Petting. Are your kids doing it? Do you want to know if your kids are doing it? The Mother’s Encyclopedia found petting important enough to spend several pages on the topic.
“I could understand it,” said a puzzled mother, “if it were a question of being in love with somebody. But Phyllis is too young to be in love. Well, perhaps not too young – I know my grandmother was married at fifteen. But marriage is years ahead for Phyllis. And besides, she admits that she isn’t really in love with any of the boys she pets with. I know that some mothers feel that there is safety in numbers. But it’s just the miscellaneousness of it all that bothers me. I don’t think Phyllis is cold-blooded and callous, but sometimes it seems so. Anyway, I don’t like it. Is that prudish and old-fashioned of me? And is there really anything to worry about? Why must they pet?”
-Troubled in Philadelphia
To better understand the situation, we must go straight to the source – young Phyllis, only we’ll sum it up a bit.
“At puberty I began to feel differently. Boys became more interesting to me. I was beginning to grow up… I was excited and disturbed about boys, but at the same time I felt a little scornful of them…I had a tremendous case on Mr. Smith, my history teacher. He was a kind of love-substitute for Father (??) and a step away from my family. Then I began to have cases on movie actors. They were at a safe distance, you see, and my feeligns could be less and less daughterly… But all that is the spirtual side of love – worship and admiration. And there was the other side of love to be developed, too. It had to be developed at the same time, but it had to be with different persons… Petting was a little hard for me to begin. It was made easier by the fact that it was the thing to do – a girl had to pet sometimes or she was thought stiff and queer… If you only knew it, I’m not as much of a petter now as I was a year ago, in my earnest and dutiful and indiscriminate-petting stage (I’m sure that’s a huge comfort to your mother, Phyllis).”
You know, really these 10 pages could be summed up so simply. There are these crazy chemicals called hormones that will make your teenagers behave like idiots. Raise them well, and good luck. 😉