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The Perils Of The Waltz
August 1957 | Volume 8, Issue 5
Among the most disgusting of these importations is the fashion of waltzing, which is becoming common here of late. It was introduced, as I understand, by a party of would-be fashionables that saw it practiced at the operas, with such enchanting languor, grace, and lasciviousness that they fell in love with it and determined to bless their country by transplanting the precious exotic. I would not be understood to censure those nations among whom the waltz is, as it were, indigenous—a national dance. Habit, example, and practice from their earliest youth accustom the women of these countries to the exhibition, and excuse it. But for an American woman, with all her habits and opinions already formed, accustomed to certain restraints, and brought up with certain notions of propriety, to rush into a waltz, to brave the just sentiment of the delicate of her own and the other sex, with whom she has been brought up and continues to associate, is little creditable to good sense, her delicacy, or her morals. Every woman does, or ought to, know that she cannot exhibit herself in the whirling and lascivious windings of a waltz without calling up in the minds of men feelings and associations unworthy of the dignity and purity of a delicate female. The lascivious motions—the upturned eyes, the dizzy endings, the twining arms and projecting front—all combine to waken in the bosom of the spectators analogies, associations, and passions, which no woman who values the respect of the world ought ever willfully challenge or excite.