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 ‘rejection’

Man & Woman & the Golf That Came Between Them

Sunday, August 1st, 2010

love fluctuates and ebbsQ Dear Miss Abigail:

I have been dating a girl who I love for two years, on June 5th, 1999. She was frustrated with our relationship, we have never fought, or argued, I feel as if she is my soul mate, we can talk for hours, but obviously I never talked about the steps of our relationship. I am a professional golfer trying to get on tour. I have always seem to put my goals first, but I always tried to make as much time as possible for her. I was teaching golf at a golf course, bartending part time, coaching a high school golf team, and I have joint custody of my son, who I love, I have never been married. She says I have too much on my plate, she loves me, but feels as if she is holding me back, I realize that I would rather be with her than playing golf on tour, I told her this (after the fact), but after she sat me down after a golf tournament, and told me she loved me but, she thinks that we should see other people, but she said she still wanted to date me as well. I have rented the basement of my parent’s house, for three years, saving money. She lives an hour away, she just bought her own home, and I bought her a dog and built her a deck onto her house, she did pay for most of the cost of the deck, but I always drove to see her, every other weekend, and Sundays, Mondays, or Wednesday. I noticed something was wrong when she, her girlfriend and I went to the beach for Memorial Day, and I had a tournament on Tuesday, I kept pushing her about leaving early on Monday so I could get home to drive four hours to my tournament on Tuesday. I felt as if something was realy wrong, and had a feeling I had been selfish. Then that weekend I was given the news. I wanted to marry the girl, but I guess its too late. I have talked to her maybe six times, we have emailed each other every week, and I have seen her twice, once for lunch to return somthing, the other was to take her out for her birthday four weeks ago, we had a great time, she called me four times in two days there after, but she failed to call me on my birthday, until 5 days later, last week and apologized, she said she had every intention but, with her new job, her cousin coming into town, and her car breaking down, then she emailed me this past Sunday, apologizing again, and asked general questions, said she was swamped, it was short, and she didn’t put title or salutation, it was just a short paragraph. My parents move out of state next week and I had to find a new apartment, I want to move closer to her, but I don’t think that will solve anything? I feel as if I am being strung along, am I? Should I continue to pursue? Should I give her her space and to get her stuff organized? Is she seeing someone else? I need to get my stuff organized. She has supported me tremendously, and I was four months late with a gift last year for her b-day, and for our two-year anniversary, I couldn’t pay for dinner, because of some kind of credit card error, but I did reimburse her, the next day? I used all my money for golf tournaments and had very little left? I think she was worried that I was going to fall back on her, and I was financially unstable, I’m thirty-one, I lived at home three years only to pursue my career, but I wanted to spend more time with her than practice. She is also thirty-one, I don’t think she wants to hurt me, but I think slow pain is worse than quick. Should I give her space and time to get over the bitterness she feels? Her friends, my friends and her co-workers believe that we were meant to be, but I should leave it alone! A friend from work, of hers, called me out of the blue, he was given all her projects, because she was leaving and starting a new job. He talked to her and he believes that she really loves me, but doesn’t want to be the reason I stop playing golf, I love to teach golf, and coach, but celebrity is not always what its cracked up to be. Her co-worker wanted me to come up and have a beer sometime, he’s new to the area, and does not know many people. She keeps telling me that it takes time for re-direction, and she can’t help feeling the way she does. She says she doesn’t feel all warm and fuzzy right now. She hasn’t emailed me back since Sunday. I probably should leave things alone, and if she wants me she will make the effort. I have written to her and told her how I feel, I kind of understand how she feels, I thought we communicated well but I guess not, maybe someone else is showing her interest, who is more stable? Maybe she is so sweet that she is trying to get out slowly? She the type of girl who likes to keep on moving, and I became coposetic in the relationship, I don’t always say the right things until its too late… Sorry this is not a short question. I felt I needed to give some background. What should I be doing, and is it over? I don’t have a problem dating, I just wake up ever morning and she is on my mind, I have never had this happen with anyone else before. She and I would talk everyday, on the phone. Is there always a second chance or did I miss the boat? When a woman shuts that door, can it ever be reopened? And once there is a break in a relationship, does it ever become better, if you get back together? Brutal truth?



I was going to make this week a lesson in the art of brevity in writing questions to advice columnists, but didn’t have enough room left on the page to adequately cover the topic. Instead, here’s a short thought from Dr. Albert Ellis’s Sex and the Single Man on the ever-changing path that love leads us down. I’m not sure if it answers your questions (what were they again?) but it can’t hurt. And that’s the brutal truth.

1963: Love’s Tendency to Change

Intense heterosexual love ~ whether we like to admit it or not ~ in the vast majority of instances is subject to inevitable change; and most of the time its intensity eventually fades or dies. That passionate love fluctuates and ebbs, and that it usually does so within a few years of its inception, is as incontrovertible as the fact that it actually exists, and that it brings immense satisfaction to numerous persons. Yet, sadly enough, the mores of our society demand that the fiction of love’s immortality be universally fostered, and that most of use be led to believe that, when love is ‘truly’ experienced, it never changes, lasts for the lifetime of the lovers, and it is even ‘immortal.’

Source: Ellis, Albert. Sex and the Single Man. New York: Lyle Stuart, 1963.
~ p. 84 ~

How To Say No If You Must

Thursday, July 29th, 2010

Stop it ~ I'm serious. I'll scream.Let’s take a look at the fine art of saying “no,” because I am aware of quite a few people who have a difficult time with this issue. I think this advice from Nina Farewell’s The Unfair Sex might help us out. Um, I mean ~ help you out.

1953: How To Say No If You Must

Sometimes despite a carefully selected locale and well-executed evasions, you somehow find yourself encircled, and your only out is a direct verbal rejection.

A light touch is the prime requisite. It is ridiculous to get annoyed with men for trying. If you object to their vulgar advances, you had best stop associating with them. Maintain a sense of balance. Realize Man is your adversary, and that you must fight him, but realize it with a catch in your breath and a little thrill of anticipation, not with anger or resentment.

A man will be much less hurt if he is teased or gently discouraged from carrying out his dishonorable intentions, than he will if you sulk, struggle, or lose your temper. . . .

Sprinkle the combat with small favors and soft words. This will lessen the bitterness of the struggle and charm your foe into liking you regardless of who the victor may be. Above all, never let him become depressed. Do not let him see you distrust him. Keep smiling. Smile with your eyes, or dimple at him if you have dimples, or chuckle or giggle ~ and once in a while you may laugh outright ~ especially if you have pretty teeth, or if someone is tickling you ~ which someone may very well be doing. But be extremely careful that your gaiety is the right sort. He must never suspect you are laughing at him, even when he is making a fool of himself.

Your objections should seem carefree and artless, an effect one must be very artful to achieve. Here is a little experiment which you might make in front of a mirror:

First, say the following words with a scowling face and an angry voice:

Stop it ~ I’m serious.
I’ll scream.
If you don’t stop I’m going home.
Oh! Now I’m angry.

Didn’t you seem mean and stubborn? These are not qualities that will endear you to a man.Now ~ say the same words, but say them with a charming smile, and in a gently chiding tone. Or seriously, but interspersed with little giggles. Or with reproving but loving looks, as if you were speaking to a naughty puppy.

There ~ you have said the very same words ~ but how delightful you looked and sounded!

If may be argued that this is dangerous, as it makes you doubly desirable, and the man will want you neither more nor less. But the How and Why he wants you will be different. He will be determined to have the mean and stubborn girl out of spite. But the smiling, charming girl he will insist on having because she is so adorable. For Which Reason Would You Rather Be Had?

Any tyro can bluntly reject a man and thereby lose him. It take study and practice to acquire the agility to send him away happy though rejected. An accomplished girl can do this. She can hold him off, yet bring him back for another try. And bringing him back is essential. For unless a man is a complete boor (and sometimes, alas, even if he is) you will want to hold on to him for purposes of entertainment or advancement, or as a marital prospect. When you can, without offending, deny him the pleasures he so understandably desires, you will know you have mastered the delicate technique of passive resistance.

Source: Farewell, Nina. The Unfair Sex : An Expose of the Human Male for Young Women of Most Ages. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1953.
~ pp. 127-30 ~

Don’t Go Breaking My Heart

Saturday, July 17th, 2010

he wasn’t the right boy for herQ Dear Miss Abigail:

How do you accept the pain and heartbreak of unrequited love?


A Dear Sad:

It will be hard at first but I’m certain you will get over the loss. Stay strong and lift your head high! This, from Debbie Reynolds’s If I Knew Then (1962), is a good reminder of what’s to come, or shall I say, what should come.

1962: Disappointment in Love

Disappointment in love is one of the hardest things for girls to get over. We women were meant to be romantic creatures, I guess, and we take matters of the heart more seriously than men do most of the time (but not all of the time, thank goodness). Many girls moon away because the boys they wanted didn’t ask them to go steady …

Unbelievable as it seems at the time, you outgrow disappointments in love. When you’re young and a boy says he loves you and wants to marry you so you can always be together, it doesn’t always turn out that way. At a young age it’s often as easy to fall out of love as in. It’s better that it happens then, and not after marriage.

If a girl loses a boy, she shouldn’t go off alone with her burden of sadness. Obviously he wasn’t the right boy for her or he never would have left her. So why feed his ego by letting him know you’re pining away? …

You’ll find another man, and he’ll be even better for you, because he’ll recognize the values that the other fellow overlooked. But you can’t just wait for the new boy to find you. You’ve got to keep busy – meet people, do things, work on projects. An active girl is an attractive girl.

Source: Reynolds, Debbie. If I Knew Then. New York: Bernard Geis Associates, 1962.
~ pp. 69-70 ~

Why Didn’t I Hear from Him Again?

Saturday, July 17th, 2010

even the furniture looks depressed

We turn, once again, to one of my favorite books: Nina Farewell’s The Unfair Sex. This book is packed full of advice about both the good and bad of men and relationships. After reading so many disgustingly positive accounts of dating, isn’t it refreshing to see some reality?

1953: Why Didn’t I Hear from Him Again?

This plaintive cry has echoed in the heart of every woman at some time or other in her life. Even the most glamorous, the most sought after, are faced with the enigma of the man who seems captivated, and yet never calls again.

There are two important types from whom one does not hear again. Type I takes you and then drops you. Type II takes your phone number and never uses it.

Why? Why do such awful things happen? And what can be done to prevent them? Let us first examine the causes, which are the same in either case.

Ask yourself if you committed any of the following errors:

Did you talk too much?
Did you talk about marriage?
Did you make him spend too much?
Did you make him feel inferior?
Did you boast?
Did you laugh too loud or chew too hard?
Did you accept him too eagerly?
Did you refuse him too definitely?

On the other hand, your failure may have nothing to do with you at all ~ not with your appearance, your personality, your behavior, nor with the fact that you did or did not give yourself.

Often you have done nothing wrong, but are merely the victim of circumstances beyond your control. . . .

In Defence Against Type One

Type One is the man who seduces you, then drops you. You get that dreadful left-over feeling the minute he says good-bye. You search about for some sign of hope, but even the furniture looks depressed. The telephone has a strangely dead look, as if it will never ring again ~ and there you stand, with the vague and sheepish feeling that you have been had. And indeed you have.

There is one infallible way to avoid this bleakest of tragedies ~ Never Give Yourself.

If for any reason you are unable to follow this rule, there is another, but less dependable one ~ Never Give Yourself in Haste. Allow a reasonable amount of time to elapse between the moment of meeting and the moment of surrender. Impose on yourself an Enforced Waiting Period, and no matter how much you feel tempted, do not let yourself give in before the time is up.* This will do you good in more ways than one. A man who is sincere about wanting you is usually willing to put a little time and energy into the pursuit. The others, the undesirables, you can shake off easily, like shaking rotton apples off a bough.

For, generally speaking, the man whose intentions are of the worst has little patience. The philanderer who has a sweetheart ~ the important man looking for recreation ~ the traveller in town for a limited stay ~ the Fly-by-Nighter ~ each one seeks a momentary diversion and is unwilling to expend much effort. Dilly-dallying on your part will result in his dropping you before instead of immediately after he has had you. Which is like taking a small bitter pill to ward off a dread affliction. . . .

If, during the Enforced Waiting Period, you find yourself slipping, strength can be found in repeated recitation of the sixteen Joys of Man, and in serious meditation on the Joys and Rewards of Refusing. Having successfully weathered this difficult period, you may proceed with the feeling that you have taken all reasonable precautions. But men being such unpredictable creatures, the outcome of course is in the lap of the gods.

* I trust that you will remember the lessons on how to resist a man, and that your refusals will always hold the sweet hint of a future acceptance.

In Defence Against Type Two

While harmless compared to Type One, Type Two is every bit as exasperating, and much more difficult to recognize.

Whatever the circumstances of your meeting may be, this man singles you out for attention. He flatters you, confides in you, indicates in every way that he is smitten. If possible, he escorts you home. He seems reluctant to leave and pretends he is eager to see you again. But ~ he does not make a date. He does not say, “Are you free tomorrow night? ~ or the night after? ~ or any night?” Instead, he takes out a little crumbled scrap of paper and says, “What’s your phone number? I’ll give you a ring.” And you never hear from him again.

Frankly, there is little you can do to protect yourself against this type of disappointment. However, there is one device which I have employed with a fair degree of success: When he askes for your phone number, do not give it to him.

Instead, quickly say: “Let me have your phone number, and I’ll call you are soon as I’m free.” Or, “I never get my messages. Better let me phone you.”

This unexpected turning of the tables will certainly surprise him, and may even confuse him, which is always desirable.

Source: Farewell, Nina. The Unfair Sex : An Expose of the Human Male for Young Women of Most Ages. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1953.
~ pp. 145-46, 150-52 ~

Where Are We Going?

Saturday, July 17th, 2010

your dreams are hooked

Q Dear Miss Abigail:

Recently, my guy and I have done some serious messing around. Last night it got pretty intense, but he still hasn’t asked me out. I don’t get it. What can I do to understand where we are going?


A Dear Confused:

Ah, a familiar tale. I’m afraid the news is not good. I bring you advice from Nina Farewell, goddess of all things pessimistic, from her book The Unfair Sex. Read it and weep, my dear. Literally.

1953: Failure

Not Every Girl Who Gives Herself Is So Fortunate As to Have The Donation Result in an Affair. And it is precisely this fact which produces the most profound despair.

To the beginner, contemplating her maiden voyage, I particularly address the following, though it applies as well to the girl who is making her third, fifth or seventeenth trip.

It is likely that if you have decided to bestow your favors on a man, you have selected someone you like or love. In other words, your emotions are involved, and if they are not at the outset, they will be before the finish ~ of this you can be sure. Women are unable to divorce tender emotions from sex. A man, no matter how well he may conceal his attitude, takes the matter lightly without embarrassing his heart. He attaches no more consideration to it than to eating his dinner, pleased if it is well cooked, disappointed if it is not. You are embarking on what you consider an extraordinary undertaking ~ accompanied by a partner who thinks it is a trivial incident. I also assume that you do not enter into this intimate relationship with the thought that it is to be of a fleeting nature. Rather do you look upon it as the beginning of a wonderful association; you expect that you will mean very much more to him now; that you will have a strong hold on him; and that the future promises all the romantic pleasures an innocent girl imagines she has the right to expect from an affair. In other words, your dreams are hooked into this man.

But alas! It is a man’s way with a maid to give no more thought to the future than a grasshopper. He is perfectly capable of dropping you immediately after he has had his way with you. And this he does, with a frequency that is disheartening. Could anything make you feel more dejected, more devastated, more exasperated?

It is possible the man may invite you to give yourself a second or third time and then drop you. Personally, I have found it less heartbreaking to be dropped after the one tryst, for while that carries the shock of a decapitation, there is some mercy in a quick and sudden ending. Far more anguish is entailed in a finis that comes after several installments, because the expectations of the female grow during even a short period of time, and the wound therefore goes deeper. But in either event it is a setback which shakes the girl’s ego to its very foundations, sometimes leaving a scar that even marriage, or two or three marriages, cannot heal.

Source: Farewell, Nina. The Unfair Sex : An Expose of the Human Male for Young Women of Most Ages. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1953.
~ pp. 136-38 ~

Everyone’s Afraid of Being Turned Down

Wednesday, July 14th, 2010

a fellow wants a straighforward yes or noQ Dear Miss Abigail:

There is this girl that I know ~ she is very popular, but I am not. We are really good friends and I like her very much. I am afraid of being turned down and I need some advice on how to ask her out. How do I do it?


A Dear Chris:

You might be comforted to know that I have received quite a few messages recently from other young men having similar difficulties. Although I have covered this topic before, I feel it is important enough to bring you another excerpt to help all you lovelorn boys out there. So Chris (and Matt, and Desmond, and everyone else), read on and learn.

1956: Asking ~ And the Answer

Dates, of course, require “asking” and an “accepting.” It sounds simple, but sometimes it may be rather difficult and awkward. A few easily remembered guides will make the asking more pleasant and natural.

Asking for a date is simpler if the boy realizes he is just giving an invitation, and all invitations should be cordial and definite. So a boy should smile and act in a friendly manner when he asks for a date. He should also be exact and to the point. The girl will like it when her would-be date says, “The Christian film, ‘A Greater Challenge’ is to be shown at the Richmond Avenue Church Friday night. Would you like to go?” Such an invitation tells the girl “When” and “Where.” It helps her to decide whether she can accept the date.

Boys should avoid the question approach, such as “What are you doing Saturday afternoon?” Maybe the girl isn’t doing anything, but she hesitates to say so until she knows what the boy has in mind.

The boy should also be careful to let the girl know where they are to go on the date. It’s no fun for either if he arrives in sports clothes with a weiner bake in mind, and finds his date dressed in her Sunday best.

If the girl accepts the date the boy should let her know that he is pleased. Some response like, “Good, I’m glad you can go,” is fine.

If the girl refuses the date, it’s still the boy’s responsibility to be pleasant. Maybe she really wants to go with him, but for some reason she can’t explain why it’s impossible. The boy can keep the feeling of friendliness between himself and the girl if he tells her, “I’m sorry, but I’ll look forward to seeing you some other time.”

Accepting or refusing a date should be done with directness. Some girls have been told that “playing hard to get” is a sure way to make boys like them. So a girl who believes such advice, hesitates and acts reluctant to give the boy a prompt answer to his invitation. Most fellows much prefer a straightforward “yes” or “no.” Boy and girl relationships grow more smoothly if things are on an honest, easily understood basis.

A girl should remember that when a boy asks her for a date it is a compliment as well as an invitation. The compliment should be appreciated and the invitation requires a clear cut answer. Sometimes the girl knows at the time she’s asked that she wants to accept the invitation. Then a “Thank you, I’d like very much to go!” is in order.

But many times the girl needs to check with her parents, or find out if she is involved in some other activity. Most any boy is willing to wait a day for an answer if the girl is honest with him.

Sometimes the girl can’t accept the invitation, or for some other reason doesn’t want to say “yes.” And of course, it is her privilege to refuse the date. However, it is her responsibility to refuse with a “Thank you” and a smile. After all, his next invitation may be the one she’ll want to accept.

These dating manners are important, for they are quickly mastered ways in which one can rate highly with friends.

Source: Narramore, Clyde M. Life and Love: A Christian View of Sex. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan Publishing House, 1956.
~ pp. 33-35 ~

A Gentle “No,” “No,” and “No”

Tuesday, July 13th, 2010

refuse his attentions courteouslyQ Dear Miss Abigail:

I have this best friend in school and he is like a best mate to me, but he asked me out and I don’t feel the same way about him. I felt guilty refusing him, and every time we see each other we tried to avoid each other. I just wanted to go back as we use to be. After about three months of this we finally started talking but then he asked me out again. I don’t know how I can gently say no without starting this silent treatment all over again. Can you help me?

Yours faithfully,
G. I.

A Dear G.I.:

Some boys just don’t get the hint, do they? Sometimes a plain and simple “no” said over and over again is all you can do. Here are some thoughts on the topic from Evelyn Millis Duvall’sFacts of Life and Love for Teen-Agers. We can only hope he’ll eventually see the light.

1956: When You Don’t Want to Date

It is discourteous for a boy to ask why when a girl tells him that she cannot do something that he asks. When a boy pushes for explanation of a girl’s refusal, she is justified in kidding him about his persistence, or in simply changing the subject.

If a girl does not ever want to date a particular boy, she does him a kindness when she gives him no encouragement whatsoever. To lead a boy on, when she never intends to go out with him, does him an injustice and unnecessarily prolongs the refusals. There are many reasons that a girl may refuse to consider dating a particular boy. He may drink, or run around with a fast set, or have a bad reputation, or be the kind of person whom for other reasons she does not feel she can associate with. If he is not datable from her point of view, she will be wise to refuse his attentions courteously but with firmness and finality.

Source: Duvall, Evelyn Millis. Facts of Life and Love for Teen-Agers. New York: Association Press, 1956.
~ p. 307 ~

Is There Any Hope At All?

Monday, July 12th, 2010

is the world really horrible and mean?Q Dear Miss Abigail:

What do you do if you asked a girl out, in a romantic fashion and in a foreign land, and she indirectly says no, but you still like this person and you have not been able to get her out of your mind for the past 8 months?


A Dear Sameer:

Without more information (how indirect was she, exactly?) it is hard to tell whether or not there is hope for you. It may be the pessimist in me, but I have a feeling that the situation will not work out in your favor, even if you do approach this girl again with your true feelings. It might be best just to move on. Here is a bit of advice to help you through these rough times.

1963: Surviving Disappointment in Love

Love, even when solidly won, can never be guaranteed. Your beloved may dote on you madly for a while ~ and then for one reason or another find you a bore. Or unkind fate ~ such as a move to a distant part of the country ~ may separate you from the woman you love. Or your inamorata may die, and be irrevocably taken from you.

For a number of reasons, then, you may fail to win a woman’s love in the first place, or you may gain her affection and have it rudely torn away from you in the second place. In such an event, you will naturally tend to sorrow over your loss; and unless you do something to minimize or mitigate this sorrow, it may turn to depression, despair, or even suicidal tendencies.

Can anything effective be done about your falling out of love with a woman or your conquering sorrow over loss of a beloved person? Yes, if you want to work hard at thinking and acting in this respect, something very definitely can be done to lessen amative involvements and alleviate love’s sorrows . . . .

If, therefore, you want to avoid depression and self-pity as a consequence of losing your beloved, you must look at the additional, gratuitous sentences that you are telling yourself afteryour appropriate sorrow-creating sentences. And you must vigorously, consistantly questionand challenge these unnecessary sentences, in theory and action, until they become significantly modified or disappear.

More concretely, you must ask yourself: “Why am I a worthless fool just because I have made human mistakes and have lost out with Mary?” . . . “Why is it impossible for me to ever hope to win and keep a worthwhile girl again?” . . . “Is the world really horrible and mean, just because I have lost Mary?” . . . “Will people like Jack and Eddie, who were partly instrumental in my losing Mary, actually be able to keep frustrating me in this way? And are they really bastards, just because they interfered with my relationship with Mary?”

While challenging your own catastrophizing, depression- and anger-creating philosophies in this way, you must also combat them in action. That is to say, you must force yourself to look for another girl like Mary; go out into the world and show yourself that there are other joys in life aside from sex and love; deliberately see people like Jack and Eddie, and show yourself that they are not blackguards, but do have good points in spite of their helping you lose Mary. If, verbally and actively, you fight your own despair-creating views, you will soon come to see and to feelhow ridiculous they are, and will acquire a saner philosophy of life that will still leave you with normal sorrow and regret over the loss of Mary, but will prevent you from becoming intensely and prolongedly upset about this loss.

You can, then, observe your negative emotions; reassess and reevaluate the philosophic assumptions that lie behind and cause them; and change them so that you still remain an emoting, feeling human being, but one who experiences little or no deep despair or self-hatred, while still experiencing suitable levels of sadness, sorrow, and frustration. All this, naturally, is difficult for you to do, when you have been born and raised as you have been. But, as I keep telling my psychotherapy patients and marriage counseling clients, it is much more difficult for you not to do this.

Source: Ellis, Albert. Sex and the Single Man. New York: Lyle Stuart, 1963.
~ pp. 92, 94-95 ~

Tips for the Turned Down

Monday, July 12th, 2010

as much fun as the next fellowQ Dear Miss Abigail:

How come everybody turns me down when I ask them out?


A Dear Colin:

You don’t say what you’re approach has been so far, so it’s a bit tricky to pinpoint the problem. For inspiration, I looked through an interesting book “for boys in their teens” titled Birthday Chats with Tomorrow’s Man, written by Louis Le Claire Jones in1940. Here’s some advice that should help when asking the young ladies out.

1940: Let’s Take a Slant at the Girls

I suppose that some of your substantial friendships are with girls ~ friendships that prompt you to comb your hair, press your pants, and create in you the desire to make yourself worthy of their respect. Girls have no particular use for ‘sissies’ and they are quick to scent the sham of the pretender. Their natural intuition guides them in their admiration or dislike for others, to such an extent that any boy should feel honored if he has gained the respect and friendship of a nice girl.

There are many ways, son, to gain and hold their friendship. Let’s dismiss the idea that girls admire only the ‘looks’ of a boy. ‘Handsome is as handsome does,’ you know, and ten to one it’s what the boy does that makes the impression. If you expect people to like you, above all be genuine, be yourself, and don’t pose in imitation of others.

Remember, son, a gentleman can have as much fun as the next fellow. He can be a rowdy or a clown ~ all in the proper time and place ~ and still be one; it all depends on knowing when andhow to draw the line in personal behavior.

If you expect girls to see your own good qualities don’t have your amusement at the expense or embarrassment of others; because sometimes for the sake of getting a laugh, you may antagonize or hurt one who will always remember it against you. Just soft pedal on your criticism of others and don’t belittle their efforts in a girl’s presence as your own faults may loom larger than ever in the very act of discrediting others.

Source: Jones, Louis LeClaire. Birthday Chats with Tomorrow’s Man. Chicago: Charles E. Tench Printing Co., 1940.
~ pp. 81-82 ~