Main  Contacts  
Table of contents
PREFACE
INTRODUCTION-1.1
INTRODUCTION-1.2
INTRODUCTION-1.3
INTRODUCTION-1.4
INTRODUCTION-1.5
INTRODUCTION-1.6
INTRODUCTION-1.7
FOOTNOTES-1
FOOTNOTES-2
THE STUDY OF SEXUAL INVERSION
SEXUAL INVERSION IN MEN-1
SEXUAL INVERSION IN MEN-2
SEXUAL INVERSION IN MEN-3
HISTORY-1-2-3-4
HISTORY-5
HISTORY-6
HISTORY-7-8
HISTORY-9
HISTORY-10-11-12
HISTORY-13-14
HISTORY-15
HISTORY-16-17-18-19
HISTORY-20
HISTORY-21 (begin)
HISTORY-21 (end)
HISTORY-22-23-24
HISTORY-25
HISTORY-26
HISTORY-27
HISTORY-28-29-30-31-32
HISTORY-33
SEXUAL INVERSION IN WOMEN-1
SEXUAL INVERSION IN WOMEN-2
SEXUAL INVERSION IN WOMEN-3
SEXUAL INVERSION IN WOMEN-4
HISTORY-34-35-36-37
HISTORY-38
HISTORY-39.1
HISTORY-39.2
HISTORY-39.3
HISTORY-39.4
FOOTNOTES
THE NATURE OF SEXUAL INVERSION-1
THE NATURE OF SEXUAL INVERSION-2
THE NATURE OF SEXUAL INVERSION-3
THE NATURE OF SEXUAL INVERSION-4
FOOTNOTES
THE THEORY OF SEXUAL INVERSION-1
THE THEORY OF SEXUAL INVERSION-2
THE THEORY OF SEXUAL INVERSION-3
CONCLUSIONS-1
CONCLUSIONS-2
CONCLUSIONS-3
CONCLUSIONS-4
FOOTNOTES
APPENDIX A
APPENDIX B-1
APPENDIX B-2-3-4
INDEX OF AUTHORS

APPENDIX B. 

 

THE SCHOOL-FRIENDSHIPS OF GIRLS. 

 

I. 

 

 

A school-friendship is termed by Italian girls a "flame" (_flamma_). This 

term, as explained by Obici and Marchesini, indicates, in school-slang, 

both the beloved person and the friendship in the abstract; but it is a 

friendship which has the note of passion as felt and understood in this 

environment. In every college the "flame" is regarded as a necessary 

institution. The relationship is usually of a markedly Platonic character, 

and generally exists between a boarder on one side and a day-pupil on the 

other. Notwithstanding, however, its apparently non-sexual nature, all the 

sexual manifestations of college youth circle around it, and in its 

varying aspects of differing intensity all the gradations of sexual 

sentiment may be expressed. 

 

Obici and Marchesini carried on their investigation chiefly among the 

pupils of Normal schools, the age of the girls being between 12 and 19 or 

20. There are both boarders and day-pupils at these colleges; the boarders 

are most inflammable, but it is the day-pupils who furnish the sparks. 

 

Obici and Marchesini received much assistance in their studies from former 

pupils who are now themselves teachers. One of these, a day-pupil who had 

never herself been either the object or the agent in one of these 

passions, but had had ample opportunity of making personal observations, 

writes as follows: "The 'flame' proceeds exactly like a love-relationship; 

it often happens that one of the girls shows man-like characteristics, 

either in physical type or in energy and decision of character; the other 

lets herself be loved, acting with all the obstinacy--and one might almost 

say the shyness--of a girl with her lover. The beginning of these 

relationships is quite different from the usual beginnings of friendship. 

It is not by being always together, talking and studying together, that 

two become 'flames'; no, generally they do not even know each other; one 

sees the other on the stairs, in the garden, in the corridors, and the 

emotion that arises is nearly always called forth by beauty and physical 

grace. Then the one who is first struck begins a regular courtship: 

frequent walks in the garden when the other is likely to be at the window 

of her class-room, pauses on the stairs to see her pass; in short, a mute 

adoration made up of glances and sighs. Later come presents of beautiful 

flowers, and little messages conveyed by complacent companions. Finally, 

if the 'flame' shows signs of appreciating all these proofs of affection, 

comes the letter of declaration. Letters of declaration are long and 

ardent, to such a degree that they equal or surpass real 

love-declarations. The courted one nearly always accepts, sometimes with 

enthusiasm, oftenest with many objections and doubts as to the affection 

declared. It is only after many entreaties that she yields and the 

relationship begins." 

 

Another collaborator who has herself always aroused very numerous "flames" 

gives a very similar description, together with other particulars. Thus 

she states: "It may be said that 60 per cent. of the girls in a college 

have 'flame' relationships, and that of the remaining 40 only half refuse 

from deliberate repulsion to such affections; the other 20 are excluded 

either because they are not sufficiently pleasing in appearance or because 

their characters do not inspire sympathy." And, regarding the method of 

beginning the relationship, she writes: "Sometimes 'flames' arise before 

the two future friends have even seen each other, merely because one of 

them is considered as beautiful, sympathetic, nice, or elegant. Elegance 

exerts an immense fascination, especially on the boarders, who are bound 

down by monotonous and simple habits. As soon as a boarder hears of a 

day-pupil that she is charming and elegant she begins to feel a lively 

sympathy toward her, rapidly reaching anxiety to see her. The longed-for 

morning at length arrives. The beloved, unconscious of the tumult of 

passions she has aroused, goes into school, not knowing that her walk, her 

movements, her garments are being observed from stairs or dormitory 

corridor.... For the boarders these events constitute an important part of 

college-life, and often assume, for some, the aspect of a tragedy, which, 


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