Introduction: If you wish to geek feel free to read this.
Hi. If you are “twixt twelve and twenty” and a would-be dater, this book is for you. In it, I am going to deal honestly, and sometimes quite frankly, with the joys and pitfalls of teen-age dating in the hope that it may prevent your first corsage from shriveling up into a bouquet of nettles.
A dating manual for this day and age? one of your “sophisticated” chums may scoff. Why, all that jazz about moral decency and lofty ideals is a lot of bunk and hooey! Is it? Well, take a good look, fellows and girls, at the dangers that surround you in today's “anything goes” world. Everywhere a teen turns, he is assaulted by an avalanche of filth that lurks in many forms-pornographic movies, obscene novels, indecent plays, lurid magazines, prurient snapshots, seductive television commercials, suggestive song lyrics, immodest dances, salacious paintings, lewd advertisements, coarse poems, smutty radio shows, depraved newspapers, indelicate lithographs, perverse sculptures, shady stories, gross cookbooks, tawdry cocktail napkins, ribald postcards, libertine bumper stickers, provocative buttons, meretricious gestures, licentious operas, pandering food labels, and shameless zoos.
It's enough to make me sick to my stomach. Actually, after a drive through L.A., I often get sick to my stomach and have to spend a whole afternoon in the little girls' room. As a matter of fact, I think I'm already a little woozy, and I haven't even gotten to the first chapter yet.
Where does this nauseating tidal wave of smut and garbage come from? Well, you won't find out from the “Sex O'Clock News,” but it is no secret that certain foreign powers would like nothing better than to see our country paralyzed and prostrated by a degenerate Supreme Court that sanctions petting sprees and free love as "freedom of choice" and “harmless kicks.” While America rots from within, all the Russkies would have to do is rumble through Washington in tanks with those long, nasty things on top and pick up the pieces. Her youth “brainwashed” by so-called “liberated” codes of behavior, a mighty nation would be vanquished, laid low by deep kissing and petting parties.
But young people all love dates, and there is no finer preparation for marriage than a wholesome, well-rounded social life. I have received thousands of letters from concerned teens all over the country, begging. for advice on this important (and fun!) part of adulthood, and I hope this book will serve as a useful and informative answer.
So You're Growing Up?
Dating is like dynamite. Used wisely, it can move mountains and change the course of mighty rivers. Used foolishly, it can blow your legs off. Scientists have calculated, for example, that if a man could harness even a fraction of the kinetic energy wasted in a single session of Post Office or Spin the Bottle, he could light up the entire city of Wilmington, Delaware, and have enough left over to discover and mass produce a cheap, effective cure for cancer of the larynx. Thus, it is so important to understand and harness the explosive power of the forces developing in your body.
Have you noticed that your body is playing little tricks on you lately? If you are a boy, you may have noticed your legs, face, arms, and chest are becoming covered with thick, black pubic hairs and your voice may be beginning to sound like a phonograph needle ruining your favorite stack of platters. If you are a girl, you may have noticed a painful swelling up here and some more funny business going on down there.
These dramatic changes can mean only one thing: cholera. If you are not among the lucky ones, then it simply means you are becoming a young man or a young woman, depending on how much fluoride they dumped in your parents' drinking water. I know that such changes can often be difficult for growing teens, but try to weather the storm and “grin and bear it.” There is always impotence and menopause.
During these trying teen-age years, a girl begins to “menstruate” (men-stroo-ate), and a boy begins to have “erections” (ee-wreck shuns), normally only when called to the blackboard by his teacher. There is absolutely nothing abnormal about this, and, aside from voluntary sterilization, no known cure.
Not only is the miracle of growing up taking place inside your body, but it may be going on outside it as well: There are many names for this remarkable stage of development— “acne,?” “pimples,”' “blackheads,” “whiteheads,” “redcaps,” “boils,” “blemishes,” “cankers,” “zits,” “pustules,” “efflorescence,” “breaking out,” “pockmarks,” “carbuncles,” “suppurations,” “polyps,” “goobies,” and “St. Anthony's Fire,” to mention just a few. Perhaps one of your clever friends will notice this badge of young adulthood and jokingly dub you with an appropriate descriptive nickname, like “Crater Face,” “Swiss Cheese,” or “Vomithead.” But perk up! Such bothersome side effects are all in Mother Nature's master plan, and they may very possibly disappear in time, leaving a healthy, glowing complexion on those portions of your face and neck not permanently disfigured by layers of horny scar tissue. You can treat your “boo-boos” right away, however, with frequent applications of hot, soapy water, mild astringent, or, in unusually severe cases, a woodburning kit.
Calling All Girls
It is time to clear up one myth about menstruation or “the curse” as many, including myself, prefer to call it. Many girls worry because their “periods” don't come as regular as clockwork, on the first or fifteenth of the month with the rest of the bills. This is nothing more than a silly wives' tale. The “cramps” you may feel, often no more noticeable than a rhythmic sledgehammer blow to the abdomen, only mean that the two little almond-flavored organs deep in your tummy are finally getting around to preparing a little home in case a baby wants to move in. This continuing cycle varies widely in different girls and may range anywhere from fifty-three to three days, depending on whether the little almonds want their owner to bloat up like a dirigible or simply bleed to death. This interesting process, often called “nature's egg-timer,” was originally based on the lunar month of twenty-eight days. But with so many changes in our modern calendar to make way for silly things like Labor Day and Martin Luther King's birthday, the cycle is often keyed to other natural rhythms, like sunspots, quirky reversals of the earth's magnetic poles, or fluctuations in the stock market. (During these special days, it is wise to avoid anything that might interfere with this delicate phenomenon, such as swimming, ham radio transmitters, and remote-controlled streetlights.) My own cycle is based on the appearance of Haley's Comet, so although I am under the weather only infrequently, I am stocking up on you-know-whats now, because when my next one comes in 1985, it's bound to be a whopper!
One more word about your period. When it finally comes, you may find it a good idea to use a “sanitary napkin” to help staunch the massive loss of precious, irreplaceable fluids from your vitals. If so, beware of fast-talking sales pitches claiming the Tampax-type tampon is preferable to the Kotex-type external napkin. The former may be somewhat more convenient, but it can lead both to unwanted feelings and risking your stock in the marriage market. As for the slight icky odor that occasionally results from the safer, saner napkin, a schpritz of feminine deodorant, Glade, or liquid benzene should make your strolls upwind of kennels and dog shows free from any possible danger of embarrassment.
Fellows Take Note
As for you boys, don't feel left out. If you glance down between your legs, where your vagina should be, you will see an odd-looking pink sac containing two little ugly things. Go ahead, take a look right now, but keep your hands on the book (more about that later). Quite a surprise, wasn't it? Well, the funny pink sac is called your “scrotum” (skro-tum), and the two little ugly things are called “testes” (teh-stees) and are why you can never know the ultimate, inexpressible joy of motherhood.
Believe it or not, your scrotum will respond to sudden changes in temperature, quickly raising or lowering your testes to maintain them at a constant heat level, something seen nowhere else in nature except by those few who have mastered the proper techniques of marshmallow-toasting. If you don't believe me, try rubbing an ice cube against your scrotum and see what happens. Now, quickly try a lighted match. Now another ice cube. Another match. Faster. Cube. Match. Cube. Ma—aha! Didn't your mother ever tell you not to play with matches? All joking aside, this is simply another example of the wonders you can find in and around your own body, stuff that has often led to many important scientific discoveries. For example, when my husband, Ronald, was in the Boy Scouts, he used this same natural principle for a homemade thermometer and won a merit badge in meteorology.
The Nightmare of Wet Dreams
Nocturnal emissions, or “wet dreams” as they are often called, were once dreaded and traumatic experiences for young boys of the Victorian era. But today there can be little doubt that these perfectly normal, disgusting catastrophes are merely your body's way of “priming the pump” for the coming responsibilities of manhood and marriage, and a signal to your mother or laundry that you are ready for dating.
Should you have a nocturnal emission, do not worry. A few easy preparations for this can be made in advance. Each night, before your mom tucks you in, make sure she supplies you with two bath towels, an automobile sponge, a mop, a pail of hospital-strength disinfectant, a five-gallon can of industrial cleanser, a hammer, a chisel, and a two-handed paint scraper.
Playing with Yourself Is Playing with Fire!
Clint and Babs were returning from their church youth meeting. At her door, Babs turned and shook Clint's hand good-night. It had been a lovely date, and, thinking over the evening as he undressed back home, Clint noticed a strange feeling suddenly coming over him. In bed, Clint was still restless, puzzled by this new, overpowering sensation. Suddenly, as Clint thought of Babs's unusually warm farewell, memories of an impure picture he had once found hidden in a Gideon Bible popped up unexpectedly. As did something else. Drowsily allowing his right hand to stray under the covers, Clint sleepily took the situation in hand and, before he realized what he had done, committed an act of self-pollution. The next morning, while driving to school to be sworn in as Student Council President, Clint was struck and killed by a speeding bus.
Such stories are common in the daily papers. Every day thousands of young men and women pay tragically for a single, thoughtless surrender to temptation. But even more victims of the “solitary sin” go unrecognized, their fates mistakenly diagnosed as “poor study habits,” “tennis elbow,” or a “slight case of the sniffles.” The list is endless. But the untold misery brought by willful masturbation cannot be reckoned by mere statistics. One has only to look at our prisons, mental hospitals, and riot-torn campuses for the real cost.
Chilling, isn't it?
I'm no chump, you are probably saying as you read this, but how can I, as an up-to-date teen, learn to guard against this treacherous and degrading habit? First, a sound diet including eight glasses of pure water a day. Second, good health habits, such as brushing your teeth and having a thorough bowel movement after each meal. Third, avoid sweets and between-meal snacks. Regular exercise will also help sap excess energy in a helpful, constructive manner. Some popular sports you may enjoy are bicycling, swimming, skating, curling, basketball, golfing, polo, sledding, badminton, jai alai, quoits, table tennis, and snooker. Hint: if trouble still persists, it may be wise to make it a rule to slip on a pair of baseball gloves, heavy wool socks, or oven mittens before retiring. If these precautions fail, your dad will be happy to help handcuff your hands behind your back before you turn in.
As for you gals, don't get smug. Many young women regularly harm themselves with acts of self-pollution even while sound asleep, often dreaming of bizarre degradations involving beatniks, Negroes, or worse. Because of this, it is advisable not to tempt the devil. Have your mother "keep on ice" such objects as pencils, candles, bananas, frankfurters, hairbrushes, and softball bats.
Now that I have the scoop on self-abuse, you say, I'm going to practice these easy safeguards and pass the lowdown on to my pals.
And I can think of three people who will back you up on that: Clint's mother, father, and Babs.
Your First Date: Calling Her Up
Calling up a girl for a date for the first time can often mean a bout with those “telephone jitters.” How to avoid them? It's easier than you think! Like anything you do, there's a right way and a wrong way.. I'll pause a moment while you let that sink in. The most important thing to remember is don't beat around the bush. The forthright, direct approach is the best way to ask for a date, as any girl will tell you. Let's start with the wrong way first: Carl has two tickets to a popular movie approved by his local church group, and he wants to take Norma as his guest. Let's see what happens....
Norma: Hello? Hello? Is somebody there?
Norma: Look, who is this? If this is some kind of a joke, my father—
Carl: Uh, Norma, this is Carl from your Civics class, and I was wondering if—
Norma: Carl? I don't think I know any "Carl."
Carl: Well, I'm the one with the thick glasses who sits way back by the windows? Today when I spoke to you in the hall—
Norma: Listen, maybe you have the wrong Bancroft. There's a Carla Bancroft in our class. The homely one with those things all over her face?
Carl: Well, actually, that's me, Carl Bancroft. Anyway, you were with Moose Pojanski from the football team at the time? I mean, you were talking to him, mostly, but—
Norma: Oh, sure, sure, I remember. Okay, shoot.
Carl: Well, I was wondering, if you weren't doing anything Saturday night, perhaps you'd consider—
Norma: Saturday? Oh, gee, that's tough. That's the night I always wash my hair.
Carl: Uh, well, maybe Sunday? I could exchange—
Norma: And I always dry it on Sunday nights.
Carl: Uh, then how about Mon—
Norma: Then I have to set it. It's a real job, y'know?
Carl: Well, I suppose I could get tickets for Tues—
Carl: Hello? Norma? Gee, the line went dead.
Needless to say, Carl did not get to date Norma that Saturday. Now let's eavesdrop on a boy who knows how to use those telephone courtesies that spell “date bait,” as he invites a girl for a horseback ride....
Moose: 'Lo, Norma? 'S Moose.
Norma: Oh, Christ, for a minute I thought it was Carl again.
Moose: Huh? Whoozat?
Norma: Some flit says he's in one of my classes.
Moose: Oh. How 'bout Saturday? Wanna?
Norma: Sure, but one thing.
Norma: Don't forget the you-know-whats.
Moose: Huh? Oh, yah. Heh heh. Yah.
Norma: Listen, it isn't funny. I thought I missed it last month and I nearly freaked. If you want to go bareback, you can call up Carl.
Norma: Some flit says he's in one of my classes.
See how easy it was? Moose knew that old saying about catching more dates with honey than you can with vinegar, and Norma knew the one about an ounce of prevention being worth a trip to Puerto Rico!
“Playing with Yourself
Is Playing With Fire!”
What to Wear
Dating is like electricity. Used wisely, it can operate your dad's power tools, fry eggs, and run trolley cars. Used foolishly, it can electrocute every member of your family including your goldfish. Being a teen with taste means, then, that you don't try to “short circuit” your future happiness with provocative clothes that will “overload” your date with the temptation to tamper with your "fuse box."
If you are a girl, steer clear of clinging sweaters, layers of heavy makeup, sheath skirts with revealing kick pleats and Capri pants so tight that the boys can read the date of a dime in your back pocket. Gals in the know favor the casual good looks of cardigan sweaters, simple pleated calf-length skirts bolstered by layers and layers of crisp and crinkly crinoline. And please, ladies, sensible shoes! There are now on the market several brands of attractive pumps made of sturdy materials that spell fashion flair both on the dance floor and along those invigorating woodland trails. Since you are still growing, try to have a little pity on Dad's wallet and buy them at least two and a half sizes bigger to give your poor toes plenty of wiggle room! But avoid patent leather. Nothing is a surer invitation to disaster than shiny shoe-tops are to a sharp-eyed, peeping Tom with a rudimentary knowledge of light refraction.
Proper foundation garments will help give your dating wardrobe that added “plus.” Ruggedly made brassieres (preferably with a time lock), garter belts, hosiery, and dress shields give a girl added confidence on a date and help correct poor posture. Hint: if you are going on an unchaperoned date, an additional girdle or two can be a welcome “something extra” when the full moon rises and that “All-American” suddenly becomes “all hands”!
Boys, too, know that a neat and clean appearance goes a long way toward winning the respect and admiration of his date. Tight chinos, pointed shoes, and elaborate pompadours (perhaps hiding the “point” underneath!) impress no one. You can't tell a book by its cover, but if a candy wrapper says “nuts” on the outside, you can be sure there's one on the inside. Boys are also cautioned to especially avoid tight dungarees that can cut circulation to vital parts of the body. Last year alone, a respected clothing physician reports over fifteen thousand men suffered the loss of their genital organs, either by chronic shriveling or simple “drop-off.” Don't let this happen to you.
Crew cuts, “butches,” and flattops with well-trimmed sideburns are the rage with gals everywhere, boys, and few ladies can resist the buckle and swash that a pair of Hush Puppies or saddle shoes can bring to a fellow's feet. For more formal occasions, Dad may let you borrow a pair of his he-man and hefty brogues with those cunning little perforations topping off the toes in decorative patterns and swirls. And while we're at it, let's not overlook your underthings. Loose, comfortable boxer shorts are the best bet, but if your date will include some strenuous exercise, ask your mother to take you to the shopping center or sporting-goods store in your neighborhood the next time she goes and fit you out with a reliable brand of athletic supporter. Unless you're Frank Sinatra, it doesn't pay to be a “swinger!”
Meeting Your Folks
Dating a boy is like being taken out on a trial spin. If he's a careful driver, the trip can be a fine jaunt. If he's a careless motorist, you may find yourself back at your door with four flats and a shot suspension. This is why your parents take an interest in who you date. Your mom and dad have made a considerable investment in you and may have spent $10,000-$15,000 on you for food, clothing, partial rent, medical bills, education, and insurance alone, not to mention mad money and court fees. You owe it to your parents to let them take an interest in who may be handling their investment in their absence, and introducing your dates to them is a good way to begin. It is a delicate undertaking, for it is time for that giggle on the telephone to become a flesh-and-blood person, but simple politeness is the only “must.” It is simply a matter of “getting to know you,” as this example shows....
The doorbell rings. Sue answers the door and greets Ben, her date for the evening.
Ben: Good evening, Sue.
Sue: Good evening, Ben. Won't you come in and let me introduce you to my mother and father?
Ben: Of course, Sue.
Sue: Mother, I'd like you to meet Ben. Ben, this is my mother.
Ben: How do you do, Mrs. Waspwell. It is a pleasure to meet you.
Mother: How do you do, Ben. It's a pleasure to meet you.
Sue: Ben, this is my father. Father, I'd like you to meet Ben.
Ben: How do you do Mr. Waspwell. It is a pleasure to meet you.
Father: How do you do, Ben. It is a pleasure to meet you. By the way, Ben, isn't your father the president of the country club?
Ben: Oh no, sir. My father is Jewish.
Father: Good night, Ben.
Ben: Good night, Mr. Waspwell.
Mother: Good night, Ben.
Ben: Good night, Mrs. Waspwell.
Sue: Good night, Ben.
Ben: Good night, Sue.
See how easy that was?
Have Morals, win Date
Now that your parents have met your date, it's time to go! But where? To an all-night beach blast? An unchaperoned pajama party? Perhaps to a double-clutch twist contest, a form of “dancing” that the late Igor Stravinsky once described as “simply petting set to music”?
Of course not.
I am reminded of the story of a boy who was looking at a list of "don'ts" posted on the swimming-pool bulletin board. "Think they forgot anything?" asked a sympathetic buddy. "Yeah," answered the boy, “don't breathe!”
Things aren't as grim as all that. There are many healthful and wholesome activities in which young daters may participate and keep their moral decency intact. Most communities have young-people's centers, and many church groups organize frequent hayrides, craft fairs, and special exhibits. But if your community lacks these, there are still 1,001 things to do that can give any guy or gal that special “lift.”
Looking for something to do on a date? Take a gander at these activities available to young “thrill-seekers”: folk dancing, travelogues, displays, youth rallies, guided tours of local industry, collecting pop bottles for worthy charities, sight-seeing hardware stores, reading to blind children, learning how to use a road map, unusual fêtes, playing Sorry, discovering points of interest, laying linoleum, building and operating your own weather station, identifying wild flowers, rummage sales, pets, repairing appliances, learning new words, washing the family car, remembering things, telling jokes, having shoes stretched, and making fudge.
Sound inviting? Dive right in, the dating's fine!
Making “small talk” on a date can be one of the biggest problems for inexperienced daters. Conversation, like tennis, is best when the ball keeps bouncing back and forth. The surest way to keep the ball in play is to find out what you and your date have in common. Perhaps both of you are interested in sports, or you have complementary hobbies, or your fathers both make the same amount of money.
Once you establish something to talk about, you'll be amazed at how the conversation can flow effortlessly from one topic to the next. Ted and Marlene show you how....
Ted: It's a grand night, isn't it?
Marlene: Wonderful, Ted. Did you ever see such a moon?
Ted: Isn't that what they call a “harvest moon”?
Marlene: A “hunter's moon”? Don't do that, Ted.
Ted: Do you hunt? I had an uncle who once was a fine hunter.
Marlene: My aunt once painted a wonderful hunting scene. Stop that, Ted.
Ted: I didn't know you were interested in painting. Do you paint?
Marlene: No, but I enjoy sketching and swimming. Get that hand out of there, Ted.
Ted: Why, I bet you're a terrific swimmer. I know you're tops in skeet shooting.
Marlene: I mean it, Ted! But I'm not as good with a gun as my father.
Ted: Oh, does he skeet shoot, too?
Marlene: No, Ted, he was a marine at Okinawa, and now he's a sergeant on the police force.
Ted: It's a grand night, isn't it?
Marlene: Wonderful, Ted. Did you ever see such a moon?
You Don't Have to Pet to Be Popular
To pet or not to pet, that is the question! Many young girls, eager to be “in” with the crowd, think that they have to act free and easy with every lounge lizard and couch commando to show that they are grown up, that they are “cool.” I'm reminded of a story that happened to the daughter of an old friend of mine....
Pam, a naïve young girl eager to be “in” with the crowd, accepted a date with Stan, a boy whose reputation as a heavy petter was the talk of the cafeteria. When Stan pulled up in front of her home, Pam noticed that instead of coming in to meet her parents, he just sat in the car tightening his chinos and combing his pompadour while he honked his horn for her to hurry. Against her parents' advice and her own misgivings, Pam raced to Stan's car and drove off, the auto's shot suspension practically ruining the driveway. The evening was pleasant enough at first, but when 9:30 rolled around and it was time to head for home, Stan began to act differently. He began feeding Pam a line, telling her that “everybody petted” and those who didn't were hypocrites, or “prudes.” He told her that he was “madly in love with her” and that she was a “slick chick.” He talked about famous scientists who recommended petting on the first date, like Freud, Darwin, and Rollo May. Wanting desperately to be in the swim, Pam finally agreed and willingly submitted to an act of heavy petting in the back seat of Stan's automobile. When Pam's parents saw that it was almost 10:30 and Pam had not yet returned, they immediately notified the State Police. An hour later the police found Stan and Pam, but it was too late. Apparently they had been so busy heavy petting that the doomed couple had failed to even notice a speeding bus.
Sound familiar? It should. Official government figures show that an act of heavy petting is committed in the back seat of an automobile somewhere in the United States every fifty seconds, and the Highway Department reports the exact same incidence for motor-vehicle fatalities. To pet or not to pet?
The choice is yours.
“You Don’t Have to
Pet to Be Popular”
How to Say “No”
A girl once told me that when she stepped out for an evening with her sweetheart, her parents always gave her her own bottle of mouthwash so she could “freshen up” after necking with her fiancé. These “parents” obviously had a geranium in the cranium! Any parent who permits a daughter the opportunity to pass out free samples is in danger of having the entire store looted. What such parents are actually saying to the boy is, Dear necker, if you can't be good, be careful. I know you are here to crack the safe. It won't be necessary. Here's the combination. Take what you want, but please tidy up after.
Some flirts claim that, to click with the gang, you have to keep in circulation. One has only to look at a book that's been in circulation to see the results: dog-eared around the edges, stained with fingerprints and jelly, a weakened spine and half the insides missing, nasty cracks written along the margins.
Get the message?
A wise girl knows that saying “no” to petting is as important to her reputation as refraining from vaulting fenceposts, riding Western saddle, or engaging in excessive shinnying. “Many are cold,” goes the saying, “but few are frozen.” A boy in the know quickly realizes that there's more to an iceberg than the one-fifth on the surface that meets the eye and says to himself, Finding out about the four-fifths of this doll that's below the surface is worth more to me than a thousand French handshakes!
Of course, it's not always easy separating the sheep from the wolves, and the mildest-mannered boy can turn out to be the most unscrupulous kiss-collector if you let him. Should he try any monkeyshines, there are several workable methods. The commonest is simply to look your date squarely in the eye and, with a sweet but hurt expression, whisper, “Dave, I'm very disappointed in you.” If words do not convince, it may be a good idea to carry along a persuader of a more forceful character. Among the most popular are police whistles, tear-gas pens, and blank pistols. Finally, if none of these are available but you do happen to have a cold drink in your hand, turn back to Chapter III and study again the effect of quick temperature changes on those ugly pink things.
That's the whole story, daters, and I wish you a grand evening. And don't worry about making mistakes if you studied this book carefully. I guarantee you won't “miss the boat.”
But you will miss the bus.