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 ‘power’

A Mysterious Power

Sunday, July 18th, 2010

she flirts deliberatelyThis excerpt from Dorothy Fremont Grant’s So! You Want to Get Married! is truly a fine example of the ludicrous nature of these old books that I spend my time sharing with you. Don’t you just love it? And aren’t you glad all these years have passed?

1947: A Mysterious Power

Girls early come to the realization that they have a mysterious ‘power’ over boys. But their exercise of it is often miserably abused. Deliberately the girl drops her hankie or her compact for the mere ‘pleasure’ of having a boy stoop to pick it up ~ to wait on her. She flirts deliberately, not because she finds the object of the flirtation at all attractive, but merely for the exquisite ‘pleasure’ of bringing him to her feet so that, at her leisure, she can give him a swift kick. Not without reason are some boys, and some men, wary of girls and women. Deliberately the coarse girl will play one boy off against another merely for the ‘pleasure’ of receiving their competitive offerings for restoration to her favor. (And, by the bye, it is still good form for boys to confine offerings to flowers, candy, and books!)

As deliberately as such foolish girls act, I have put the word pleasure in quotation marks, because this sort of pleasure is illicit and immoral. It is essentially dishonest, cunning, and cruel. The little tots would call such a girl ‘a dirty cheat,’ and without exaggeration. This is the girl who deserves to be packed away on the shelf, forever.

It is true that by woman’s very nature she does have a ‘power’ over man, a moral power. The moral tone of society is set by woman, not by man, because she is the natural guardian of moral virtues; this is a portion of her high calling. Except by physical force no woman is involved in an immoral act against her will. Therefore the standard of conduct between boys and girls is the major responsibility of the girl. There is a real truth in the expression, ‘She led him on. . . .’

Source: Grant, Dorothy Fremont. So! You Want to Get Married!. Milwaukee, Wis.: Bruce Publishing Co.,1947.
~ pp. 22-23 ~