Thursday, September 8, 2016

Ban on Kissing

An article I recently came across lent itself to my great amusement.

Titled "Crusade Against Kissing," it originally appeared in The Northants Evening Telegraph, 29 December 1900.

According to the article, Dr. Anna Hatfield (no relation, at least that my husband is willing to claim), a "lady physician" started a movement in her local branch of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union to ban kissing.

Hatfield claimed kissing was a "barbarous, insanitary custom, worse than drinking, and should be rigidly abolished. No person should kiss another without first using an antiseptic wash on the mouth to destroy bacteria."

And worse than the germs lingering around a mouth, was the "moral bacteria." Hatfield said, "Girls are not taught to view a kiss with awe, as they once were. Engaged persons should be allowed only one kiss at the time of betrothal."

The newspaper observed the anti-kissing crusade would be "watched with great interest, but its failure is generally predicted."


The nutty doctor wasn't the only one who thought there was too much kissing taking place back in the early years of the 1900s.

An article from 1907 declared, "we kiss too much. The principles of both hygiene and honesty are constantly violated in the practice... It ought not to be necessary — but it is — to say that kissing in public is extremely bad form."

Even before the turn of the century, some thought kissing to be of bad form.
"Girls, it is in bad taste for you to be given to kissing boys or men... a kiss is nothing more or less than a physical sounding of a woman's social, mental, or moral strength," advised a sage from 1889.

A bit of wisdom from 1893 stated, "It would be well if every person in society should register a solemn resolution never to kiss anybody unless prompted to do so by the irresistible impulse of affection."

Thank goodness for those irresistible impulses of affection.

I, for one, am glad those seeking to ban kissing failed spectacularly in their efforts.


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  1. What a treat to read this Shanna! And I'm glad she was no relative of yours...LOL! This reminded me right off of the rule against PDA (Public Display of Affection) I've heard that some schools (and I believe the military) adopted back in the "day." (Before the crazy 1960s) My MIL is in her late 90s now and she gets all upset when French kissing is shown on TV because she says a nice girl would not kiss open-mouthed like that in "her day."

    Really enjoyed the post!

    1. Oh, how fun about your MIL! And yes, the PDAs, too! Thanks for reading the post, Kathryn!

  2. I know I'm showing my age, but I also remember when kissing in public was frowned upon. What a great piece of information you found and such an fun read. Thank you. Angela

  3. How interesting. I'm sure poor Dr. Hatfield must be spinning in her grave at the kissing that goes on today! :)

  4. They had interesting if misguided rules/laws, ways of thinking back then. I was in high school in California from 1961-1964 and we had PDA - public display of affection rules. A boy and girl could only hold hands, no arm around the shoulder, difinitely no kissing, no girls leaning against a wall with a boy leaning into her with his hand on the wall, or any form of what any teacher would call intimacy. Times have changed. :-)

  5. LOVE these glimpses into the past and the attitudes of our Victorian ancestors. Times change, and some movements were never meant to succeed. =)