The play opens with young Wendla Bergmann watching herself in the mirror and frustrated with the long length of her new dress. Her mother scolds her, telling Wendla that she is too old for childish dresses as she is now fourteen. Wendla taunts Frau Bergmann, saying that perhaps she will not grow up at all. Her mother gives in, and tells Wendla that she may wear her short dress for one more season.
The next scene finds the schoolboys along the street as the day fades into dusk. The boys – especially Georg, Otto, Robert, and Ernst – bemoan the workload from their teachers, and go home, leaving Melchior Gabor and Moritz Stiefel alone. Moritz reservedly broaches the subject of male sexuality with Melchior. He has dreamed of legs in blue stockings, and awoken to find himself a mess, and doesn’t know what to do. Melchior comforts Moritz, telling him that the “masculine itch” is normal. Moritz relies on Melchior’s expertise on the topic, and goes so far to ask him for a detailed, illustrated