Example: [Collected via e-mail, 1994]
A young man wished to purchase a gift for his new sweetheart's birthday, and as they had not been dating very long, after careful consideration he decided a pair of gloves would strike the right note
Accompanied by his sweetheart's younger sister, he bought a pair of white gloves; the younger sister purchased a pair of panties for herself.
During the wrapping, the clerk mixed up the items and the sister got the gloves and the sweetheart got the panties. Without checking the contents first, he sealed his package and mailed it to his sweetheart along with this note:
I chose these because I noticed that you are not in the habit of wearing any when we go out in the evening. If it had not been for your sister, I would have chosen the long ones with buttons, but she wears short ones that are easy to remove.
These are a delicate shade, but the lady I bought them from showed me the pair she had been wearing for the past three weeks and they were hardly soiled. I had her try yours on for me and she looked really smart.
I wish I were there to put them on you for the first time, as no doubt other hands will come in contact with them before I have a chance to see you again.
When you take them off, remember to blow in them before putting them away as they will naturally be a little damp from wearing.
Just think how many times I will kiss them during the coming year. I hope you will wear them for me on Friday night.
All my Love,
P.S The latest style is to wear them folded down with a little fur showing.
Origins: I'd be hard-pressed to find anyone who believes this tale, which undoubtedly survives because of its charm and ability to coax a smile from even the most dour. Caveat emptor, though: I ended up married to the fellow who sent it to me in 1994. As for how long this bit of lore has been around, version of it have been collected in the 1920s.
Barbara "fur tiff laughter" Mikkelson
Last updated: 18 March 2013
Cleopatra's Scrapbook. Lexington, KY: Scrapbook Pub. Co., 1928. (p. XXIX). Dundes, Alan and Carl Pagter. Urban Folklore From the Paperwork Empire. Austin: American Folklore Society, 1975. ISBN 0-292-78502-X. (pp. 210-211). Dunford, Gary. "Santa and His Brother." The Toronto Sun. 19 December 1995 (p. 6). Schweinickle, O.U. The Book of a Thousand Laughs. 1928. Ursula. "Was She Unfair to That Male Cold Fish?" Capital Times. 20 May 1995 (p. D1). Playboy. "Party Jokes." May 1964.