If you’ve been to a party recently, it’s unlikely that you participated in a “party game.” In fact, beer pong is probably the closest any of us has come to playing an actual party game in the last ten years.
However, in the social world of the late 1800s, “parlor games” were de rigueur when it came to entertaining guests at one’s home — and, oftentimes, those seemingly innocent parlor games were pretty damn srange.
Twitter user Ashley, AKA @hawkbi_pierce, recently stumbled upon the digitalized version of an 1871 recreation guide, entitled Modern Pastime or, Indoor Amusements. The book offers a rather bizarre and fascinating glimpse into the chosen party games in Victorian society, and let me just say: the contents are surprisingly colorful (and vexing).
The “Flirtation” game seems to find hilarity in cross-dressing.
Is it just me, or is this game weirdly progressive for encouraging women to flirt with other women? (Albeit while they have a cigar in their mouth.)
“Misapplied Talent” proves that Victorians were apparently prone to giggling over wooden chairs.
Credit where credit is due, though: I would really like to see men kissing random wooden chairs.
“The Tidy Parlor Maids” kind of just sounds like foreplay?
Belinda and Lucinda sound like tawdry harlots.
And “Feeding The Baby” … well, it certainly doesn’t require a Freudian expert to explain this particular parlor game.
Um. Is there a “winner” in this game?
Ashley shared the excerpts to Twitter, where they quickly went viral.
Nobody could ignore the strangely sexual undertones of all the games.
People were perplexed and delighted, to say the least.
Some even went through the remainder of the book to pluck out other gems from its pages.
The evidence seems to indicate that Victorians were so sexually frustrated that they were forced to veil their lustful predilections under the guise of innocent parlor games.
Either that, or they were just really fucking weird.
If you’re planning an upcoming party or event, though, you can at least rest easy with the knowledge that Modern Pastime or, Indoor Amusements is here to offer some highly unique guidance.