Resurfaced clips from 1918 show genius pandemic dating tips | #movie | #romancemovies | #movies

So that’s why they call it hanky-panky.

Many Americans have broken quarantine to have sex, determining celibacy a worse fate than possibly contracting COVID-19. But let us learn from the history books: The 1918 Spanish flu took 675,000 lives in the US and 50 million worldwide. Back then, star-coughed lovers did their best to safely express passion.

One tactic thought to render kissing safer was smooching through a handkerchief, or hanky.

“If you must kiss, kiss via kerchief,” warned an August 17, 1919 headline published in the New York City newspaper The Sun. “Otherwise you may get Spanish influenza, or it will get you, Board of Health tells the amorously inclined.”

Looking to the past pandemic could provide some hints for how to cope with the present one — particularly as it applies to our love lives, newspaper clips from 1918 provided to The Post by MyHeritage.com show. In other words, history proves we’ve really done it all for the nooky.

Another method which hasn’t been revived for the current pandemic is the so-called kissing screen.

“For a pure and hygienic kiss, use this small racket — after washing it in an antiseptic,” advertised a column titled “The Pure and Germless Kiss,” published in the journal Popular Science Monthly in 1918.

“Scientists warn us that kisses are unhygienic — transmitting all sorts of dangerous disease germs. Most of us are willing to run this risk, but there are always a few careful ones who strive after the pure and perfect kiss,” the article continued.

Another industrious idea? A “kissing screen, which might easily be used as a ping-pong racket in its idle moments. The netting is covered in antiseptic guaranteed to kill all germs en route.”

Simply avoiding the lips was another tactic believed to make kissing safer.

“Kissing should be stopped these days. If you must show your affection kiss on the cheek or forehead,” warned the Brooklyn paper The Chat in a November 2, 1918 article which also demanded that the public “get wise and not spit on the sidewalk or other public places [so as to] prevent the spread of disease.”

The article also begged folks to “Be merciful,” and “Think before you telephone,” as 2,000 telephone company personnel were sick with the flu and 300 had already died. Indeed, even calling your sweetheart involved a level of risk in the 1918 pandemic: Personal tech was decades away from existing, and use of public phones was discouraged as a disease preventative.

Kissing was so widely understood to spread the disease that it was, for a time, banned. “Anti-kissing statute annulled for soldiers,” announced the headline on a brief article when the law was overturned for military members alone.

According to another article, actors in the film industry would rehearse kissing scenes some 20 times with their masks on, before taking them off for the filmed moment.

Pecking was not only deemed dangerous for lovers, but also among affectionate family members. “To avoid infecting your child, do not kiss it near its mouth; it is unsafe to kiss your child before washing your face,” one newspaper warned. Another article further advised that mouth toys including whistles and blow pipes spread disease.

As masks today both cause and hide the maskne which many are experiencing, during the Spanish flu, men who weren’t able to get a shave also became reliant on their masks to hide their untrimmed scruff. “One man confessed that he didn’t dare to appear without an influenza mask, so badly was he in need of a shave,” one article reported.

The same article goes on to describe a woman who had accessorized her mask with “bows drawn taut and attached back of her pink ears with ribbons,” much like the mask fashionistas of the coronavirus.

Ladies also used their masks as a way to swerve unwanted pickup attempts, perplexing men who couldn’t see their obscured faces to tell if they were smiling or not.


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