Hope Katz Gibbs

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Noteworthy LOVE [Kids Today / USA Today]

by Hope Katz Gibbs
Kids Today / USA Today
Cover story
May 26, 1996

“I think of you always, Snookums! I can’t live without you, Peachy Sweetie Pants! Your cutie, little sugar smile makes me squishy, Sweet loverdums!”

Imagine you wrote this to the unbearably cute classmate you would like to date. Now, imagine your very loud best friend found it and read it to the school.

Yes, love can be painful.

But don’t fret, says Omaha, Neb., psychologist and author Pat Hudson. Love letters still are one of the best ways to profess your affection for someone. You just need to mix a bit of rational thought into the swirling, irrational emotion of infatuation.

“It’s tough, but you’ve got to step away from your emotions,” Hudson says.

If you write a love letter, hold onto it for 24 hours, she says. That gives you time to rethink what you have written, “so you won’t regret having written it.” After a day, read it back to yourself and ask:

• Would I feel silly if somebody else read this?

• Do I sound desperate? Are there lines like, “I can’t live without you? If so, rewrite it ‘Desperation isn’t appealing,” Hudson says.

• Is there any sexually explicit language? Get it out of the letter. It’s a sure turn off, really inappropriate and just in think if your parents found the note.

• Am I willing to stand behind what I’ve written?’ This is a good way to keep yourself from embarrassment, Hudson says, is to not write something that could eventually come back to haunt you.

“It’s like in politics, you stand up for your ideals. If somebody finds the letter, you can just say that’s how you feel.”

Michelle Lovric, author of “How to Write Love Letters” (Shooting Star, 1995), says the most important thing is to be yourself. “Don’t worry about being very interesting—unless you really are,” she says. “Just show how much fun it would be to know you.”

Most of all, Lovric and several kids agree—be careful about your delivery method.
Shane Darr, 11, from Peoria, Ariz., has never received a love letter, but if he did, he’d like the girl to say that he is cool, sweet and kind. If he were to write a letter, he says he’d have a friend deliver it at recess.

Tammi Shields, an eighth-grader from Louisville, Ky., doesn’t recommend that system.

“My friend gave her note to a friend to deliver to a boy she liked,” Shields says. “That friend read the note and then dropped it. “ By the end of the day everyone knew that she liked a boy. It was a disaster.”

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"I get by with a little help from my friends," says Hope, who gives special thanks to:

• MICHAEL GIBBS, website illustration and design: www.michaelgibbs.com
• MAX KUKOY, website development: www.maxwebworks.com
• STEVE BARRETT, portrait of Hope on Bio page: www.stevebarrettphotography.com

Contact HOPE KATZ GIBBS by phone [703-346-6975] or email.

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