Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » She Had a Question, 1909

She Had a Question, 1909

By: Ardis E. Parshall - June 04, 2009

Will chess and checkers corrupt my morals? Shall I let my young man kiss me good night? How do I cook beefsteak “scientifically”? Fortunately, I can get answers to all life’s 1909-era questions by writing to the “Girl Query” department of the Young Woman’s Journal!

I am eighteen years of age. Should I accept presents from young men? – Daisy.

Decidedly not. The moment you do so you place yourself under obligations to him. Such obligations will vex you very much in a few months or possibly a year. Then when one present is accepted another is forthcoming, perhaps obtained with borrowed money; thereby placing the young man in a more vexing position that yourself.


When visiting a young lady in the evening, at what hour should a young man leave? – Sylvia.

Ten o’clock is a seasonable hour. Not later than 10:30 p.m. A great deal depends on the parents. Girls should be guided by the wishes of father and mother.


How often should a young gentleman call on a young lady when he has in view constant visits? – H.B.

Once or twice a week is ample. too frequent visits are unprofitable. Often young women tire of a boy because of frequent calling. All girls like evenings at home with the family only.


I am an orphan only nineteen years of age. I have been keeping company with a young man for several months, to whom I have become very much attached. Lately I have discovered that he occasionally takes a glass of beer. He assures me that it is never more than one glass and that not often. What shall I do? – Martha.

I would call your attention to an article by Brother H.J. Grant, in the September, 1908, number of the Journal. Never marry a man to save him. If as a lover he will not respect your righteous wishes, you could not trust him as a husband.


Will you please tell me how to clean water bottles and nursing bottles.– Young Housewife.

A tablespoonful of coarse salt with a little water is a good cleanser. If your water bottle has been long corroded add some washing soda with the salt. The best nursing bottles are the wide-mouthed ones with large nipple. They can be cleaned the same as a tumbler.


Can you give me a simple remedy for catarrh? – Susie.

From the experience of many persons a solution of salt and water will cure nasal catarrh. Dissolve a tablespoonful of salt in a little less than a pint of water and snuff a little up the nose several times a day.


I would like to know how to curl ostrich plumes at home. – Sadie.

Put some red hot coals of fire on a shovel, sprinkle with brown sugar, and hold the plumes in the smoke. A little salt sprinkled on the stove and the plumes held over them will restore the curl also.


About a year ago I was keeping company with a young man, and I learned to love him dearly; but through some underhanded work of a friend (?) we were parted. I still love him, but he blames me. I cannot be happy without him. How can I approach him? – Rose-bud.

Not being familiar with all the circumstances it is rather difficult to advise just the right thing to do. However, if you are sure he loves you, go to him and have the misunderstanding explained and talked over, and he will soon know how you feel, and without doubt will be very happy, and this, of course, will be the means of bringing much happiness to you. If he does not love you, you could never be happy with him, and you can learn to be happy and contented without him.


Is it wrong to play chess and checkers? – Winnie.

Why, no, we do not think so. Aside from being a source of amusement, chess is considered one of the finest games to develop thought. We know of nothing better to promote continuity and concentration of thought. It also engenders in the mind a desire to go on, notwithstanding you made a wrong move. Perhaps your opponent will do the same to your advantage next time. It teaches the principle of progression.


What can I do to make my fingers flexible enough for piano playing? I do a great deal of housework. – Edna.

rub the fingers well with oil, and move the joints back and forth. Do this twice a day. Practice as much as possible.


Will you please give me a simple remedy for pimples and blackheads. – Carrie.

these are often caused by improper diet, tight clothing, impaired digestion, lack of exercise, or the free use of powder which clogs the pores. If the black points be very distinct, press them out; if not, scrub the face night and morning with hot water to which add a bit of common soda, about the size of your finger nail to one quart of water. Use a good camel’s hair face brush, and some mild toilet soap. Scrub the face well, then dash cold water on to close the pores again. Rub with coarse towel, after which apply sweet oil and bay rum equal parts well mixed together, and wipe off with soft towel. drink at least three pints of water daily.

The following will sometimes heal the pimples. Boric acid in fine powder 240 grains; white wax 420 grains; paraffin 480 grains; oil of sweet almonds one fluid dram.


Would you think it right to correspond with a missionary who has been introduced to you through the mail by another missionary with whom you are personally acquainted? – F.J.

I think there can be no harm if the “personal acquaintance” is a young man of honor and integrity, which he ought to be, and he can speak for the other one as being the same.

Of course your letters would only be friendly ones. Your mother should be consulted in the matter.


What would you do in a case where a young man comes to see you very often whom you do not care for at all? – Pearl.

I would let him know in some way that I would prefer him not to come so often or not at all. Do not encourage his visits. Tell him in a kindly way so as not to give offense. Appeal to your mother, she can probably assist you. Do not let him hear of your feelings from others as that might cause bitterness where friendship now exists.


Should a young lady allow a young man to kiss her good night after a visit, or on leaving her when seeing her home? – Irene.

Decidedly not. It is a habit which is unwomanly and leads to much evil. No true, modest girl will allow it.


Please give me the meaning of “ragtime music.”

“Ragtime” is the popular name of a peculiarly humorous, exaggerated syuncopation which runs through many popular dances and songs.

It is of negro origin and came into vogue about twenty years ago.

The negro melodies of slave days were tuneful but melancholy. The tendency of late years has been to break away from this and to employ the rhythmical snap so characteristic of instruments of percussion most used by the negro.

Students of classical music refuse to recognize ragtime as anything more than an ephemeral mush-room growth which is doomed to rapid decay, but its hold upon the popular taste demands recognition at least by the student of socioloogy.


There is a young man coming to see me whom mother likes real well, and he is a good Latter-day Saint, but he does not appeal to me at all. Shall I try to love him to please mother? – Martha B.

No, my dear girl; your mother will not have to live with him. There must be something beside goodness in your husband. If you do not love a man, if he does not appeal to all that is noble and great in your character, it makes little difference how good and kind he may be, you would never be happy as his wife. Do not make a mistake by marrying a “good” man you do not love.


In answer to a “Young Mother,” I will say, by all means, teach your little girls to be just as polite to Papa and Mama as to strangers. Kindness and courtesy in the home are as necessary as out of it.


Please give me a scientific way of cooking beef steak and mutton chops (not fried). – Midge.

Broiling is very good, or cooking in the oven. If cooked in the oven try the following way for beef-steak. Place steak in a pan, sprinkle with salt, pepper, and some bread crumbs, and any herbs you like best, such as sage, parsley, thyme, summer savory, etc. Put two or three pieces of butter on top and cook about half an hour. Have oven hot to begin cooking.


A lady clerks in a store and receives $10.00 per week. She pays $5.00 for board and $1.00 for tithing, leaving her #4.00 per week.

Another lady does house work and gets her board and $7.00 per week. She pays 70 cents tithing. Which is paying an honest tithing? Should one pay tithing on her board and the other not? – Mary.

Tithing should be paid on one’s income. The girl who works for $7.00 per week and her board, has an income of $7.00 per week plus the board which should have an estimated value and tithing paid on that income. Let each pay her tithing as she feels to be right.


Is it immodest to dance the Barn dance? – A.G.

No. Like many other dances it is quite pretty when danced properly and modestly.


To “Cecelia J.” My dear little girl, you are entirely too young for any such flirtations. By all means return the ring. Try and interest yourself by reading good books, assisting your mother with the house work, etc. enjoy yourself with your girl friends in a girlish, modest way for several years yet. Make your mother a confidant and companion. She will put her arms around you and lovingly advise you. At your tender age, girls are very susceptible to influences, either good or bad.


Do you think it improper for a young lady to allow a gentleman to kiss her after they are engaged? – Tuella and Bess.

My dear girls, the habit of kissing even after an engagement is often dangerous. Every true girl should have a certain womanly dignity and modesty, which tells plainer than words what liberties her fiancé may take with her. Men, and lovers admire and respect a girl who stands on this womanly dignity under all conditions and circumstances.


In reply to “Winnie.” – Yes, there are people of today just as good as those of sixty years ago. Form the habit of looking for the good in others, and when speaking of people tell of the good you have discovered in them. Look out of the window that presents the most beautiful landscape.



  1. It’s obvious that everyone is trying so hard to think up witty responses to the BCC Ultimate Church Fighting post that there’s no energy left to respond to another round of useful and timely advice.

    Curling ostrich feathers? How have I survived this last half-century without knowing how to do that?

    I’m hoping that the remedies that will make pianists’ fingers flexible will help a violinist’s flexible as well. But, what kind of oil? I’ve always thought WD-40 was the veritable nectar of the gods. How about that?

    And what’s with all these kissing questions, where the fair maiden is ever the person being kissed, and never the one doing any kissing?
    “[P]roper to allow a gentleman to kiss her”–bah! When are we going to hear her ask whether it’d be proper for her to lay a big smack on the man of her dreams?

    On the same subject, what about a nice kiss on the cheek? Is that also “often dangerous” and “unwomanly” and likely to lead to “much evil”? (Do such chaste kisses fall into the old “you gotta start somewhere” slippery slope?)

    I do like the great leap (is it forward?) to the assumption that more than one gift from a gentleman is likely to lead him into the bondage of debt. I now have a great excuse for cutting back on Christmas and birthdays.

    Comment by Mark B. — June 4, 2009 @ 9:57 am

  2. Re: #1:

    Insert “keep” where appropriate.

    Comment by Mark B. — June 4, 2009 @ 9:58 am

  3. I’m a amazed at how honestly forthright and good most of this advice is. It’s wonderful!

    Comment by Tracy M — June 4, 2009 @ 10:57 am

  4. What in the heck is the “Barn dance”? I hate it when reading old documents and the author forgets that I might be reading it 100 years later and need some background! C’mon!

    I’ve never heard that maxim before: “Look out of the window that presents the most beautiful landscape.” It seems to be a better philosophy than to look at life through rose-colored glasses. I like it.

    As the father of three daughters (one approaching tweenhood), I have to say that I sure hope the author is correct that “[a]ll girls like evenings at home with the family only.” [fingers crossed]

    Last, I was struck that the author counsels at once against marrying someone to “save” them, and also against marrying a “good” person whom you do not love. Wonderful advice all around.

    Can you tell I love reading these?

    Comment by Hunter — June 4, 2009 @ 12:54 pm

  5. While Mark is waiting for the gal to plant one on the guy, I, as secretary of the Wall Flowers League, am puzzling over the girls who are being annoyed by all the tiresome visits from young men they don’t really like.

    “BARN DANCE: A nineteenth-century American couple dance in 4/4 time, taking its name from the rural custom of dancing to celebrate the completion of a new barn. Know also as the pas de quatre and the miliary schottische, the steps involved walking, hopping, sliding, turning, and foot stamping, which shocked many who believed all dancing should be decorous.” (From North American Dance Rhythms.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — June 4, 2009 @ 1:17 pm

  6. Ardis, that description makes it sound like the kids in our stake doing Cotton Eye Joe at the stake dances.

    Comment by jeans — June 4, 2009 @ 6:24 pm

  7. Anyone know where you get “toilet soap” and why you’d want to use it on your face? 😉

    Comment by Proud Daughter of Eve — June 4, 2009 @ 6:29 pm

  8. I love the analysis of ragtime music.

    Comment by Tatiana — June 4, 2009 @ 6:39 pm

  9. I was interested in pimples question. I was not aware that they are caused by tight clothing and lack of exercise. And the solutions are interesting–pressing out the blackheads (against all Dr.’s advice now). To me, putting white wax and paraffin on pimples would aggrevate them, not heal them.

    My brother had a classmate who refused to kiss her fiance until she was married, then found out she didn’t like the way he kissed. It was kind of a joke around town.

    Comment by Maurine — June 4, 2009 @ 8:32 pm

  10. I like how the advice columnist often tells people to ask their mother.

    Comment by Norbert — June 5, 2009 @ 8:07 am

  11. I wonder if tight clothing meant corsets, and just about any reason to keep people from wearing them was probably a good idea.

    As just about any reason to read Keepa is probably a good idea!

    Comment by S. Taylor — June 5, 2009 @ 9:33 am