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DONNA ROSS’ COPY of is dog-eared and marked with highlights and annotations.
As a homeschooled teenager in Florida, Ross attended Harris’ book tours, bought the cassette tapes of his speeches, even tacked a poster of his face up on her bedroom wall (“What, he was cute! She bought extra copies of and passed them out to her friends: “I wanted everyone to see this vision of a beautiful community, of heaven. Though she had hoped to find her life partner by graduation, she quickly realized she didn’t know how to express or reciprocate interest in a man, because for so long she had associated that with “emotional fornication.” Anytime she made prolonged eye contact, initiated a conversation, or smiled too much with a man, guilt shut her down. Jodi Breneman was 13 when her father put a purity ring on her finger and watched her make an abstinence vow in front of her church congregation.
She was a college freshman when she realized that her anti-dating rules were no longer cool.
In fact, they now sounded downright silly and embarrassing.
Finally, when the coast seemed clear, he asked Katie, “Can I put my arm around you? About four months later, she said yes again when he asked her to marry him.
Ly’s conservative approach to romance was influenced, he says, by sold more than 1.2 million copies and became an icon of the 1990s purity movement, which emphasized spiritual, physical, and emotional purity before marriage.
She was friendly with men, but didn’t know how to flirt back, so men who initially had crushes on her backed off.
Back when the book topped the bestseller list, many of its readers were in their teenage years—a stage typically marked by raging hormones and dating experiments, when peers were trembling over their first kiss and parading their first official boyfriend or girlfriend in school.
Kids broke love vows, lost their virginity, broke hearts.
Now 29, still single and dateless in a church full of singles, Breneman no longer wants to wait around.
She tried online dating but stopped after three dates that unearthed too-raw anxieties inside her—learning curves she wishes she had experienced back in high school.
At the time, Harris was fresh out of his first serious relationship and frustrated at the loose morals of his generation.