There was a time petting was an All American sport. Sexual touching short of intercourse of any kind. The whole gambit: vaginal, oral and anal. If I missed one form, I apologize.
I decided to write about petting today because of the Cuomo “scandal.” If my recollection proves correct, none of the three variations mentioned have been claimed to have occurred. Involved was some touching, a quick kiss on the cheek, perhaps one quickie on the lips, holding, rubbing non sexual body parts except for the breasts. It is alleged the breasts were touched from outside the dress or blouse, expect in one instance. In that, the woman claims he put his hand under her blouse. No mention if the bra or flesh itself was touched. Less I forget, some sexual conversation. Nothing that could be described as dirty.
All of this resulting in a major scandal.
Lets go back to the 1920’s and 1930’s. Sexual women, scandalous women, were known as flappers.
It was 1931. The air on Chicago’s 57th Street art colony crackled with “sexual tension.” What once was a wild bohemian party was now something more intimate.
A “petting party” was going on. The event took place in a night club, bar, private group parties, wherever. This particular one a night club. Privacy not a concern. The woman was the attacker/provocateur. One woman and six men. Clothes always remained on. Private parts never shown.
The solitary woman caressed and touched the six men. That’s all. Again, she never went all the way. The woman would mingle and eventually start kissing, and then move on to something more intimate Again, short of actual sex. The men were not permitted to touch back.
Petting had become the fad of the time. It titillated youth, socialized adults and stoked the myth of the immoral flapper. Women drank alcohol, smoked cigarettes, chasing a life style that would have been unthinkable. Dabbled in bohemianism. Hair cuts were were short. Dress showed off a woman’s fabulously slender figure. Her talk used daring slang. She would date multiple men before marriage.
These were liberated women. The petting parties epitomized everything that was evil about the Jazz Age. The parties all had the same goal: Physical pleasure.
Note, these were not orgies. A far cry from them. They encouraged experimentation and created clear limits.
Petting had a flexible meaning for participants. For some, merely a long kiss. For others, more intense physical conduct. As already described, initiated by women. They did the touching, the men did not touch in return.
The petting party was a means for a woman to be safe yet not sorry. A way to explore her sexuality without experiencing things like the loss of virginity, pregnancy, or sexually transmitted infections.
Senior citizens looked down on women who participated in these events. Simply stated, bad girls. The playing was not considered healthy.
Flappers wanted to party instead of settling down. The Washington Post in a 1924 article wrote one study which indicated 92 percent of college women had tried petty partying. Another study found 62 percent of women thought the practice was essential in order to be popular.
The Washington Post further intimated women preferred petting to outright sex since the same would preserve their reputations. They were living in a time where their reputations could still be irreparably damaged by divorce or an illegitimate child.
If petting parties are rare today, it’s not because they are no longer needed. The mores of today frown not on divorce or illegitimacy. Even real sex outside of marriage is acceptable.
One of the loves of my life is my grandson Robert Malcom. He is a senior at the Key West High School..
Yesterday’s Key West Citizen ran an article about a “Senior Sportable.” Robert was the person interviewed for the article.
Robert is a top tennis player. The interview was excellent. As were Robert’s responses.
His life is before him. It should be a good one. As long as he keep thinking and doing as he is. I am a born worrier. Concerned might be a better description. I have seen too many changes on the part of our young ones as they get out into the world.
Steve’s progress is amazing. In 1975, he opened his third Key West Taco Company store. This one in Cocoa Beach. Not just a shack on the beach selling tacos through a tiny window. Cocoa Beach was a huge magnificent building. I have seen photos of it. He also had a band that played in the back.
Steve operated Cocoa Beach into the 1990’s.
Everywhere Steve goes, he has a “star” associated some how with him. In Cocoa Beach, it was Kelly Slater.
Slater was an American professional surfer. Considered the best in the U.S. for 11 years. Unprecedented. No one has passed the mark he set.
Steve’s Cocoa Beach story as told in TACOS paragraph 24.
Cocoa Beach was store number three / No big waves just sand and sea / We were right on the beach and we had our own band / You could park your car right out on the sand / A store up the street sold surf boards and thongs / It’s a little bigger now, called Ron Jons / A local kid came looking for work / For something to do when he couldn’t surf / I met his folks and his brother later / The world’s best surfer named Kelly Slater.
Enjoy your day!