman is wearing, if their hair is worn up or down, or even if they wear glasses, much less notice whether the woman runs her fingers over the fan's ribs (meaning "I want to talk to you") or carries the fan closed with the left hand (meaning "I'm engaged.") Sorry, but it ain't going to happen.
|Lady with a Fan by Mary Cassatt|