A Form of Business Card
With the printing press invention of the early 1800’s, 19th century gentlemen used a form of business card to formally introduce themselves to others in a dignified style. According to The Encyclopedia of Ephemera, the acquaintance card was, “A novelty variant of the American calling card of the 1870s and 1880s,
used by the less formal male in approaches to the less formal female. Given also as an ‘escort card’ or ‘invitation card,’ the device commonly carried a brief message and a simple illustration….Flirtatious and fun, the acquaintance card brought levity to what otherwise might have seemed a more formal proposal. A common means of introduction, it was never taken too seriously.”
These acquaintance or escort cards were a comical way (I think), for a gentleman to break the ice with a person of potential interest to him. Yet, based upon the examples I found, the humor and directness of the proposals in these cards spoofed or challenged proper rules of etiquette. I guess you might say they compared to many of today’s oafish pick-up lines. Below is some of Flickr user’s, Alan Mays, collection of these cards:
To contrast, in today’s world nearly everything we undertake is done with a more casual approach. Sure, anybody who is anybody has at least one online profile and access information, an email address, and just walks up with their cell phone in hand and asks for “her digits.”
Poor Emily Post’s (1872-1960), infamous 1922 Book of Etiquette and its eighteen editions (last update in 2011), have all but been thrown out with grandma’s washtub and its dirty water. In fact, if you asked them, today’s millennials probably don’t know the name Emily Post, her legacy to our cultivated society, or even the meaning of the word “deportment,” which once was a characteristic for which we received a grade in elementary school. (Hmmm…just say’n.)
But, I did query to see what advice the “all and knowing” Internet offered for getting to know someone you might be interested in. I actually entered: “How do I ask for a girl’s digits?”
Step 1: Walk up to her when she’s not busy or fully concentrated on anything.
Step 2: Open your mouth.
Step 3: Use words.
Step 4: Revel in the glory of your achievement.The #1 thing girls love in a guy is confidence.
Just walk up to her, say “Hey I wanted to get to know you better and was wondering if I could have your number.
Maybe we could get together sometime?”
Do it with a smile and proudly as if you think she’s the most amazing thing in the world (cuz you do!) and you won’t have a thing to worry about.
Oh and don’t call them “digits”. Girls hate that. It sounds impersonal and flashy like you’re trying too hard to be a “gangsta thug”.
To put all this into context, I would say that the best way to let someone know you want to get to know them hasn’t changed at all over the generations. You just say “Hello,” and take it from there!