In September 1991, our 17-year-old daughter was living at the dorm and attending classes at New Mexico State University. I sent Jessica a letter to help her recognize manipulative messages and to show her the practical implications of the Christian faith in which we had raised her. Later, with her permission, I gave parts of that letter to several other young women who needed the same guidance. These are excerpts:
There’s a little song your grandparents and great-grandparents used to sing called “Gimme a Little Kiss.” It’s a funny ditty about a boy trying to convince a girl to kiss him. I always thought it was cute. A couple of years ago it struck me, though, that this song is a primer on classic manipulative approaches. Both women and men use these tactics to get their way. Sometimes people are unaware, or only dimly aware, of what they are doing – except that, if they’re honest, they’ll admit they’re trying to overcome the other person’s resistance in order to get their own way. People also use these tactics to weasel out of their legitimate responsibilities.
Here’s the song, with the lines numbered for my comments later:
(1) Gimme a little kiss, will ya huh?
(2) What are you going to miss, will ya huh?
(3) Gosh oh gee, why do you refuse?
(4) I can’t see what you’re gonna lose, oh
(5) Gimme a little squeeze, will ya huh?
(6) Why do you wanna make me blue?
(7) I wouldn’t say a word if I was askin’ for the world,
(8) But what’s a little kiss between a fella and his girl? O
(9) Gimme a little kiss, will ya huh?
(10) And I’ll give it right back to you!