Advice to girls from the General Board of the YLMIA, 1901:
As the summer approaches, with its season of rest and recreation, its amusements and pleasures, there is a recognized need for some influence that shall serve as a balance wheel between indulgence that is needful and therefore legitimate and that which is selfish and excessive.
If given free rein the pleasure loving spirit becomes a passion, the results of which are scarcely less harmful than is the appetite for intoxicants or the fascination for the gaming table; ofttimes, indeed, the latter vices are developed and pursued through an uncurbed indulgence in the former. It is natural that young people should be joyous – needful that the minds and bodies of all be given relaxation and diversion, and if moderation be exercised these times of recreation may serve as a stimulus or source of inspiration during working hours.
It is not to be expected that this balancing influence shall come from the young men. None know better than they, that nothing short of actual crime will so soon render them unpopular with the girls as the appearance of stinginess. And many of our maidens fail to appreciate the effort it costs a young man nowadays to keep from under this ban. If a trip to the lake is contemplated he feels that he must have five dollars in his pocket, and by the time the cost of car fares, train fares, bathing suits, soda water, ice cream, and possibly a box of choice candy, have been deducted, he finds a very little “change” left. If it be a theater, the young man must procure seats in the dress circle, even though the price be raised to $1.50 per seat, and though, too, his salary is but $0 per month, because it would look small to go up stairs, and to this cost is often added the cost of a bouquet. These favors and numerous others, our girls accept with smiles and perhaps a passing remark about the perfectly lovely time they have had; but they are rather looked upon as a matter of course and considered as of no serious moment.
Does it ever occur to you girls, that the mothers of those same young men might need for actual comfort some of these same dollars that are so lavishly spent for your pleasure? Do you ever consider the future when as the wives of these young men you will be compelled to use the strictest economy because they have been unable to save anything before marriage?
The power to change these conditions lies with you. With the tact you know so well how to employ you can decline some of the many things which are offered you and still allow your young men friends to appear generous. The oft repeated favors give you a passing pleasure now, but you will appreciate far more the ability to employ a woman to help with your heaviest work when the time of need shall come.
Our time, our energy and our means are being consumed too rapidly and the power to regulate these things is indeed a great one. Let every daughter of Zion make a determined effort to wield her influence wisely and well.