Vinegar Valentines: 19th Century's Insulting, Anonymous Card-Sending Trend

By Jacob Shelton

Vinegar Valentines were insulting in every way

If you're lucky enough to have a special someone in your life, there's nothing better than giving or receiving a Valentine. Who doesn't like to know that they're the object of someone's affection? On the other hand, just because it's Valentine's Day doesn't mean that everyone is handing out love poems. In the Victorian era, if you had an unwanted suitor, there was a very specific way to get rid of them: a Vinegar Valentine. These nasty cards and unwelcome notes were sometimes crass, always funny, and definitely mean. Anyone who received one of these bad boys definitely got the point.

Source: The Strong

It's not just that Vinegar Valentines were rude, which they definitely were. Their entire purpose was to make the recipient feel like scum. The cards were sent anonymously, so the receiver didn't even know who was telling them to buzz off; they just knew that someone hated them. To add insult to insult, the recipient had to pay for the delivery of the card. They weren't just learning that someone in their life thought they were a jerk; they were paying for the privilege (of a vinegar valentine).