Every so often, I'm puzzled by the things people have as decor. Miniature straw hat
s, for instance. Since in the Summertime, I usually wear a straw hat, usually decorated with whatever seasonal/whimsical/topical tidbits I can find (feather
s, silk or real flowers, loops of ribbon
- especially blue
-- etc.), hey, I've Got Eye and Skin Problems, this helps... I found the idea of decorating with nonfunctional, small straw hats somewhat odd...kind of like decorating with tiny dresses.
"Well, I'd like to wear a hat like that, but it just doesn't go with my present lifestyle."
"You go outdoors, don't you?"
"Yes, but...I mean, I'm not a hat person...What happens if I drive my car? It brushes on the roof."
"You either leave it on, and drive, or you take it off."
"What about the office? I wouldn't look professional."
"Take it off. Then, put it back on for lunch, and when you leave. Most people know that."
"No one else has one."
"Their loss. Most people think mine is great."
"So, I have to keep putting it on and taking it off?"
"I really don't have time to do all that."
"It's a lot more aesthetic than that baseball cap you have, that you don't take off, ever."
Much the same goes, exponentially, with my fan. I learned to open a fan when I was about four or five (my mother being Hispanically-oriented, helped), and have carried one every place and time I've been predictably overheated, that is, when I was in Study Hall in High School, as a dancer, in church in the Summer, and so on, and so on. It's part of my summer EveryDay Carry, and should be, for anyone who doesn't want to rely on electricity to take the heat off.
Not that this hasn't been met with some puzzlement. In Study Hall, most of the kids thought I was a weirdo (but wanted to sit by me, nonetheless). Black kids axed me why I didn't have one of those battery-operated dinguses. Smart-alecky men asked me if my effort fanning myself wasn't making me even hotter. A photographer thought that my carrying a fan (I was dancing at Punk Rock festival) wasn't the meeting of two worlds, the punky and the ultra-feminine: I replied that I was carrying a rather soberly-toned fan, with a pine-tree motif -- it was the closest to being butch, in fan language, that I could possibly be! (Also, it looked quite fetching with my outfit, which was kind of Molly Millions-like, except that it was a couple of years before Neuromancer.Meow!) Since then, I've had to deal with Pier One "no longer carrying fans as an item", mall stores carrying fans of every length except a practical one, and the dissolution of my mother's collection.
So, let's get started on being a fan person.
The ideal fan for you is something that you can hold in your hand, with ribs that reach to the crook of your arm. Any longer, and you won't be able to maneuver it properly, any shorter, and it's not going to be practical. It should have a good balance: if you hold the fan correctly (in the hollow of your hand) and make the gesture of snapping your fingers, with a twist of the wrist, and a slight throwing motion, the fan should fall open. If nothing of the sort happens, smile graciously, and start chatting up the shop owner. They may demonstrate. If they claim they can't get a fan that works like that, smile again, and leave, preferably for a shop in a more Asian-based (I was about to say 'oriented') neighborhood. According to Victorian etiquette, men shouldn't carry them, if you are male, lean rather on Georgian, French, or Japanese manners instead. (In other words, if it wouldn't look good in the hand of Larry Ellison or Anderson Cooper, or isn't dark, text-based, or masculine-toned, forget it).
Fanning yourself should be an easy gesture, just turn your wrist, and you have a breeze. You can do it quickly or slowly, and, if you don't call too much attention to what you're doing, you have a friend for life, for all those little moments, when the a/c conks out, outdoors, when you need to buy a little time, to calm down, as an effective, but easily carried weapon, on the often overheated floor of a computer trade fair (I used the blank surface of my fan to take notes, to the high acclaim of many Asian attendees) and, last but not least, you can send messages. (Which is what I did a lot when I was supposedly a 'butch' punk rock dancer....)Not bad for five bucks, I'd say. And, you'll literally outcool everyone....Now let me tell you about my parasol...