Signatures and school-girl crushes

If you’ve got a crush on someone it’s important to know if it’s worth pursuing. My 14-year-old self’s approach to this revolved around three key indicators:

The FLAMES test

This test was mandatory to understanding the longevity of any future relationship you might have with your crush. ‘F’ stood for friends, ‘L’ for lovers, ‘A’ for always, ‘M’ for Marriage, E for enemies, and S for, well, I’ll leave you to work that one out. It was essential that FLAMES was written out in capital letters. I didn’t know why then, I don’t know why now. The FLAMES method varied from school to school, but at mine it went like this:

  1. Write out your name, the word FLAMES, and the name of your crush
  2. Add up the number of letters that both of your names have in common
  3. Count each letter of the word FLAMES up to the total you reached in step 2, striking out the one you land on until there is only one letter left
  4. Reevaluate your crush based on this highly scientific insight into whether your love will last.

The loves test

We considered this test much more valid as it was number-based and therefore less open to interpretation:

  1. Write out your name, the word ‘loves’ (case optional), and the name of your crush
  2. Add up the number of times the letters of the word ‘loves’ appear in your name and the name of your crush
  3. Add the letters in pairs writing the total on a separate line until only two numbers remain
  4. This number is your percentage chance of have a successful relationship.

Anything over 80% meant that you were destined for eternal happiness. If the number was below 50% you could invert it to give the ‘true’ reading. Or not, depending on how much you wanted it to work out.

Finally the biggie…

The signature test

Practising potential signatures of my married name filled many of my notebooks when I was at school. Well if it was good enough for my heroine Catherine Earnshaw…


Even if the other tests had good outcomes, a poor signature could ruin everything. It had to have a good flow, longer surnames were better for this purpose of course. And done in fountain pen for the requisite flourish obviously!

I hear that school kids are using Tinder now. Ewww. I think the days of the FLAMES and loves tests were a much simpler time, though that could be the nostalgia talking. Either way, I bet there’s still a fair bit of signature practice going on. Heck, I’ve even had a go myself with my current crushes in celebration of #SignatureSaturday


A random thought. Maybe Cathy knew about the loves test and that’s why she chose Edgar rather than the whole ‘Heathcliff would degrade me’ business.  The numbers never lie!

Happy #SignatureSaturday



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