The Slant of Love

Language of StampsWho knew there was a language of stamps? I had heard about the language of flowers, where the Victorians wrote entire books about how to convey meaning through carefully constructed bouquets.

cupid-s-code-1However, our 19th century forebears did not stop there. In an age of rigid conduct, when even the “legs” of a piano were draped in fabric, men and women found ever more subtle ways to send messages to one another. Hence, a language of stamps.

According to an article in the Philatelic Database, “The problem of postmarking the stamps placed on various parts of the envelope finally became so great, that postal administrations of the world introduced regulations requiring the sender of mail to affix stamps in the upright corner of the envelope.”

Those new regulations mean we can no longer say “Accept my love” by lining up a stamp with the recipient’s surname or “I hate you” with right-angled postage in the top left corner.

Language-of-StampsHowever, I am baffled about what I actually am saying each month when paying credit card and utility bills. While placing a stamp where the post office instructs — upright in the top right corner — means “I desire your friendship,” a straight up and down stamp ANYWHERE on the envelope means “Goodbye sweetheart.”

I hope the gas company doesn’t take my payment the wrong way.

Read more about how angling your stamps can speak volumes.

3 thoughts on “The Slant of Love

  1. Terry Lim Diefenbach says:

    When I buy a stamp our local clerks think they’re being helpful by “approximating” it on for me, so I tell them I’ll do it myself, but only because I don’t like crookedly placed stamps. Had no idea there could have been a message to it!

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