Somehow I wish I need not talk about this subject. There are so many things in the world more inspiring and interesting and constructive and I had hoped that each of my girls had thought it out for herself and had come to the right conclusion in her own mind.
However, it keeps coming up and so I decided we would have it out and then we would put it away and not speak of it again--ever.
By this time, you will wonder what I am talking about. It is the old, old question of familiarities between girls and boys--where shall a self-respecting, fun-loving, truly nice girl draw the line? Some question, is it not?
Perhaps if I had not most unexpectedly been shown a boy's viewpoint, I should not have answered your questions here but as he told me this of himself I felt that perhaps fate had planned that I should pass his message on. He told me exactly how he and other boys feel toward certain types of girls and he told it so straight, that I am sure you will feel his sincerity.
First I want to explain that this boy is a typical boy--not a prude in any sense of the word, possibly cleaner minded than scores of other boys, but very human. I know, that as every normal boy should, he likes girls and seeks their company whenever he can.
"Of course boys are attracted by girls who will let them be familiar," he said. "Maybe they seek them out rather more than the other kind but deep down in their hearts, they do not respect them and they do not choose them for wives--at least not often."
"And why not?" I asked.
He hesitated. It was hard for him to explain.
"I think," he said finally, "it is because they do not trust such girls. They feel that girls who are not true to the principles their mothers taught them and people like you have impressed upon them and that they can learn in so many ways even if they have not had the right influences at home, are not to be trusted in other things. That's the way I feel anyway. A boy may take that kind of girl out for a picnic or a ride but as for marrying her--well that is different.
And there is the secret of the whole thing. A young man wants his wife, the mother of his children, to be "different" from "that kind of a girl."
Do you want to be the kind of girl whom a boy tolerates only in picnics or rides or other good times? Or would you like to think he might some day ask you to share his life, too?
More than once girls have written this to me: "Boys do not ask me to go with them because I do not let them do the things other girls allow."
My girls must be little missionaries to such boys! Do not preach to them; do not tell them familiarities are wrong or assume a moralizing air. They will hate that! Simply set them an example so fine and high and desirable that they will want to imitate you. Let what you do tell them what you are--and what they should be.
The next time a boy wants to put his arm about you or kiss you good night, say something like this to him:
"I do not do such things because I feel there should be a basis of true love for such actions. I do not love you nor do you love me. We are just friends. I do not want to cheapen real love, for some day the right man, I hope, will come into my life and I do not wish to cheat him--or myself."
No truly fine girl will marry a boy who is careless in these ways.