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Language of gloves

Posted by Robin Abrahams  January 17, 2013 08:30 AM

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A Facebook friend of mine posted this, from Retronaut:


I like throwing them up in the air to tell a gentleman you are engaged. How that is subtler than working a reference to "my fiance" into the conversation, I don't know. The 1880s, I guess you had to be there.

My friend Molly came up with a modern-day Language of the Glove:

  • "I have ADHD" -- Gloves don't match and one is actually a mitten

... so I followed suit:

  • "Don't you ever clean house, you slut" -- Trail gloves lightly along tabletop, examine fingertips
  • "Up yours" -- Gloves removed, all fingers except middle finger poked inward, remaining one-fingered glove carefully displayed to suitor, palm forward
  • "Please turn around and bend over" -- Pull gloves on briskly, snap wrist

Share your own in comments--and come visit me on Facebook, my virtual break room!

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About Miss Conduct
Welcome to Miss Conduct’s blog, a place where the popular Boston Globe Magazine columnist Robin Abrahams and her readers share etiquette tips, unravel social conundrums, and gossip about social behavior in pop culture and the news. Have a question of your own? Ask Robin using this form or by emailing her at

Who is Miss Conduct?

Robin Abrahamswrites the weekly "Miss Conduct" column for The Boston Globe Magazine and is the author of Miss Conduct's Mind over Manners. Robin has a PhD in psychology from Boston University and also works as a research associate at Harvard Business School. Her column is informed by her experience as a theater publicist, organizational-change communications manager, editor, stand-up comedian, and professor of psychology and English. She lives in Cambridge with her husband Marc Abrahams, the founder of the Ig Nobel Prizes, and their socially challenged but charismatic dog, Milo.

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