Thursday, December 03, 2009

Ten Tips for Young Ladies

I found a wonderful book today called "Confidential Chats with Girls", written a century ago by a doctor called William Lee Howard.

The book is mainly preoccupied with the physical changes that take place during puberty, but Doctor Howard decided to go beyond his original remit and share the following pearls of wisdom.

Young ladies, take note:
  • Don't dress in a loud and gaudy maner unless you wish to attract men of loud and loose principles
  • Don't have any pity for flies and insects - kill them
  • Don't be a giggling girl. The practice of giggling will certainly develop those tiny skin muscles in a way to make your face show some kind of distortion
  • If you have flushed your intestines with water and fruit, you may eat all the cakes and sugar you wish
  • Avoid all thoughts, reading or association which will affect the nervous system, if you wish to have a beautiful complexion
  • The dressing of the feet is, perhaps, the first thing a refined and cultivated man looks at. The girl who displays high-heeled shoes and thin silk stockings on a winter's day, may attract attention, but not respect
  • Woolen undergarments are a most prolific source of mischief
  • Don't use arsenic in any form for your complexion or to give your face a plump appearance
  • Don't swagger around in public nor attempt to thrust yourself forward. A modest girl will not let herself become prominent in public places
  • You are safer in kissing a person with consumption than you are in wetting your finger to turn over the pages of a book
So there you have it. In short: stay in the background, eat cakes and kill flies. But don't wear woolen undies. As far as feet are concerned, I think that Dr Howard has his own agenda.


Unknown said...

Oh my goodness, that is fantastic. Thanks for sharing.

Grey Area said...

Right! I'm off to buy woolly Y-fronts and kiss all the consumptives I can find.

Sophie said...

How utterly fabulous. I think I'll pin this to my bedroom door so I have all his wonderful advice fresh in my mind when I leave the house every morning.

Bev said...

Brilliant- love the nappy hats too.

Steerforth said...

Those young women are my great aunts. Luckily, they lived to a good age and I remember them quite well.

Lewis William said...

Utterly ageless wisdom.

The Poet Laura-eate said...

I think you may be right. I am discarding my woollen undergarments as we speak! ;-)

By killing flies, does he mean 'bar flies' though? I fear I have been getting it wrong all these years!