Who is Miss Abigail?

Abigail Grotke
Silver Spring, MD
email: missabigail at missabigail dot com
twitter: @DearMissAbigail

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Miss Abigail has a collection of over 1,000 classic advice books, spanning from 1822 to 1978 and covering a variety of topics, from love and romance to etiquette and charm. The collection sparked the idea for this site, then a book, Miss Abigail's Guide to Dating, Mating, and Marriage, which has inspired an Off-Broadway production of the same name!

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Posts Tagged ‘becoming dateable’

How Do I Find That Utterly-Adorable Other?

Monday, July 12th, 2010

what is the matter with me?Q Dear Miss Abigail:

After hearing gazillions of times: “just wait and you’ll find the right person, there is someone out there for everyone, your perfect match could be just around the corner,” I have decided to forgo the lengthy, time-will-tell answers of others and seek your advice.

Can you tell me how one seeks a mate of compatible substance without leaving the job to Father Time? Is there a way to take things into my own hands and find that not-so-perfect, yet utterly adorable other? This must not be a recent dating dilemma, so can you give a few tried and true tips?

Stats: 27, male-gendered, high-school teacher, reader extrordinaire, and utterly a romantic.

Signed,
Looking for love in all the wrong places

A Dear Looking:

Wait a second…did I write this letter? Oh, um, never mind. Unfortunately, I know too many people, young and not-so-young, who have been waiting for Father Time to get to work. He must be on vacation, however, so we must find true love on our own. Let’s take a look at what I was able to dig up in the books. My wish is that these bits of advice will help you in your quest for a mate, or at least a date.

By the way, both of these blurbs are brought to you courtesy of my friend and co-collector of advice books, Lynn Peril, who donated four books to the collection. Be sure to check out Lynn’s Pink Think book, and her Mystery Date: One Gal’s Guide to Good Stuff.

1956: Becoming More Datable

“What is the matter with me?” you may wonder if you do not have dates. Everybody else seems to be talking about their good times ~ what he said and what she said, and then what they did. It sometimes makes a boy or girl who is not dating feel pretty much out of things. You may get to wondering if there is something wrong with you that keeps you from going places and doing things with the other sex. You may put on a big act and pretend that you have special friends and admirers (as many of the others do, too). But deep down inside you may be puzzled about what it takes to make friends, to get a date, and why some people seem to do it all so easily while others have to work so hard at it.

You can improve you own datability by following a few simple rules. You are more datable to the extent to which you are increasingly friendly and sincerely interested in others. Loyal friends, people truly interested in each other, are always good companions. You are a better date as you practice good grooming habits more conscientiously. You do not have to dress extravagantly or dazzle your date with your appearance. But both boys and girls become more interesting to each other when they have mastered the basic rules of cleanliness, appropriateness, and general attractiveness of appearance.

You become more datable as you develop more and more interests outside yourself. The more things you can do and enjoy doing, the more you have to share with others. The more things that interest you, the greater your insurance against being bored or spending a dull evening. Dullness is within yourself, just as good times are. You make your dates what they are by your ability to enjoy a number of things with various kinds of people. As your interests grow, you too grow to the point where you like to do so many things that you can have a good time in countless ways and in all sorts of circumstances.

Source: Duvall, Evelyn Millis. Facts of Life and Love for Teen-Agers. New York: Association Press, 1956.

~ pp. 126-127 ~

1960: Dating

Dating usually begins gradually, in groups. For instance, at the Hallowe’en party the Rotary Club gives each year some of the boys discover it’s more fun dancing with girls in horrendous masks and comical get-ups than sneaking outside and making soap marks on windshields.

Once they discover they enjoy recreation with the opposite sex they create opportunities, as a group. For instance, several boys have often spent rainy afternoons playing ping-pong in the recreation room of one of their families. The young host’s sister has a couple of friends idling in the living room. Presently they start a mixed tournament. One of the girls plays the piano, and they all sing together. Other such projects develop naturally.

In due time one of the boys says to one of the girls, “There’s a dance Saturday night at the ‘Y.’ I don’t know if you’ll like it, but . . . ”

The two have a date.

This does not mean they are starting out in tandem, “going steady,” although that is possible. At first boys and girls may pair off only for dances; and John does not ask Mary to be his date for every dance thereafter but asks Alice to one and Jane to the next. Mary also plays the field. They may “double-date” for the movies or a Saturday hike to the top of South Mountain but join in larger groups for other kinds of recreation, as people of any age do all their lives. Whether they are two or twenty together, they are dating!

Source: Davis, Maxine. Sex and the Adolescent. New York: Permabooks, 1960.
~ p. 137 ~