There's a Hook on That Baited Line!

Robert G. Niss

"I can't say no! " made sparkling lyrics for the musical "Oklahoma!" but any girl who doesn't have a sturdy "No" somewhere in her vocabulary today is liable to be headed for trouble.

Under the influence of an attractive "line" she may find herself floundering in dangerous waters before she knows it.

It's a smart fish who knows there's a hook under the bait and doesn't bite.

How many of these lines might draw you in?

Everybody does it! -- This is generalizing a few cases to make it seem as if you're the only one out of step. If there is a tussle between going along with the crowd and your conscience, better listen to your conscience. No one ever became a really valuable or extraordinary person without being willing to take a few steps above the crowd.

You're chicken! -- Calling you a name doesn't make you that thing. You show more mettle by standing up for your convictions than by giving in to practices that could harm your health or reputation.

Nobody will know! -- Don't you believe it! Even if a boy doesn't brag about his conquests (and most of them do), if a girl gets into trouble, everyone will know. And, practices such as smoking and drinking eventually become evident both physically and mentally. The results of these habits cannot remain well hidden for very long. Never forget, you will know first of all then everyone can see.

You will if you love me! -- This is the oldest gambit in the book. Smoking, drinking, or petting are not signs of love or friendship. All you are doing is satisfying the passions of an uncontrolled youth or giving in to childish thrills of the gang. If they really loved you or wanted to be true friends, they would not ask you to do anything that would harm your health or lower your moral principles.

Nobody understands me! -- Here is where the fellow cries on your shoulder to make you feel sorry for him since his parents "don't love him" and he's "so alone." Don't give in to his desires. This wouldn't solve his problem. What he really needs is interests, understanding, and someone to whom to talk about his troubles.

You're beautiful! -- There isn't a girl alive who isn't attracted by this bait, but the girl who lacks self-assurance is in the most danger. She may look for compliments by wearing wild hairdos and too much makeup, and sporting a long cigarette holder she fancies gives her a sophisticated look. When an experienced "angler" dangles his line, she may be all too eager to snap at the bait. Remember, if the fellow really means it, you won't need cigarettes or tight dresses to draw his compliments.

You won't get hurt! -- Oh, no? Just bone up on your statistics. The correlation between smoking and cancer is not debatable any more. The suffering and grief caused by even "social drinking" is measured in terms of highway deaths, unwed mothers, unstable homes, and sudden acts of violence. Drinkers' damage to themselves, their relatives, and their community is inestimable.

You'll be popular! -- Popular with whom? The less desirable crowd, that's Who! You cannot win true popularity merely by popping a bottle of "fag" into your mouth.

January 13, 1972