Love Letter Begs for Date
Betty Mason Arthurs
Long before the internet and online dating sites, young ladies communicated with potential “matches” by letter, hand-written or typed on ancient typewriters. Like most senior folk, I miss those days when you could unfold a piece of stationary and reread a love note, not an e-mail, from your sweetheart. When I was dating my husband John, he left me sweet notes in my college mail box. I also loved getting letters from my mother when I lived miles away from her. So it was no surprise that I found some letters she had saved in a box from the 1950s and 1960s. One mysterious letter, written to my 19-year-old brother Mark, when he was in junior college, made me wonder, “Why did Mom keep this? Who typed the letter, its keys skipping and smudges of ink on every line?” I’ll share the letter.
November 17, 1960
I have often thought of you but I have never been able to bring myself to the point of actually writing to you. I hope you don’t think that I am too forward. Actually I am very shy, and somewhat cute, if I do say so myself. My problem is this: I don’t have a date to the banquet yet and I was wondering if you could possibly (now if you won’t don’t hesitate to say no, for it wouldn’t hurt my feelings too much. I mean, I would get over it in a couple of weeks, I think.) find it in your heart to try to help me out of my predicament which is very embarrassing to me. You see, I was once homecoming queen of my high school and since then I have never wanted for dates, that is, until now. Now I come to (Christian college), which they all told me was just about as close to heaven as one could possibly get and I haven’t had a single date as of yet. This is really hard to take. I have noticed that you haven’t had too many dates this year so I thought you might be in a similar predicament. So I am writing this letter to tell you I would be happy to date you even if no one else is. If you want to contact me, please write to Box 26, as I have a private box at the post office. I am a town student but am only 20 y/o. Of course I am too shy and modest to sign my name, but as soon as I receive your letter I will gladly let you know who I am. Until then, love, ????????
Can you imagine a young lady pouring her heart out like this on a dating site today? I cringe when I think of the ridicule and bullying a desperate girl would receive if she admitted she needed a date. I think my tender-hearted mother kept the letter because she had once longed for dates. I know I did in high school in the 1960s. I can’t ask her because she died in 1985. I would like to tease my brother and ask him, “Did you take her to the banquet?” but he is gone too. Mark, who always had girls chasing him, often wrote to our folks, “I’ve got a banquet coming up. Can you send $20?” The joke in our household was, “When we hear from the boys it’s because they need money.” Even today, girls don’t understand that not all guys have a nice suit or tux to wear or a car to drive, plus money for prom, a corsage and dinner at a nice restaurant.
This letter speaks to me about teen girls and self esteem. Not much has changed even with the advent of internet communication. Maybe you’ve heard the story of a young lady who had a pair of men’s jeans on the end of her bed. Every night she knelt and prayed, “God please fill those jeans with a man for me.” I don’t know if God ever answered her, but I chuckle at her ingenuity.
My heart goes out to the writer, since she thinks having lots of dates will bring her happiness. I want to hug her, like I did with my daughter, and say, “Sweetheart, tell God your desires and your dreams. No one will ever love you as much as He does. Only He can be trusted to give you the love you long for.” Scripture is full of promises and one of my favorites is found in Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV), “’‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’”
Do you know a lonely young lady who longs for dates or wants to be married? What advice would you give her?