The Mountain Laurel
The Journal of Mountain Life

Visit us on FaceBookGenerations of Memories
from the
Heart of the Blue Ridge

How To Love and Be Loved

By Susan M. Thigpen © 1985

Issue: February, 1985

We recently ran across a copy of an old book called, "How To Love and Be Loved." There was no identification at all on the book as to who the author, publisher or even date of publication was. It seems to be around the turn of the century [Circa 1900] in it's style.

This book must have been a great help for many lonely people in its day. I can't imagine how young people courted without it, for it carefully outlines all of the social "rules" of courtship. A few of the chapter headings are: First Love, How To Begin A Courtship, How To Choose A Husband Or Wife, Ways And Means, Disqualifications.

Then there are the chapters dealing with more specific details such as: How To Court A Shy Girl, A Lively Girl, An Old Maid, The Fascinating Widow. Add to this such advice as "Handkerchief Flirtation" and “Glove Flirtation" which outline every possible position of gloves and a handkerchief and explain what each meant to romantic courtship.

No wonder people have so much trouble in relationships today. We no longer have a "rule" book to follow! But, on the other hand, can you imagine the despair of some shy young man, following a book like this to the letter, who gets a response from a girl that is not outlined in the book?

Below is an excerpt from the book HOW TO LOVE AND BE LOVED. It is the chapter titled, "The Science of Kissing". We have tried, but to no avail, to find information about this book. If any of you readers know who the author or publisher of it was, please let us know. It is a delight in its innocence in dealing with matters of the heart. It depicts what was probably a very accurate description of customs long gone by.

The Science Of Kissing

People will kiss yet not one in a thousand know how to extract bliss from lovely lips, no more than they know how to make diamonds from charcoal. First know whom you are to kiss. Don't make a mistake, although a mistake may be good. Don't jump up like a trout for a fly, and smack the woman on the neck or the ear, or on the corner of her forehead, on the end of her nose, in haste to get through. The gentleman should have a clean face, a kind eye, a mouthful of expression. Two persons are enough to corner and catch a kiss: more persons spoil the sport. Stand firm; it won't hurt any after you are used to it. Take the left hand of the young lady in your right; let your hat go out of the way; throw the left hand gently over the shoulder of the lady and let the hand fall down upon the right side towards the belt. Don't be in a hurry; draw her gently, lovingly to your heart; her head will fall lightly upon your shoulder - and a handsome shoulder strap it makes. Don't be in a hurry, send a little life down your left arm and let it know its business. Her left hand is in your right, let there be a mild pressure to that, not like the grip of a vise, but the gentle clasp, full of electricity, thought and respect. Don't be in a hurry. Her head lies carelessly on your shoulder. You are nearly heart to heart. Look down into her half-closed eyes. Gently, but manfully press her to your bosom. Stand firm: and you will have strength for the ordeal. Be brave, but don't be in a hurry. Her lips are almost open. Lean slightly forward with your head, not your body: take good aim: the lips meet-the eyes close-the heart opens-the soul rides the storms, troubles and sorrows of life (don't be in a hurry) - heaven opens before you - the world shoots from under your feet as a meteor flies across the evening sky (don't be afraid) - the nerves thrill before the altar-of love as zephyrs dance among dew-trimmed flowers - the heart forgets its bitterness, and the art of kissing is learned. No noise, no fuss, no fluttering and squirming. Kissing doesn't hurt; it doesn't require a brass band to make it legal. Don't jab down on a beautiful mouth as if it were a telephone. Don't grab and yank the lady as if she were a restive colt. Don't muss her hair, scratch down her collar, bite her cheek, and leave her rumbled and mixed. Don't flavor your kiss with onions, tobacco, gin, cocktails, lager beer or any other odorous delicacy.

Another well needed bit of information in this book is the following chapter:

How To Know How Soon A Person Will Be Married

Get a green pea-pod, in which are exactly nine peas: hang it over the door and then take notice of the next person who comes, in, who is not of the family, nor of the same sex with yourself, and if it proves an unmarried individual, you will certainly be married within that year.