The not-so-shady history of the Escort Card

steampunk_journal_escort_cards_2In modern society, Escort Cards are used by ladies of ill repute in order to procure business from lonely gentlemen in the hope of some attention, affection and maybe a bit of how’s your father.Of course those gentlemen would have to pay for the services of the lady, but this wasn’t always the case. Back in the 19th century when people were a lot more formal, it wasn’t done to talk inappropriately to young ladies by a gentleman hoping to catch the sight of a pretty ankle. In order to bridge this issue, young men would start to present cards that had their name printed on them as a way to draw attention to their interest in the recipient lady.

steampunk_journal_escort_cards_1If the lady was interested in return she would keep the card and if not, she would return it to the bearer. As time drew on, the cards got more outlandish as gentlemen naturally began to compete by making the cards humourous (or at least as humourous as a Victorian person could be, ie: not very).

In the past an Escort Card was a card that essentially asked a lady permission to escort her home. It wasn’t a garish flyer filled with pictures of unnaturally tanned girls wearing bright pink lipstick, clear plastic high heels and a neon orange body stocking, stuffed behind a telephone in a bright red urine soaked box.

steampunk_journal_escort_cards_3This method of approaching ladies is now considered the Tinder of the 19th century although the women clearly held all the aces as handing the card back was effectively swiping left.

It just goes to show that men have always been awkward about talking to ladies in social situations and before the days of the internet they had to find alternative ways of making advances while avoiding blushes.

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