Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Edwardian Valentine Etiquette

The comic Valentine, when the joke is kind is all right, but when one is sent that which is insulting and personal, it goes against the spirit of the day. 

Valentines Not Out of Date 
IN place of going out of date, Valentines are gaining in popularity," said a manufacturer of these conceits. "We don't like to make any show of sentiment in this practical age, so the old-fashioned, foolishly sweet affairs are not used. No longer may the too bashful swain get behind good St. Valentine to make a declaration of love."

Neither is it good form to make it a spite day. The comic Valentine, when the joke is kind is all right, but when one is sent that which is insulting and personal, it goes against the spirit of the day. The once popular lace-trimmed Valentines are a thing of the past. Children have taken possession of these. The lover now sends his lady fair an offering of flowers, bonbons, fruit, a book, a picture or any dainty holiday gift. Where an engagement exists, often a piece of jewelry is sent.

It is considered better taste not to put any card on Valentine gifts. The identity of the sender should be shrouded in doubt. This adds piquancy to the occasion. Of course, the woman in the case is usually a good guesser. There is only one time-honored way to send any card or comic Valentine and that is to have it slipped under the door on St. Valentine eve. 

It must not under any circumstances be intrusted to Uncle Sam and have the prosaic adornment of a postage stamp unless the sender lives at a distance. Then it is pardonable because unavoidable, but a part of the flavor is lost when it has to come through such a channel. 

Even flowers and candy are left on the doorstep by a messenger boy, who runs away in the friendly darkness and watches from a distance to see that the offering is taken in. 

The etiquette of Valentines decrees that no woman shall make a present to even her dearest female friend on this day, nor must a man give anything to another man. 

This etiquette does not apply to comic Valentines, but to presents of any description. It is a day sacred to lovers, and no one else must trespass on their privileges. Neither does a woman remember a man friend with even the most trifling souvenir. There is no hint of Leap Year prerogatives in this old-fashioned day.— San Francisco Call, 1901

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