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!


Posts Tagged ‘crushes’

I Think My Crush is Using Me

Monday, July 19th, 2010

a kiss is a beautiful expressionQ Dear Miss Abigail:

I recently went to this party. My crush asked me to dance and we then sat alone together for a little while. Then he asked me if I wanted to go make-out. I said no because I wasn’t sure if he was using me or not. Was he?


A Dear Sarah:

Oh, what a thrill! Your crush asked you to make-out. How I would give anything for that simple pleasure in life. But I think you have valid concerns. You need to decide what you want to do. Maybe Pat Boone’s advice from his fabulous book ‘Twixt Twelve and Twenty: Pat talks to Teenagers will help. I think we all have a lot to learn from Mr. Boone, don’t you?

1958: Rules for a Beginner

Now, I believe that kissing is here to stay and I’m glad of it! I understand that the inhabitants of the Lapland Alps rub noses; the Andaman Islanders say “I love you” by blowing into one another’s hands with a cooing murmur; the Fuegians pat and slap in affection. But we kiss. Starting in the early teens. Not that it should, but it does. I know. I was there. Now that I’m the father of four little girls I could wish that there were less kissing and more scrabble and parchesi. Do you know why?

Not for the usual negative reasons, although I go along with those. We all know that indiscriminate kissing, dancing in the dark, hanging around in cars, late dates at this early stage can lead to trouble. And that you miss a lot of fun with the nicer play-by-the-rules crowd. There is absolutely no need to rush clumsily into things that will have such beautiful meaning later on.

But I recommend the moderate course for another very positive reason. Kissing is not a game. Believe me! It means a lot more than just a pleasant pastime, a forfeit, or a test of popularity. I can tell you for sure that if you get to thinking of it that way, you’re dead wrong. A kiss is a beautiful expression of love ~ real love. Not only that, it is a powerful stimulus of emotion. Kissing for fun is like playing with a beautiful candle in a roomful of dynamite! And it’s like any other beautiful thing ~ when it ceases to be rare, it loses its value and much of its beauty. I really think it’s better to amuse ourselves in some other way. For your own future enjoyment I say go bowling, or to a basketball game, or watch a good TV program (like the Pat Boone Chevy show!), at least for a while.

Take it easy. Keep to the middle course. No extremes.

Source: Boone, Pat. ‘Twixt Twelve and Twenty: Pat talks to Teenagers. Engelwood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1958.
~ pp. 60-61 ~

I ~Heart~ My P. E. Teacher!

Saturday, July 17th, 2010

Harry felt himself shiverQ Dear Miss Abigail:

I am in love with my P.E. teacher. What do I do? I mean I look into his eyes and he kind of looks into mine. To me he would stop traffic.


A Dear Lovey:

He can stop all the traffic he wants, but unfortunately he’s out of bounds for you, as this 1956 excerpt from Evelyn Millis Duvall’s Facts of Life and Love for Teen-agers explains. Never fear, Lovey dear, though you may be heartbroken and confused today, it will all work out in the end. I mean, you can always look into someone else’s eyes, right?

1956: Love Under a Cloud

One of the most difficult things that may happen while growing up is to find oneself in love with someone with whom one should not be. It is hard to understand and deal with in itself, and it is made more difficult by not being able to talk about it freely and easily. Other troubles tend to evaporate when we discuss them. Love out of bounds is love under a cloud. It often hurts inside us because it is not fully understood and it is hard to handle it comfortably. . . .

Crushes on Older Persons

Gertrude was ‘crazy’ about her history teacher. She lived for the hour that she spent in that one teacher’s class. She copied the way she did her hair. She spent all her allowance one Friday on red roses which she put on the teacher’s desk with a note that read,’With all my love, Gertrude.’ When it was time for school to close in June, Gertrude wept at having to be separated from her beloved teacher through the summer months. Her love for her history teacher was no less real because her folks scoffed at it as a schoolgirl crush.

Harry worshiped the coach. He hung on every word and carried out every little suggestion the coach made with zealous devotion. He slipped into the gym early in the morning to get out the equipment for the coach. One day when the coach threw his arm over Harry’s shoulder in a gesture of friendly companionship, Harry felt himself shiver all over. Was Harry ‘in love with’ the coach? Well, we do not call it that, do we? We feel that sometimes there is something not quite right in a boy’s being fond of an older man that way. And yet this is one stage of development that many boys like Harry go through.

It is as though young people getting into their early teens replace the close childhood love they have had for their parents with an even more intense feeling for some older person who for a while has the place of the parent, emotionally. This quite commonplace phase of growing up is something to become concerned about only when it persists for a long time and is not replaced by other types of affection. While it lasts it is a very precious kind of devotion, and not to be laughed at or ashamed of.

Source: Duvall, Evelyn Millis. Facts of Life and Love for Teen-Agers. New York: Association Press, 1956.
~ pp. 311-12, 313-14 ~

The Date for You

Thursday, July 15th, 2010

Another from the great Evelyn Millis Duvall, this excerpt may help you sort out those funny feelings you get when looking at People magazine.no real & available person

1967: The Date for You

It’s common knowledge that certain teen-age girls swoon over movie and TV stars. Through the years girls have formed strong emotional attachments to idols available only on TV and in their dreams. But few girls really expect to date such an idol. In fact, one of the functions of the celebrity is to serve as a focus for early infatuation without ever requiring the girl to do anything about it. It’s just as common for a fellow to daydream about a movie queen ~ and a good safe practice, because he will never be expected to court and win her.

Occasionally, however, a young person goes overboard in a crush on some unattainable person, so that he doesn’t make progress with those who are realistically available to him. It’s not just the movie or TV personality who’s unattainable. Many a young girl swoons over the football captain, the president of the senior class, or the most popular boy in the school, with whom she hasn’t the ghost of a chance. Indeed, she wouldn’t even know what to do on such a spectacular date if she had it. Similarily, an inexperienced boy will sometimes moon over a popular teacher, or the school queen ~ as unattainable for him as Miss Universe.

As long as these superromantic crushes prevail, the inexperienced boy or girl will probably make little progress in getting a date with anyone; for no real and available person can rival the “dream’s” charms and popularity.

Realistically, the beginning dater starts with someone who is not much more socially active that he is. The boy who has never dated courts rejection or failure by asking out the most popular girl in the class two years ahead of him. But he may make a good start with a friendly not-too-experienced girl a year or two younger than he is. A girl who wants to begin dating should look about for some pleasant, shy, interested fellow in her own grade (or a class or so beyond) rather than wistfully pine for an older, inaccessible man about town.

Source: Duvall, Evelyn Millis. The Art of Dating. New York: Association Press, 1967.
~ pp. 19-20 ~

Young Love. I’m Talking Really Young.

Monday, July 12th, 2010

we may test and discoverQ Dear Miss Abigail:

I am in fifth grade and I have had a crush on someone ever since third grade. I can’t tell him how I feel. I tried once but he didn’t say anything (probably because he didn’t hear me). This guy is the most popular guy in the whole class. HELP!!!


A Dear Confused:

This madness started in third grade? My dear confused child, relax. You are way too young to be having a crush on a boy for two years without telling him. I waited until I was at least sixteen before my first long-time crush. What follows is a passage from Berharr Macfadden’sWomanhood and Marriage. Perhaps an older friend or parent could read it over and then help sort out how you are really feeling. The excerpt is geared more toward actual boy-girl friendships, but I think it will provide enough food for thought.

And remember, there is plenty of time later for imaginative relationships. Heck, those hopeless crushes can drag all the way into your thirties! At least that’s what my friends are telling me.

1923: Expression of True Love

What is love? It combines the gentle attraction of liking and the steadfast calmness of affection, with frequent intensity of passion, and raises them all to the highest plane of dedication to another’s welfare and happiness.

Much that is called love is not worthy of that name. True love is essentially unselfish, and it is by this touchstone that we may test and discover whether or not that which is offered to us is genuine or spurious.

With this differentiation in mind, we would not call the attraction which children feel for each other, love; it is simply liking, or, if their friendship endures, it becomes affection.

The friendships of children are a valuable part of their life training and should be encouraged, but never should the suggestion be made to these youthful comrades that theirs is a relationship which bears in it any of the elements of sex. The children should be allowed to associate together in all of the self-unconciousness natural to their period of life. It is very advantageous for boys and girls to play together freely, and so lay the foundation for a thorough understanding of each other in their later development.

With the beginning of the adolescent period, there comes an increasing instensity in the emotions which may cause the developing boy and girl to think that they are in love with each other. It is not advisable to laugh at them for their early sentimentality, which is sometimes called ‘puppy love.’ Rather it would be advisable for older friends and guardians to accept the expression of extreme admiration in a very matter-of-fact way, admitting that the individual in question is most attractive, and that it is not strange that the two have formed a very agreeable friendship. By consistantly holding up the ideal of friendship before their eyes, one may be able to preserve for them a beautiful relationship, and may thus enable them to avoid some of the pitfalls of the adolescent period.

Source: Macfadden, Bernarr. Womanhood and Marriage. New York: Macfadden Book Company, Inc.,1923.
~ pp.81-82 ~