The fan was extensively used as a means of communication and therefore a way of flirting from the 16th century onwards in some European societies, especially England and Spain.
A whole sign language was developed with the use of the fan, and even etiquette books and magazines were published.
For example, kissing might be an early step in the American pattern but a relatively intimate act in the English pattern.
For example, for many western cultures one very common flirting strategy includes eye contact.
However, eye contact can have a very different meaning in some Asian countries, where women might get in trouble if they return a glance to men who stare at them.
According to social anthropologist Kate Fox, there are two main types of flirting: flirting just for fun and flirting with further intent.
Flirting for fun can take place between friends, co-workers, or total strangers that wish to get to know each other.
Charles Francis Badini created the Original Fanology or Ladies' Conversation Fan which was published by William Cock in London in 1797.
The use of the fan was not limited to women, as men also carried fans and learned how to convey messages with them.
Flirting or coquetry is a social and rarely sexual activity involving verbal or written communication as well as body language by one person to another, either to suggest interest in a deeper relationship with the other person, or if done playfully, for amusement.
In most cultures, it is socially disapproved for a person to make explicit sexual advances in public, or in private to someone not romantically acquainted, but indirect or suggestive advances (i.e. Flirting usually involves speaking and behaving in a way that suggests a mildly greater intimacy than the actual relationship between the parties would justify, though within the rules of social etiquette, which generally disapproves of a direct expression of sexual interest in the given setting.
This use was highly popular during the 19th and early 20th centuries. Flirting can indicate an interest in a deeper personal relationship with another person.