TO KISS OR NOT
\u25a0\u25a0". A' FTER year* of sporadic crusading
\u25a0'."•/ \ a nonklsslng organization has been
.'.£~\ started in Cincinnati. 0., that
. . • Is meeting with surprising buo
ee«s. In that city, according to the
president of the society, more than 1,000
znfcn, women and children have pledged
themselves to- abstain from the prac
tice, and the membership roll is stead
ily on the Increase. Supporters of the
movement are so ambitious as to pro
phesy that within a year or two they
.will have members in every city In the
• The leaders of the anti-kissers are
going about their work in a hard
hearted, cold blooded, but extremely
•loquent manner, and In the face of
the ridicule that naturally follows their
•Sorts, are steadily gaining headway.
\u25a0 A word or two descriptive of the
\u25a0woman at the head of the crusaders
day 6erve to make one understand the
Seriousness with which the takers of
the peculiar pledge are prosecuting
their missionary work.
.. Her name is Mrs. John Rechtin. She
:fs. a rather attractive looking, dark
haired, brown eyed little woman of
•.bout 25 years, who long before mar
ried was diametrically opposed to pro
miscuous kissing. She began to preach
her doctrine to her husband, won him
.to • her way of, thinking, and then
started on her friends, with such suc
<ees that the "World's health organiza
tion" was founded, and she was enthu
siastically rleeted its first president.
Mrs. Rechtin believes a kiss to be the
greatest disease spreader and germ car
rier in existence, and her pet theory is
that when the people of the world are
•,11 made to think so, too, a general Im
provement in public health and morals
Will be inevitable.
. Just now the anti-kiss leader is de
voting her attention to the conversion
of the fair sex, particularly the young
women of Cincinnati, who are about to
hecome Ibrides. Here is the pledge that
the enthusiast causes to be sent to
•very bride to be with the petition that
. It be signed before the eve of her wed
"In order to encourage good health
»nd lessen the spread of consumption
X desire to join the World's health or
\u25a0 canization and hereby pledge myself to
\u25a0discourage the custom of kissing on
• the lips whenever it is in nly power. I'
• If the recipient of the petition signs
f>nd returns- the pledajp she is furnished
With an attractive button inscribed with
\u25a0 the words "I won't kij?s."
. "The custom of kissing: v. bride on.
Her wedding day fs-a most dangerous
one," said Mrs. Rechtln during an in
terview recently. "To stamp . out, this
evil at once would be to accomplish the
Impossible, but we have made the start
and are much "encouraged. \u25a0
"Seventy-five prospective brides have _
Joined the organization this month. On
their wedding day they will wear the
button of the society."
The antl-kisslng leaders have mapped
out a long campaign, and when^ it ends
kissing will be a lost art, they hope.
Soon they will try to make members of
public speakers and^Blngers— of every
body "whose success in life depends on
healthy vocal cords."
In August fathers and mothers will
be ur,ged not to kiss their babies.
In September teachers will implore
their pupils to abjure kissing.
October the less kissing the less haz
ardous the work of street cleaners and
laundresses; so the organization will
seek members on the highways and in
In November women belonging -to
church clubs, card, clubs and .literary
clubs will be asked to join and to^wear :
their badges at club meetings. .
- "And in December, with its Christmas
weddings, we. shall . turn our attention,
to lovers," said the president.'- . " 'My
life for just one kiss' sounds thrilling
in romance and poetry. But disillusion
is found in- the hospitals, whence lovers '
follow each other to the grave in a few
short months." > ." ;
"To kiss or not to kiss?" is a question
that bids fair to be discussed before
long throughout the country.* Mrs.
llechtin's society is now known In all.
of the principal cities, and arrange- .
ments are being made for > the,." estab- .
lishment of hundreds of branch 1 offices. A
In . Xew York, Philadelphia and other
cities or the east .the nonkiss idea: has ;
not met with the favor with which- it -
has been greeted by the people .of Cm-;
cinnati. Here area few opinions- ex
pressed by eastern clubwomen of promi
nence. . \u25a0 ;\u25a0„ . v: v ,'~ \u25a0•.\u25a0-;.*•'. \u25a0 •
Mrs. Philip Van Valckenburgh, who '
has been married three times, ' says: '
"I don't think life would be worth liv
ing without kisses. They are as old as
the world. I'm perfectly sure Eve knew
about kissing before she listened to the ,
serpent. Of course, • I don't believe -in \
promiscuous kissing, which cheapens
the value of the kiss; but it is s'Hly to
talk about discouraging all kissing."
Miss Alberta Hill, suffragist — I was
brought up in Japan, where they don't
: ' Crusade Which Seeks to Banisli Com-
|;Tlie j Saji^rOT^cq^[email protected]'
Ho such things. So. of course. T suppose
I don't know anything about it. But,
whenever I am told not to do any
thing. I always want to go straight and \u25a0
do it. So if a society is organized to
prevent people from kissing— (a pause
and; then a stammer) — well — II — X—
think all the other girls, who weren t
brought up in Japan, will want to see
why kisslng's so bad.
Mrs. Belle de Rivera, president of tne
New York city federation — I think the
agitation is extremely silly and in very
poor taste. Every one knows a great
deal of harm may be done by the pro
miscuous kissing of children. The fact
is so well understood it seem* silly to
try to organize it. I, feel certain New
York clubwomen will riot Join in any
such foolish, sensational. agitation.
Mrs. William Cummings Story—
Frankly. I never gave the question a
serious thought, but (diplomatically)
it must have a certain amount of Im
portance or the Cincinnati women
would not have deemed it worthy of
their serious attention.
Mrs. Harrtette J_. Wood — I think the
practice of kissing Is altogether too ex
tensive. The habit of certain society
.women of saluting each other with a
kiss every time they casually meet is
-extremely silly. A handshake Is In
much better taste. But a mother
; eb'ould kiss her children whenever she
\u25a0 chooses. . unless she is a victim of
disease. Her kisses are tha result of a
v lovely, natural impulse of affection, and
the -children can receive nothing but
good from them. As to forbidding
young men and women to kiss — well. I
think they ara old enough to look out
' for themselves. And even If the prac
tice fs an evil, every evil has its com
pensations, you know.
Dr. Eugenia Hancock— There are dis
eases'terrible in their effect that are
transmitted with the- utmost ease by
kissing. And all ouryounj? people are
equally in danger. Yet kissing Is a
.natural, .wholesome thing In its origin,
and sentimental considerations -would
make its banishment impossible. It Is
the very.flavor of all poetry and sons
\u25a0 \u25a0 \u25a0 \u25a0.--\u25a0. -.
fend romance. • But it . shoald be prop
erly safeguarded. It woul.J not be such
4 a bad i.Tea If all young people had to
. produce health Certificates before kiss
ing, or any other forms of courtship are
Mrs. Winifred H. Cooler, national
secretary of the Allied Clubs of Domes
tic Science — "It seems to me such things
\u25a0as domestic service an * good roads and
pure food and adequate schools- are
much more Important than to kiss or
not to kiss/ "
•Mrs. Ida Husted Harper — "If women
could vote they wouldn't be worrying
their heads about being kissed."
"When it is in my potter." runs the
anti-kisslng pledge. When the full
moon's rays vainly seek to penetrate
the honeysuckles that shadow the dark
est corner of the piazza; when the dear
est* fellow in the world Is seated next
to her there; when gently he puts hia
arm around her waist and leans toward
her — [ ,-' \u25a0 . •
Is it .in her power then "to discour
age the custom of kissing on the lips"?
Ah; the danger of it. Did she only
know it, all around her the malevolent
bacilli of tuberculosis are laughing *°r
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