I’m sure it’s happened to every young lady at one point or another–You’re standing at the counter waiting to buy food or you’re at the bus stop waiting for the bus when that guy who’s been eying you for the past 5 mins decides to speak up and introduce himself to you when you REALLY don’t want his attentions. In fact, you had just been enjoying a very *cough* delicious fantasy in which a tall, dark Richard Armitage look-alike comes walking by and stops to come over to you.
But, instead, you have the socially awkward kid who’s only just started talking to girls or (even worse) the Brad Pitt wannabe who thinks he’s the hottest kid around and every girl should just swoon if and when he decides to talk to you.
Please, you want to say, can’t you see I’m not interested in you? If I was, do you think I would just be sitting here staring off into space, instead of eying you up out of the corner of my eye?
But instead of indulging in that yummy daydream, you’re forced to give it up to be polite as he very unsubtly points out his interest in you and tries (one would hope unsuccessfully) to get your phone number.
But of course. In this day and age, it is perfectly acceptable for man to go up to a woman (or vice versa) and strike up a conversation. Unluckily for us, this wasn’t always the case. Those ladies in the early 19th century had it good when it came to unwanted attention from the opposite sex. IT NEVER WOULD HAVE HAPPENED.
If a lady was standing outside a shop or walking down the street and a gentleman passed her and was interested, he could indicate his interest by a signal (usually a tip of the hat or a nod) and then it was up to THE LADY to decide whether she wanted him to introduce himself to her. if she did, she would present him with a return signal (a smile or a nod) and he would have permission to proceed. If she didn’t want his attentions and wanted to return to her daydream involving that gorgeous Darcy look-a-like, she could simply turn her head away, and the gentleman in question would have no choice but to back off and find some other more willing lady. This was one of the unspoken etiquette rules of that period and I must say, I’m rather envious of those ladies!
Yet another reason to love those good ole days!