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 ‘making the first move’

How Do I Get Him to Ask Me Out?

Wednesday, July 14th, 2010

I'm available. Advance.Q Dear Miss Abigail:

I like a man who acts very aloof and distant. However, I know he likes me as well. I’ve tried giving hints to show my feelings. He seems to respond with mutual flirting but nothing ever comes of it. What do you suggest I do to get him to ask me out?


A Dear Elizabeth:

You sound a bit older than the average teen, but I think this advice from Ellen Peck’s book How to Get a Teen-Age Boy and What to Do When You Get Him could work for all ages. Ms. Peck’s motto: girls should stop waiting to be asked out, and to take action themselves. So go out there and get him, Elizabeth! (Even if it involves some manipulation and mind games.)

1969: How to Date a Teen-Age Boy

You should make the first move with a boy. You should take the initiative in showing interest. You should arrange conversations. In, short, as we pointed out in Chapter 3, you should be a bit aggressive. But all this aggressiveness is still basically feminine. All you’re getting across to the boy is, ‘Here I am. I’m a girl. I like you. Why not ask me out?’ You are saying, in effect, ‘I’m available. Advance.’

But you must stop short of actually suggesting that the two of you go out together. When you do this, you are no longer being really feminine. You are crossing the line into male territory. It is still the prerogative of the male to ask for dates. Once you’ve taken over this prerogative, he will not assume it. You’ve, in effect, switched roles. The boy will ask out some other girl who hasn’t been quite so aggressive!

What if Irene is having a party and she says ‘Invite one of the guys.’ Do this. Get him to ask you out. There are three ways.

One. ‘Barb, do you think Greg would like to take me to Irene’s? Would you tell him ~ I’d like it if he suggested it?’ This will work if you choose the right girl to act as liaison, but it has to be a girl who knows Greg pretty well.

Two. Do you know one of the guys who has already been asked by a girl? Do you know himwell? Tell him you’d like to go with Greg and he’ll set it up. (In fact, you’ll end up double-dating.) P.S. It is a good idea to clear this with the other girl involved.

Three. Arrange it so that your date with Greg is just kind of ‘understood,’ but without your ever asking him. First, get word to him that you’d like to go with him. Affirmative response from Greg? Fine. Next step. When the crowd’s sitting around at lunch, Barb can look at the two of you and say ‘You two are going to Irene’s Saturday, aren’t you? (THEN BARB IMMEDIATELY ADDS SOME OTHER COMMENT!) . . . What are you going to wear?’

Or, ‘You two are going to Irene’s Saturday, aren’t you? What time are you going? Do you think we should go somewhere afterwards?’ Et cetera.

I’m sure you get the idea. Some see-sawing or even a bit of confusion may result. But it’s better than the formality of you-actually-asking Greg.

Source: Peck, Ellen. How to Get a Teen-Age Boy and What To Do With Him When You Get Him. New York: Bernard Geis Associates, 1969.
~ pp. 239-40 ~

Making the First Move

Wednesday, July 14th, 2010

He's got problems. You haven't.Q Dear Miss Abigail:

I really like this guy and I want him to ask me out. I think he like me because he flirts with me in our class. Is there anything I can do?


A Dear Jane:

Take charge, young lady. It’s time to once again follow Ellen Peck’s girl-positive advice from the fabulous How to Get a Teen-Age Boy and What To Do With Him When You Get Him. Apparently, if you don’t make it easy for them it’ll never happen. Those silly boys.

1969: Make That First Move Yourself!

It will . . . be easier to become more outgoing if you stop worrying about whether people (boys) are going to respond or not. Forget any possible consequences of rebuff ~ or gossip ~ and make that first move yourself!

You smile first. You wave first. You talk first. If you stand around like a statue waiting for him to make the first move, you could collect a lot of dust! You should be down off your pedestal making contacts and saying ‘Hi’s.’ And it’s up to you, not him. The worst advice ever is ‘Be ladylike. Don’t be forward. Wait for him to speak to you. He will when he’s ready.’

Ridiculous. We need to get rid of the ‘ladylike’ myth if it means standing around like a stone. Get rid of the idea that making the first move with a boy is unfeminine. It’s very feminine. It ought to be fairly obvious that women, as a sex, at all ages, all over this planet, have one similar job: to make things easy for men. Women type men’s letters, cook their meals, keep their houses, plan their parties, iron their shirts, and in general make their life pleasant. Why, then, leave the strain of starting a conversation to a guy? It just doesn’t make sense. Especially since you are more ready than he is to talk and know more about how to talk. . . .

You could be rebuffed. Sure, this does happen. Once in many, many times, though. Recently, I talked with about a dozen popular girls from a Baltimore high school. They recalled dozens of times that had taken the initiative in getting to know guys. Only two girls recalled ever having their efforts put down. Both times, they thought (and I agree) it was a case of the boys beingso insecure that they couldn’t believe what was happening and lacked confidence that they could handle it. So, they responded negatively. Their loss.

When and if this happens, of course, cover with this one-liner: ‘Oh, really?’

Deliver those two words with a chin-up, so-what smile and walk away. This little phrase is magic. It answers any comment ~ no matter what the comment was ~ and leaves the boy trying to figure out just what you meant and how he should interpret it. In other words: you walked away with the upper hand.

Keep in mind that it’s the guy who’s ill at ease with girls who may put you off, sometimes without meaning to. The ‘Oh, really?’ is especially perfect for him. It hasn’t completely closed the door (as a rude remark would have) and so, in case this guy grows up later, you might end up getting to know him yet.

Even if ~ and just for the heck of it, let’s imagine the very worst ghost in anybody’s closet ~ a guy says ‘Hey, get lost. Leave me alone.’ Deliver your ‘Oh, really?’ line and walk off to some friends and say, ‘Hey, what a grouch I just ran across!’

Which he is. He’s got problems. You haven’t.

Source: Peck, Ellen. How to Get a Teen-Age Boy and What To Do With Him When You Get Him. New York: Bernard Geis Associates, 1969.
~ pp. 66-67, 68-69 ~