💖 It is almost Valentine Leap Day, 2020: the Fat Lady is singing: ‘It’s time to skip the light fandango…’💘

 

In days gone by, young ladies had the privilege of asking for a young man’s hand in marriage

 

throughout the Leap Year or in February in a Leap Year or on February 14 in a Leap Year or on February 29 in a Leap Year

 

 

 

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This is what is going on with this note card, sent in May 1908 to Miss Mabel Blackburn in Quogue, Long Island by someone with the initials ‘R.S.’

 

 

 

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The name of the woman drawn on this card is Mabel. 

 

The sender of this card to the real Mabel Blackburn was, perhaps, a young woman.

 

She wants to incite her friend to propose to ‘Lu N’ in this leap year.

 

 

 

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The real Lu N. may or may not have wanted such a proposition.

 

The sender of this card implies that he does not want to marry the real Mabel. 

 

Perhaps the sender of this card wants to marry the real Lu N. herself?

 

 

 

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The strange cat Cupid, addressing his thought to the young man, sides with the young man.  To him, ‘Lu N.’ is ‘Nicholas’ or ‘Nichol’.  

 

Schoolboy stuff where boys would address their schoolmates by their second names only, sometimes truncated.

 

 

 

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Bizarre quadrennial shenanigans for the consolation of women before their emancipation from the bow-tie set…

 

 

 

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The great goddesses with us….. we – the  young women whom I accompanied through the long years of our boarding school  – were delivered immediately upon graduating

 

 

to   💝the Summer  of Love.❤ 

 

No more sitting around for 4 years waiting to be tied up in the knots of bow ties.

 

 

We – some of us – have had a blast ever since even if it has cost us…. 

 

 

I greet my companions with one of the foremost songs of the Summer of Love, a song of our liberation from all nots and knots except of our own making:

 

A Whiter Shade of Pale

 

 

 

A Whiter Shade of Pale, Procul Harum, British, released May 1967. 

 

Without advance PR, this recording reached No. 1 in Britain in less than a month; no. 5 in the USA within the year. 10 million copies sold since.

 

 

Lyrics of A Whiter Shade of Pale

 

We skipped the light fandango
Turned cartwheels ‘cross the floor
I was feeling kinda seasick
But the crowd called out for more
The room was humming harder
As the ceiling flew away
When we called out for another drink
And the waiter brought a tray

 

And so it was that later
As the miller told his tale
That her face, at first just ghostly,
Turned a whiter shade of pale

 

She said, “There is no reason
And the truth is plain to see. “
But I wandered through my playing cards
And they would not let her be
One of sixteen vestal virgins
Who were leaving for the coast
And although my eyes were open wide
They might have just as well been closed

 

And so it was that later
As the miller told his tale
That her face, at first just ghostly,
Turned a whiter shade of pale

 

She said, “I’m here on a shore leave,”
Though we were miles at sea.
I pointed out this detail
And forced her to agree,
Saying, “You must be the mermaid
Who took King Neptune for a ride. “
And she smiled at me so sweetly
That my anger straightway died.

 

And so it was that later
As the miller told his tale
That her face, at first just ghostly,
Turned a whiter shade of pale

 

If music be the food of love
Then laughter is it’s queen
And likewise if behind is in front
Then dirt in truth is clean
My mouth by then like cardboard
Seemed to slip straight through my head
So we crash-dived straightway quickly
And attacked the ocean bed

 

And so it was that later
As the miller told his tale
That her face, at first just ghostly,
Turned a whiter shade of pale

 

 

 

with lots of love and a reminder not to forget me……….

 

 

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N. American friendship card, c. 1910

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2 thoughts on “💖 It is almost Valentine Leap Day, 2020: the Fat Lady is singing: ‘It’s time to skip the light fandango…’💘

  1. Delight, delight, delight. I must admit, I am not immune to the vagaries of superstition and all that these contribute to the flagging – nearly out of “date-ness” – in the narratives we associate with Romance. I love the comic in this post, but also the reminder of something utterly endearing and enduring.

  2. I agree with you. It does seem so long ago. Chivalry, of course, in all its forms has gone, too.

    I do, however, think we are better off now because people simply are more complex than those relatively straightforward mores allowed! And I believe that most women would not want to return to those days!

    Sarah

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