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 Couples kiss in this painting.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 did together. 
      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 time. 
      "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 a
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 the
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.

Howard Hickson 
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 author.

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