These 19th Century Pickup Lines Will Make You Long For a Time Before Tinder

Source: Alan Mays/Flickr

Dating in today's world means enduring a steady onslaught of awkward first messages, unsolicited sexts and, perhaps worst of all, the dreaded Tinder pickup line

In the late 19th century, dating unfolded along a smoother process: acquaintance cards.

Like the more formal calling cards that were popular in America in the 1870s and 1880s, these "escort cards" and "invitation cards" contained a brief message, illustration and a space to fill in your name and a time to meet, according to the Encyclopedia of Ephemera. Given by men to "less formal" women, acquaintance cards were a flirtatious and cheeky way to introduce yourself without the stakes being too high.

It may sound like something a pickup artist would use at a bar, but plenty of the cards have a subtle humor that was intended to break the ice, according to collector Alan Mays. "At a time when chaperones were common, cars were absent, and visits took place in the parlor, 'May I.C.U. home' simply meant, 'May I walk with you (and your family and friends) to your front gate or door?'" Mays told Mic.

Witty, flirty cards you can slyly pass along without any pressure for a formal invitation? We'd trade our dick pics and upskirts for these any day.