I ran across this remarkable painting, titled “The Irritating Gentleman,” on Sheltered and Safe From Sorrow, a blog devoted to Victorian mourning rituals and other creepiness from that period. The gentleman in question seems to be a Victorian era Pickup Artist in action. He’s even peacocking, Mystery style, with that bow tie and stupid hat and even a non-ironic handlebar moustache. Probably the only thing keeping him from wearing aviator goggles is the fact that airplanes haven’t yet been invented.
What makes it all the worse is that the PUA’s target is clearly in mourning. As the blogger behind rawr I’m a tumblr notes:
She’s wearing all black in 1874. Black gloves, hat, cloak, and dress. In public. The whole nine yards. That’s not a fashion choice or a gothic thing. Back then when people wore all black like that, they were in mourning for someone who died. No one did mourning like the Victorians, that shit was an art form to them.
Someone in her family has died—she could even be a young widow. No one’s accompanying her either. With the carpet bag? She’s traveling alone while still in deep mourning. Look at the closeup. She’s got tears in her eyes. She is upset, devastated in a way that one is only when someone has died. And the guy’s still bothering her, like her problems are flippant bullshit and she needs to just smile or pay attention to him because ladies are supposed to be pleasing for men no matter what shit they’re going through. That’s not a look of “what an ass.” That’s a look of devastation that even in her pain, she’s expected to give people like him focus. She’s not mad. She’s hurt. And to add insult to injury? Everyone would be able to tell. It was a clear sign and still is in ways that someone is mourning, to dress in black crepe like that. He would know why she’s wearing all black, and he’s still demanding her attention.
What an insufferable dick.