What Color Is Your Parasol?

Even Jane Eyre, shy governess, knew about the secret language of fans: the way a lady could tilt a fan one way to flirt or flip it upside down to show she wasn’t interested. There is a secret language inherent in parasols too. For instance: handle to lips means “kiss me”, a swing to the right means “I’m married”, and dropping your parasol means “I love you” (just don’t actually drop it on your beloved’s toes). You could even convey fairly complicated meanings like “You’ve changed” (hold the parasol to the right ear) or “We are being watched” (draw the handle across your forehead).

A passionate and/or sexually wanton woman might carry a red parasol unless she was Chinese in which case it would signify good luck. The more conventional type of lady might have favored blue, and white lace was always an appropriate choice. A lady who was artistic or intellectual might choose a purple parasol thereby flaunting she was a bluestocking.

Though parasols have gone out of fashion more and more women are carrying umbrellas against the wicked sun, especially in heat waves. This signifies to Jane E. that it might be time to bring back the parasol, perhaps rebranded with a cute name like “sunasol” and sold in disposable packs of three, in assorted patterns and colors. Would you take refuge beneath one?



8 thoughts on “What Color Is Your Parasol?

  1. I would definitely use a parasol! Talking about the different colors makes me wonder how far they might signify, though…if you made the exact same move with a black parasol vs a pale pink one, what would the young gentleman understand to be the message?? This was such a fun post!

  2. Fascinating, Annabelle. As Christine, above, I hadn’t heard of the secret language of parasols. In fact, I hadn’t heard of the secret language of fans and gloves, either! I must have led a very sheltered life. Lol.

  3. I love this! I was thinking on the scene in the movie Emma where she and Harriet hide behind their parasols to avoid being seen by Miss Bates.

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