How the Girls Kiss
Girls' Kissing Habits in Northern Nevada - 1883
According to pioneer superstitions, a girl
might be kissed if..."A redbird or a blue bird flies in her path...She
hears a bird sing after dark...She puts on a man's hat...Coffee grounds
in the bottom of her cup form a ring, and...She stumbles and remembers
to kiss her thumb."
Add a couple more ingredients like lard
mixed with strawberry juice as lipstick and little balls of powdered sugar
mixed with oil of cloves
or peppermint for breath sweetening and a girl was ready to be kissed.
Which was, in those days, usually the most daring thing a boy and girl
On September 7, 1883, the editor of
the Elko Free Press stated his views about the kissing habits of
the young ladies in eastern Nevada:
"Eureka girls are not satisfied
unless they are kissed on the mouth and prefer to be embraced at the same
"A girl starts in to kiss when
she is thirteen or fourteen and, by the time she is twenty, she has a perfect
knowledge of how it ought to be done. Sometimes she offers her cheek in
a very bewitching way but, as a general thing, her pouting lips are taken
advantage of. She also expects a gentle pressure of the hand. (Where?)
"There is nothing backward about the
girls of Battle Mountain. They enjoy kissing and are proud of the
stylish way they go about the work. They expect a clinging kiss - a kiss
that lasts about three seconds. They do not object to having the pleasant
job repeated at intervals during the visit of the fortunate young man.
"Girls of Winnemucca are considered
cold and more fond of dancing than osculating. They kiss like a sister
does her brother - a mere mechanical movement of the head and lips.
"Elko girls seldom allow someone
to take liberties with their cheeks but, when they are tempted, they give
kiss in return for the one impressed on their blooming cheeks. The
victim is left in a state of bliss.
"Austin maidens know but little
about kissing but are always anxious to learn. What they lack in grace
they make up in fond earnestness. To recline in the arms of a lover is
considered vulgar and foolish.
"Tuscarora girls want to be kissed
on the mouth every time. The dignified, cold and aristocratic kiss on the
forehead does not go with them.
"When a Lewis girl is embraced
she wants to do all the kissing herself, and the noise she makes resembles
report of a flapjack striking against the dining room door."
Times have changed the past one hundred
plus years. I'll let it go at that.
February 10, 2001
Copyright 2001by Howard Hickson. If any portion or
all of this article is used or quoted proper credit must be given to the
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