Weird Words of Wisdom: A Million and One Tricks With a Strand of Pearls Edition

“If you don’t know what foods are fattening, ask your chubby friends, because they will know.”

This week’s offering in my Weird Words of Wisdom series will help you get your glamour on for upcoming holiday celebrations—or at least help you learn to stand like a model.

Betty Cornell’s Glamour Guide for Teens, 1951 (1958 printing)

About the Book: This 25-paperback, written by “famous model” Betty Cornell, purports to offer the secrets of beauty and popularity. Actually, it focuses mostly on grooming basics.

About the Author: Betty Cornell is not the pensive blond on the book’s front cover—she is the white-gloved brunette on the inset photos and the back cover. In the 1940s, she was one of the country’s busiest models of juniors’ fashions, but she actually got her start modeling plus-size clothes. She tells her own story in this book’s introduction—the story of how she went from a “tubby teen” to the possessor of “one of the smallest waistlines of any model in New York.”

At age 16, she decided to “really go to work” on her weight problem. By 1947, according to this syndicated newspaper column, she stood 5’ 8.5” tall and weighed only 90 pounds! (The article claims that her waist measured 19.5 inches, and her hips and bust were both 30 inches.)

It’s lucky that 1958 readers didn’t know her 1940s stats, or they might have raised skeptical eyebrows at all her cautions against starvation diets and overly dramatic weight loss.

In 1951, when this book was first published, Cornell had aged out of her career as a junior model. Writing books for teens was the start of a new career. Her other titles would include All About Boys, Betty Cornell’s Teenage Popularity Guide, and (more oddly) Betty Cornell’s Teenage Knitting Book.

In 1952, she married John Joseph “Jack” Huston of Philadelphia and went on to raise three children. Jack died in 2010, at which time Betty was still alive. In 1977, she was one of several former models interviewed for the book Eileen Ford’s Beauty Now and Forever: Secrets of Beauty after 35. Now that’s a book I’ve got to get my hands on!

The Basics of a High School Wardrobe, According to Betty Cornell

Several slips
Half-slips in nylon and cotton (“Cotton to starch for wear under summer skirts”)
Three or four bras
Panties (“Preferably shirred to give good curve control”)
Girdle
Two or three pairs of nylon stockings
White wool socks for sports
Colored socks to match sweaters and skirts
Assorted sweaters, both long- and short-sleeved. (“Pastel colors look pretty in short-sleeved pull-ons.”)
One good basic suit in a neutral color.
Skirts, both pleated and plain, in dark colors and plaids. (“Wool usually wears the best.”)
A raincoat.
A good basic coat, box cut or flare cut.
A dressy coat. (“Here you can take to fitted lines, for you will wear this coat with party dresses and well-cut fitted suits.”)
A party dress.
A formal.
Low-heeled school shoes.
Dress-up shoes. (With Cuban heel—in calf or suede.)
Evening slippers.
Warm gloves for school.
Dress-up gloves. (“A pair of white cottons, kept clean, will fill almost every bill.”)
A hat. (“For church and formal afternoon parties.”)

Sample Menus for Weight Control
Breakfast: Half a grapefruit, 1 poached egg on rye or whole wheat toast with small amount of butter, 1 glass of milk.
Lunch: Small container of cottage cheese, fresh fruit, any kind of lean meat sandwich, consommé, milk
Dinner:  1 glass of tomato juice, generous serving of broiled calf’s liver, serving of cooked carrots, tomato and lettuce salad with lemon juice, fruit Jello, milk.

The liver alone would do much to control my appetite.

Recommended Hairstyles, Based on Face Shape

Round Face: Smooth sides. “The simpler the hair style the better.”
Square Face: Should be short or shoulder-length, never chin-length. “A short bang or flip at the forehead is a flattering touch.”
Long and Narrow Face: Should always be wavy, never straight. “In-between lengths are the best.”
Heart-Shaped Face: “A soft bang at the forehead will help to mask the width.”
Pear-Shaped Face: “She should keep the interest to the top and have her hair at the bottom short enough to curl just slightly over the edges of the jaw.”
Oval Face: “The teen with the oval face may do as she pleases.” (Wow!)

Quotes from Betty Cornell’s Glamour Guide for Teens

“Often it is necessary to squeeze blackheads in order to force out the little plugs of dirt…After squeezing, rub the skin with ice cubes.”

“Beautiful hair is about the most important thing a girl has.”

“When it comes to shampooing your own hair, plan to save at least one night a week for the job. Most teens prefer Thursday night because it puts their hair in shape for the weekend.”

“As for making up your eyes, don’t. Young eyes need no enhancement.”

“To walk gracefully one must move the leg in one piece.”

“The next time you get up to dance, pull in those tummy muscles, tuck in your fanny, pull up your rib cage, and then dance. If you keep your arm lightly on your partner’s shoulder and your head high, you’ll look as light as a thistledown, be you five feet one or five feet eleven.”

“If you’ve ever watched a model in repose, you’ll notice that she stands with one foot at a right angle to the other, rather like a ballet dancer.”

“You should shave your legs at least once a week, and your underarms less often…”

Why every girl should wear a girdle: “Even a teen with a trim figure needs to coax her curves a bit when it comes to wearing slim skirts and slacks. To me there is nothing more repellent than a protruding fanny or a bulging tummy marring the outline of a narrow silhouette.”

“Get to be known for your sense of color or your sense of accessory. Be the girl who knows her way with a scarf or can do a million and one tricks with a strand of pearls.”

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Weird Words of Wisdom: Embracing Our Nature and Destiny Edition

“Unless you are expecting to marry a militant feminist (and if you are, it might be well to reconsider what is in store for you), it is best to remember that even tomboys are actually girls who are just going through a phase, and that ‘equality’ is not the best word to describe what women really want.”

The Girl That You Marry, 1960
By Dr. James H. S. Bossard and Dr. Eleanor Stoker Boll

About This Book: A reviewers’ blurb on the dust jacket says this book will help boys learn “just why the little things that seem so foolish to him are so very important to his girl.” Indeed, the authors attempt to explain the mysterious workings of the female mind through such chapters as “She is Ritualistic and Conservative,” “She Needs Security,” and “She Wants to Be a Mother.”

Oh, the authors do admit these generalizations don’t apply to every girl. “The fact is,” they write, “that some of them are so sick mentally, or maladjusted emotionally or socially that cannot even live at peace with themselves. Among this group are the girls who are rebels against their own nature and destiny.”

By the way, if you’re wondering why teenage boys would be thinking about marriage, it’s interesting to note that the median age at first marriage in 1960 was 20 for girls and 22 for boys. In other words, half the people getting married were below those ages! In 1960, 72 percent of American adults age 18 and older were married. (Today, the median age at marriage has hit a record high in America—26 for women and 28 for men, and only half of adults age 18 and older are married.)

The Macrae Smith Company published this book, and they did a crappy job. It’s riddled with typos.

About the Authors: James H. S. Bossard was a sociology professor at the University of Pennsylvania who published frequently on marriage, family, and child development issues. Eleanor Stoker Boll, another Penn sociology professor, collaborated with him often. I can find almost no biographical information about them beyond what’s on this book’s jacket. Dr. Bossard died in January 1960, before this book hit the shelves. Dr. Boll, who wrote a follow-up book called The Man That You Marry, died in February 1997.

I became slightly obsessed with finding out if these authors were married to each other. A couple of vague hints in this book suggest they were, but I can’t confirm that. In this 1959 article about weddings (which is worth a look, if only for the photo and the sidebar on 1950s wedding costs), Dr. Bossard refers to Dr. Boll as his associate. Given their attachment to traditional gender roles, I’m curious how their academic partnership worked if they were husband and wife—and even more curious about how it worked if they weren’t.

Strange Sidelight: Both Drs. Bossard and Boll worked for the William T. Carter Foundation for Child Development at Penn. While looking for information about them, I learned about William T. Carter’s son Billy—a cad who let his wife and children fend for themselves on the Titanic. His car was the model for the car where Jack and Rose got busy in the movie Titanic.

Quotes from The Girl That You Marry

On Men and Women

“Our assumption is that the girl you are going to marry is like most American girls…She likes being a girl, and she wants to become a real woman.”

“Girls are built and designed to do certain things and boys to do different things. Girls excel in some things and lag in others, just as boys do, and the more normal the boy is and the more normal the girl he marries, the more this is apt to be the case.”

“The most secure feeling that a young bride can have is the confidence that she is married to a man…A wife looks to her husband as to Gibraltar—as a rock of strength and stability. If her husband does not prove to be that, the wife loses the comfortable feeling of having a man to rely upon for things she is not equipped by nature to do as well for herself. She also is a bit disappointed in him as a male.”

“Your wife will experience this secure sense of worthiness when you recognize her as different from you and support her femininity in a manly way.”

“A boy who has not grown up with sisters is often surprised at the quick changes of reaction and mood of his new bride. She may seem sparkling and strong one day and depleted, depressed and irritable the next few days, only to return after this to her former cheery self.”

On the Relative Importance of Clothing to Men and Women

“By ages eighteen and nineteen, the popular ages for girls to marry today, she has been reared to place great stress upon being well dressed, and with many appropriate changes. This is a necessity in the competition to attract boys and to get a husband. Later, when she is a wife, it is still necessary if her husband and children are to be proud of her and if she is to maintain her self-respect and her position as a wife and a mother among other women and men.”

“…boys have been brought up to think that being well dressed themselves is a sign of, or close to, sissiness. The male author recalls across the span of many years the day he took a brand new pair of shoes and ‘worked over’ the outside with a rough stone to take away the newness of their appearance.”

On the Importance of Wedding Symbols and Festivities to Women

“An engaged girl without a ring is perpetually aware of the unseemly nakedness of her finger. Girls take great delight in visible symbols of a man’s love for them. They differ from most men in this.”

“That strange community of females that finds such romance in these occasions will probably take up her time, and yours, increasingly with showers and parties…Added this this, the girl has new and absorbing interests. The hope chest must be equipped. Every new acquisition is exciting to a girl who is picturing its use in your home and hers. Fortunate is the boy who has, or can assume, interest in guest towels and double damask dinner napkins…”

“Were you to become President of the United States, you would probably not want to be inaugurated in private. Her wedding is just as important as that to her.”

On “Sexual Adjustment”

“It has quite generally been found true that the girl who has the least petting experience before marriage is the girl apt to take longest for satisfactory sexual adjustment in marriage. And practically everyone who has questioned large groups of boys about their attitudes on premarital sex experiences finds that boys, many of whom are quite willing to exploit other girls, want their own to have had practically no petting experience.”

“Your bride, if she loves you, will comply with your wishes often, without any resistance whatsoever, in spite of surrounding conditions, and you will both find a kind of satisfaction.”

On Homemaking

“…girls are reared to be domestic, to think of homemaking as a very important job. The girl who is happy about being a girl loves this job and wants to do it in the best possible way.”

“A husband should no more try to direct his wife’s housekeeping than she should try to direct his business.”

“When the woman from next door drops in, or the boss and his wife come for dinner, no one will blame the husband if the house is ill-kept and the food unpalatable and badly served. They will only pity him…And strangely enough, those same husbands who care not what conditions the lady next door may drop in upon, swell with pride when the boss praises “your charming home” and “the little woman’s dinner party.”

“She wants to please you. Be patient with her and encourage her, and you may be the prime factor in turning an experienced young girl into the chef of chefs.”

On Parenthood

“Adult males who are physically and mentally healthy, usually are quite aware of the importance of their part in reproduction and, at some time in their lives, feel like less than whole men if they have never played their role in creating a new life. How much more is this true of the female, whose whole body has been shaped by nature for the role of motherhood.”

“The conservatism of the female, which tends to be greater than that of the male throughout life, reaches its peak at the time of motherhood and the rearing of children…As a matter of fact, some of the giddiest girls become the most conservative mothers.”

“A group of fathers in Long Island, New York, has formed a Society of Frustrated Fathers. All their children are girls and as the dads put it, ‘Girls are fine but they don’t play football.’ So these fathers meet to do together and to talk about the things they would talk about at home had they sons of their own.”

And one of the weirdest, most WTF observations ever

“Some psychiatric therapists who work with children and their mothers have told us they think some high-grade morons make better mothers for small children than do well educated and intellectual mothers…What they mean is this: A woman of low mentality can endure and enjoy the constant association with small children, and without strain, because she is mentally in gear with them.”

Read the whole Weird Words of Wisdom series!

Weird Words of Wisdom: Speak Softly and Carry a Hot Breakfast Edition

“It is not enough, if you want to be liked, if you want to be loved, to be merely good. You also have to fight for the good things you want. You have to compete with other girls. What’s more you have to make up your mind to win. Otherwise you’ll not have your pick of the best boys. You’ll only have what’s left over.”

Once Upon a Dream: A Personal Chat with All Teenagers, 1960
By Patti Page

About the Book: Patti Page opens up about her own weaknesses and insecurities as she tells young fans her Cinderella story–a story that transformed Clara Ann Fowler, “that shy, overfed, part Cherokee choir singer from Claremore, Oklahoma,” into a “Singing Rage.” (Although a Cinderella motif pervades the book, the title references a song from Walt Disney’s 1959 film Sleeping Beauty.)

As we’ve seen before in this series, celebrity-written advice books for teens proliferated in the 1950s and early 1960s. While I always wonder how much the celebrities actually “wrote,” I found this book’s voice consistent and believable.

About Patti Page: All I knew about Patti Page going into this book was that she sang “How Much is That Doggie in the Window?” and “The Tennessee Waltz.” The latter was one of the best-selling songs of all time, and Page was the top-selling female artist in the 1950s.

Her rags-to-riches story had a genuinely ragged start—she was the 10th of 11 children, and money was so scarce that she sometimes went to school barefoot. In this book, she tells a moving story about the time she wanted a Mickey Mouse watch so badly that she made one out of paper.

She made up her mind to escape poverty and began to plan for a career as a commercial artist. She took a job making posters at a Tulsa radio station, soon found herself performing on the air whenever they needed a girl singer, and was “discovered” when band manager Jack Rael passed through town and heard her voice on the radio.

To her teenage readers, Page presents herself as shy and insecure, with ongoing weight issues. She talks about a period in her life when she burst into tears after every performance, and she uses the language of psychoanalysis freely.

She writes a lot about her husband, choreographer Charles O’Curran, whom she married in 1956. She doesn’t mention that she had an earlier, short-lived marriage, or that she was O’Curran’s third wife (Betty Hutton was his second). Page and O’Curran would divorce in 1972.

I’ve chosen some of Page’s sillier-sounding statements to feature here, but this book actually gives plenty of good advice. She encourages girls to be themselves, to care about others, and to develop their minds. Though she has a typically 1950s obsession with “femininity,” she advises girls against playing dumb and against letting boys get in the way of their dreams. She even manages to talk about religion without sounding preachy.

Today, at 85, Page is still performing.

Quotes from Once Upon a Dream: Inner and Outer Beauty

“Charm is simply the art of being pleasing…charm is the magic wand that can transform an ugly duckling into a princess, or a shy quiet type into the belle of the ball.”

“The girl who thinks she can get by with an overweight figure by calling attention to her face is only fooling herself. Eventually people notice her figure too. In the same way, the gayest of hats will not make up for a shabby pair of shoes. A tight-fitting sweater is a poor substitute for a bad complexion. No matter how elaborately you do your hair, which may be your good feature, how long do you really think it will keep people from noticing your teeth, which may not be so good?”

Examples that prove personality is more important than beauty: Helen Hayes, Lynn Fontanne, Katharine Cornell, Mary Martin, Ethel Merman. (“True, they’re older now than when they first rose to fame on Broadway, but even in their youth they were never what we might call great beauties.”)

“Once a week…is usually enough to keep the average girl’s hair clean. Thursday or Friday night’s the best time to do it—so you’re all set to look your best for the week-end.” Ew. If I followed this schedule, even as a middle-aged woman, my scalp could help America achieve energy independence.

“If you’re young and healthy, your eyes have enough sparkle and fire without needing any ‘extra added attractions.’ Besides, if you’re an adolescent, you’re mysterious enough. Mascara and eye shadow would make you positively inscrutable.”

“It’s impossible to apply rouge so that it looks natural on tender young cheeks…If you feel you’ve absolutely no color at all, I’d rather you pinched your cheeks—as grandmother used to. After all, she got her man.”

“A lipstick should not only blend with your own coloring but with the color of your dress.”

“The more inconspicuous your clothes, the better. “You don’t want them to distract attention from you. (It is only older women who tend to wear startling colors and daring designs to make up for tired faces and bad figures.)” She’s starting to hurt my feelings now.

Getting Along with Boys

“If you can’t be empathetic, at least be observant, especially when it comes to boys. It’s not so hard to figure out what gives them pleasure and what makes their hair stand on end.”

“Very often, for women especially, conversational ability is only a talent for listening rather than for talking. Of all the women I know, the one I have most often heard described as a brilliant conversationalist scarcely says a world. But when she sits listening to a man, she looks at him as intently as though he were first man she had ever met, and as though speech were something he had just invented.”

“Passion is violence. It is loss of reason. It is a loss of control so complete that it’s too late to say yes, no, or maybe…So the only way to handle an invitation to passion is to say No! And make the reason for your no a moral one.”

“…at one time, a woman’s greatest pride before marriage was in her chastity. It was proof she was good and pure in heart. It meant she had something precious and rather wonderful to give to the one man of her choice. But to take away this pride in virtue and to joke, as some people do, about virginity is to cheapen something rather wonderful. To indulge in sex as a biological act, rather than an expression of love, is to strip a woman’s life of dignity, meaning, and fulfillment.”

“For all their teasing and loose talk, boys—and men, too—are really looking for a girl with the courage to have standards and the wisdom to say no. It’s true, if you say no, there’s a chance you’ll never see the young man again. But there’s an even greater chance he’ll ask you to marry him.”

“There are, so far as I know, only two types of males who don’t resent an aggressive female, and I don’t think you want either of them. One is the vain ladies’ man who waits for girls to call him. He appreciates each call. It’s a tribute, he feels, to his irresistible charms. But this type of man is incapable of love. He can love only himself. The second is the weakling type, with a domineering mother, who likes girls who take charge because they remind him of his mother.”

About the kind of girl who’s a pal to boys: “This type of girl, like most people on earth, eventually does get married. It isn’t necessarily a romantic marriage. In fact, it’s usually a sensible one. But it works because both husband and wife are comfortable.”

“If you will just remember that woman’s traditional role is to help a man make something of himself, you will realize that there is always the chance that you can help the drip of today become the man of the moment tomorrow.”

“When you’re shopping for a dress, do you like to have three to choose from or thirty? Well, it seems to me that choosing a husband is a much more vital decision. And how can a girl be sure she’s making the right choice if she only knows the three or four boys she’s gone steady with?”

“And necking, contrary to popular belief, is not a way to hold a boy—it’s a sure way to lose him. No boy values anything that is too easily won. What’s more, nothing remains static. Necking either develops into something more, after a while, or it dies. Either way, you stand a good chance of the boy’s losing interest in you.”

Marriage and Femininity

“My advice to you is to have a career—not instead of marriage but before it. A career is not only, in my opinion, your best preparation for marriage, but the most enjoyable way to pass the time until you’re over 21 and ready for marriage.”

“…your generation seems to know—at a much younger age than I ever did—that for a truly feminine woman, the only true answer to life is a marriage based on true love.”

On keeping her weight down: “…it’s no longer a matter of professional pride alone. Loving my husband, I have also learned what it means to be a woman. So it’s now a matter of personal pride—the pride of a woman who is loved—that I be as pleasing as I can to my husband. (And my husband just doesn’t happen to like overweight women.)”

“…many men in enumerating the qualities they expect of the ideal woman or the model wife say, ‘Above all she must have a soft voice.’”

An interesting quote, considering that she and her husband had both been married before: “Divorce takes a terrible emotional toll. Something that is sweet and lovely and trusting seems to vanish forever from your life. Sure, you can make a second, more sensible marriage, but it won’t be the romance the first one was when you had the thrill of sharing that first apartment, that first ice cube, maybe even that first baby.” First ice cube?

“…the only way to get a man to come home every night and want to stay there is simply to make your home the place where he enjoys himself the most.”

“I think you’ll find, when your married, that it isn’t nearly so important for you to be interesting as it is to make your husband feel that he’s interesting.”

“The main purpose of marriage, which some people forget, is not just to find someone to share a life with, it’s to raise children. This is why you were born, and why you used to play with dolls.”

“I read somewhere that 60 percent of American husbands get their own breakfasts while their wives stay in bed. To me, this is a sign of trouble…How can (a wife) expect her husband’s continued love if she won’t even get up when he does and see him off to work?”

If you enjoyed this post, take a look at the whole Weird Words of Wisdom series.

And, if you want to see Page in action, here is a 1956 episode of The Patti Page Show.

Weird Words of Wisdom: Attending to Our Bodily Housekeeping Edition

“Many girls feel that it is more delicate to neglect the care of the bowels than to attend to a daily evacuation, but if they would remember that it is just as indelicate to carry effete or dead matter around in the bowels as it would be to carry it upon the person in any other way, they would realize that it was only politeness and refinement to see that this part of their bodily housekeeping was attended to.”

What a Young Woman Ought to Know, 1913
By Mary Wood-Allen

Today, I would love to blog about a book with a Halloween theme. Unfortunately, Vincent Price never wrote an advice book for teens. (He did, however, write a cookbook.) So, the scariest thing that we can do is travel a century into the past to see what the day’s leading authorities were telling girls.

About this Book and Its Author: Born in 1841, Dr. Mary Wood-Allen was a physician and the World Superintendent of the Purity Department of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union (isn’t that an imposing-sounding title?). She was a leading light of the social purity movement in late 19th and early 20th century America, and wrote many books advising girls and women about sexuality and health. Though her views seem far removed from today’s feminist thought, many feminists of her era supported the social purity cause. Social purists believed in giving young women information about sexuality (though they usually did so in an oblique way—they popularized “the birds and the bees” method of explaining reproduction). They also attacked the prevailing double standard that demanded purity from women but found it acceptable for men to visit prostitutes. Their alternative to the double standard was imposing Victorian standards of purity on both sexes.

Wood-Allen was in great demand as a lecturer, as an interesting biographical sketch from 1897 shows:

“At present Dr. Allen has her home in Toledo, Ohio, whence she goes forth into the lecture field. Glorious as has been her work for temperance, that which she has done, and is doing, for social purity is more beautiful. Upon this subject, so difficult to handle, she has spoken Sabbath evenings in many pulpits, and has received the unqualified praise of such noted clergymen as Dr. Heber Newton, Dr. Theodore Cuyler and Dr. Pentecost in the East, and Dr. McLean upon the Pacific coast. She manifests a peculiar fitness for giving wise counsel to girls, and has done acceptable work in this line in schools and colleges. During several winters, by invitation of Miss Grace Dodge, she has spoken to the Working Girl’s Clubs of New York City…Her mission in the work of reform and philanthropy demands a peculiar talent which she possesses in an unusual degree; a scientific education which enables her to speak with authority ; a winning presence ; a musical voice which makes itself heard in the largest building with no apparent effort, and which by its sympathetic quality arrests attention and touches the heart, while her words appeal to the reason, and a gentle womanly manner which converts the most pronounced opposer of woman’s public work. To those who hear her on the platform or in the pulpit, she is a living voice, alluring her hearers to lives of truth and purity, and to those who know her personally she is a sweet womanly presence, the embodiment of those graces which are the power in the home.”

Wood-Allen cites the views of Dr. John Harvey Kellogg several times in this book, and her general views on health seem to accord well with his: Enemas are good, coffee is bad, and “self-abuse” is a dire threat to physical and mental health.

Quotes from What a Young Woman Ought to Know

“The influence of tight clothing upon the pelvic organs is to displace them and create a great many difficulties which we know as ‘Female Diseases.’”

“If you waken unrefreshed (after a night’s sleep), I should want to inquire into your habits of life. Was there opportunity for fresh air to enter your room? Was there in it no uncovered vessel, no old shoes in the closet, no soiled underclothing, nothing that could contaminate the atmosphere? Did you eat a hearty supper late in the evening? Is your system oppressed with a superabundance of sweets?”

“Dancing is a most fascinating amusement, and if it only could be conducted under proper circumstances, it would be very delightful. In itself it is not so objectionable as in its concomitants; the late hours, the improper dressing, the hearty suppers in the middle of the night, the promiscuous association, and the undue familiarity of the attitude of the round dance are what make dancing objectionable.”

“I would like to call your attention to the great evil of romance-reading, both in the production of premature development and in the creation of morbid mental states which will tend to the production of physical evils, such as nervousness, hysteria, and a host of maladies which largely depend on disturbed nerves.”

“The modern play concerns itself principally with a delineation of those phases of life which we condemn when they become reality, and the teaching power of the stage becomes a lesson in wrongdoing which to the young and inexperienced is potent in its suggestiveness.”

On card playing: “The young woman who respects her own intellectual and moral powers will see little charm in manipulating cards in a way to gain a momentary success over another and perhaps arousing unkind feelings, it may be even passions, that may culminate in bloodshed.”

“When girls are so sentimentally fond of each other that they are like silly lovers when together, and weep over each other’s absence in uncontrollable agony, the conditions are serious enough for the consultation of a physician. It is an abnormal state of affairs, and if probed thoroughly, might be found to be a sort of perversion, a sex mania, needing immediate and perhaps severe measures.”

“A young husband exacted of his bride a promise that she would never take a glass of wine except in his company, and when asked the reason, replied that he knew that no woman’s judgment was to be trusted after taking one glass of wine.”

“…the daughter of drunken parents, very often attractive to some men by reason of their excitable, vivacious, neurotic manner, should be carefully avoided by young men in search of wives.”

“Idiocy and inebriety are on the increase among civilized peoples.”

“…while in the human being the procreative act does not kill, it exhausts, and no doubt takes from the vital force of those exercising it. One can feel justified to lose a part of her own life if she is conferring life upon others, but to indulge in such a waste of vital force merely for pleasure is certainly never excusable…”

“A young man may assure you most emphatically that he respects you none the less, although you allow him to hold your hand, or kiss you at parting, but he knows it is not true, and he will admit it to others rather than to the girl herself.”

“…in wedded life, all that is lasting in affection, in tender courtesy, in most intimate companionship, in sweetest demonstration, is possible without the physical union, which in itself is the most transitory of pleasures, but which in unlimited indulgence becomes the most domineering of passions, exhaustive of physical powers and of mental vigor, and absolutely annihilating all true love.”

What a Young Woman Ought to Know is so full of weirdness that you might want to read the whole thing. It’s in the public domain and available for free.

Read the whole Weird Words of Wisdom series.

Weird Words of Wisdom: The 5 Types of People Who Go All the Way Edition

“Just how advisable is it for a farm girl to date a city boy? The chief concern here seems to be her ability to handle a date who is more sophisticated than she is. The old story of the traveling salesman and the farmer’s daughter has some basis in the tendency of certain urban males to try to exploit the presumably more naïve country girl.”

The Art of Dating, 1967 (1969 printing) By Evelyn Millis Duvall with Joy Duvall Johnson

About the Authors: Evelyn Millis Duvall, according to this book’s back cover, was “known nationally and internationally as a top-ranking authority on sex and family life education.” She was no intellectual slouch—she earned a Ph.D. in Human Development from the University of Chicago, and she was a Fellow of the American Sociological Association, which sounds impressive. Her earlier book The Facts of Life and Love for Teenagers went through many printings in the 1950s and 1960s. Her daughter, Joy Duvall Johnson, assisted her in writing this book. She was a University of Chicago graduate, too, with a master’s degree in “social group work.”

About This Book: Having read both this book and The Facts of Life and Love for Teenagers, I’ve found that two qualities distinguish Duvall in the advice-giving game: She has a research-based approach and an obsessive love of detail.

You can see the first quality in the many studies that she cites and statistics that she offers. Here is a fairly typical Duvall passage:

“Professors Kirkpatrick and Caplow found that the most usual course of love is one starting with mutual indifference and moving upward through attraction to love, and either dropping again to indifference, with the broken love affair, or remaining in love at a high level of mutual involvement. One out of every five love affairs studied is irregular in its course, with unpredictable shifts from love to hate to indifference to liking in various combinations throughout the history of the relationship. Somewhat fewer young men and women experience an even more vacillating kind of love that is off-again-on-again, with ups and downs like a roller coaster’s.”

Her love of detail pervades the entire book, which explores dating from every possible angle. Take her guidelines, for instance, about a movie date:

  • Paying for the tickets: “While the fellow buys the tickets, the girl steps aside and looks at the stills outside to avoid the boy any embarrassment he may feel at the ticket window.”
  • Walking in to the theater: “If there is no usher, the boy precedes the girl down the aisle, finds two seats, and steps aside so that the girl may be seated first; he then follows and seats himself behind her.”
  • During the film: “…throwing popcorn or paper, or otherwise behaving like a nuisance, is rude and crude.
  • Getting refreshments: “At (intermission) the boy may ask his date what she would like, then excuse himself while he gets it…If his budget doesn’t call for this extra, a boy should come prepared with some little offering to take the place of purchased refreshments, such as candy from a roll or mints or a stick of gum. The girl accepts the offer graciously without hinting that she would like something else.”
  • Acceptable affection: “The boy may hold the girl’s hand if she has no objection or place his arm over the back of her seat.”
  • Talking: “They may whisper their reactions to the picture or comment to each other about the characters or plot, so long as they neither embarrass each other nor annoy their neighbors.”
  • Leaving the Theater: “…the boy helps the girl into her wraps and waits is the aisle until the girl emerges and precedes him out of the theater. Then, the boy may suggest stopping at a soda fountain, if he wishes, or if it’s early, the girl may invite him to her home for ‘cake and milk’ or whatever she and her family have agreed upon for an evening snack.”

Whew! I was the most socially awkward teenager who ever lived, and even I wouldn’t have needed that much help to get through a simple movie.

Despite her scientific bent, Duvall occasionally lapses into flights of fancy that seem to be inspired by movies rather than real life, circa 1967. In addition to warning about the great urban-rural dating schism, she predicts soap-opera-esque consequences for dating outside one’s social class. She even cites the 1940 movie (or 1939 novel) Kitty Foyle to demonstrate the latter situation’s pitfalls!

Decoding a Previous Owner: A previous owner of my book went crazy underlining passages and scribbling in his or her own, sometimes smug, notes. At first I assumed this mad scribbler was a teenage reader, and it surprised me that any teen was taking this book so seriously in 1969. Then I started to notice that the underlinings included portions aimed at both girls and boys, and I wondered if the reader was a parent, teacher, or some kind of minister. Finally, I hit upon a note that confirmed a church affiliation: Below a passage that described church ladies hosting an after-prom party, my scribbler wrote, “Possibility for our women.” Oh, the fun of reading used books!

More quotes from The Art of Dating

“When the boy on the hill dates the girl from across the tracks, the general public is apt to assume that it’s because she is willing to let him take more liberties with her than would a girl from his own social group.”

Possible dating activity: “An old-fashioned taffy pull lends itself to hilarious, if sticky, informality.”

“Currently some segments of the young adult population try to express their individuality by extremes in hair style and dress. However young people respond to this, most want an attractive date. On one college campus, the men revolted against the trend of certain co-eds to be unkempt. They protested that they wanted girls to look feminine. Most fellows would agree.”

Dating costs: “College men find it often costs close to $5 for a ‘movie and malt’ date.”

Really? Just as responsible?: When you step into a car, you are just as responsible as the driver for what goes on…If (a girl) lets the boy drive too fast, she shares the guilt if an accident occurs.

Warning—writing about illegal drugs may be a gateway to abusing quotation marks: “Some teen groups have ‘parties’ where drugs provide ‘entertainment.’ At these parties teens are often exploited by dope peddlers who ‘contribute’ marijuana. Young people might be tempted to try a ‘reefer.'”

Smart girls: “Boys worry less about dating girls inferior to them in intellect, since it is generally expected that a girl won’t be as intelligent as the boy she dates. Indeed this is emphasized so strongly that a superior girl may find that if she has a reputation as a ‘brain,’ boys are afraid to date her. Such a girl may pretend to be dumber than she is on a date…But there are girls who resent having to ‘put their brains on ice,’ so they only go out with boys who like them as they are, who admire intelligence and are not threatened by a girl’s superior mental ability. A girl who dates a boy who is not her intellectual equal must decide whether she dares to be herself or whether she must put on an act.”

(You would think that two female, University-of-Chicago-educated social scientists might take a firmer stand on which is the right choice, but they let matters rest there.)

The five kinds of people who “go all the way” before marriage:

1. “The Unconventional person with few or no religious roots.”

2. Young people from the lower socioeconomic classes. (“In general, the middle-class girl or boy values chastity more highly.”)

3. People desperate for love and acceptance.

4. Rebellious types.

5. People who are deeply in love but, for some reason, cannot marry.

“The more mature girl knows that she doesn’t need to resort to either slapping or running in order to deal with the too amorous boyfriend. She wards off unwelcome behavior with a firm refusal to cooperate, accompanied by a knowing smile and a suggestion of some alternate activity. She may say, “Not now, Ambrose—let’s go get a hamburger; I’m hungry.”

Read the whole Weird Words of Wisdom series

Weird Words of Wisdom: Betty Betz and Vintage Teen Etiquette That Rhymes Edition

This is the latest installment in my Weird Words of Wisdom series.

“As mother used to say, ‘Be pretty if you can, witty if you must—and pleasant if it kills you!’”

Your Manners are Showing: The Handbook of Teen-Age Know-How, 1946
By Betty Betz

About This Book: Your Manners are Showing differs from most vintage teenage advice books in one key way—it shows teens how to behave with copious illustrations by Betty Betz. Verses by Anne Clark accompany the pictures; in between the illustrations, Betz provides short chapters on topics ranging from money to “vice” (drinking and smoking). Etiquette in verse actually strikes me as a pretty handy aid for mastering tricky concepts, like who gets introduced to whom.

About the Author: Where do I begin? Betty Betz journeyed from Hammond, Indiana, prom queen to 1940s and ’50s queen of all media. She was a Midwestern swimming champion, and her high school classmates named her Most Popular Girl in their school of 1,800. She attended Sarah Lawrence College and earned a guest editorship at Mademoiselle, which became the first magazine to publish her drawings. She went on to work for Esquire and Harper’s Bazaar. Eventually, she began to specialize in teenagers, writing a syndicated advice column for them and publishing several books. Her illustrations of teenage life turned up on everything from stationery to scrapbooks to jewelry boxes.

She was married briefly to Josef Lanz, the Austrian fashion designer who popularized the dirndl dress, a 1940s teen wardrobe staple. His family owned Lanz of Salzburg, which still exists, producing mostly nightgowns.

In 1956, she married her second husband, Frank McMahon, whom Time described as an “oil-rich Calgary wheeler-dealer.” She raised two daughters and settled down into a life of charity work and Palm Beach socializing. Betz died in 2010.

Among the other highlights of her brief career:

  • She published comic book stories featuring “Dollface and Her Gang.” (Dollface’s best friend was named Bun Brain. Really.)
  • She marketed a line of teenage clothing that included a hideous but creative item called a blouse-slip. As a slip, you could lounge around in it at home. If company stopped by, you could wrap a skirt around yourself and be good to go.
  • She hosted a TV talk show that Billboard called “a routine and lifeless concoction, devoid of warmth or sincerity.”
  • She founded the Betty Betz Angels Club for her fans, who pledged “to show respect and consideration to everyone, regardless of race or color.”
  • She served as a Hearst correspondent during the Korean War, providing readers with insights like this one from July 29, 1951: “…what baffles me most of all is the fact that communist ‘wacs’ don’t care for perfume or lipstick.”
  • She published Manners for Moppets, an etiquette book for children, in 1962. At the time, her family shuttled among homes in Vancouver, New York City, and Palm Beach. “An English nanny and a private plane make commuting painless,” The Calgary Herald wrote. “Having complete wardrobes in each house so she doesn’t have to pack and unpack all the time and hiring temporary help for each house as she gets there are other time and trouble savers.” I’ll bet.

Weird Words of Wisdom from Betty Betz

For the most part, I’ll let Betz’ illustrations (and Clark’s verse) speak for themselves. I can’t resist including a few quotes, though.

On tipping: “At least ten percent of the total bill is a sufficient tip, but never leave less than ten cents per person.”

On saying goodnight: “There’s no excuse for a couple to stay out past midnight except for special parties, so make those good-nights short and sweet. Dawdling on the doorstep doesn’t get you anything but a razzing from the neighbors, and a black mark from the girl’s folks.”

On fashion for boys: “You’re no Percypants if you are particularly particular about which tie you wear with what suit, so give your clothes combos a little more thought…The best clothes for men are the traditional ones which never go out of style, so if (a salesman) tries to sell you Seabiscuit’s blanket for a sports jacket, tell him to give it back to the Indians.”

On shoes for boys: “If they’re scuffed with run down heels they label you right in the jerk department, so keep your booties laced and polished. When you buy shoes, get the strong and sturdy type which look more manly and last longer than the ‘cute and fancy’ styles. If it’s a dressup party, don’t wear your saddle shoes or moccasins, and never wear rubber soles for dancing.”

On fashion for girls: “If you think you can wear that dress three years from now and still adore it, it’s a good buy. But if it’s a poorly made ‘gag-rag,’ then don’t waste your money.”

On shoes for girls: “Exaggerated heelless or toeless siren sandals are downright unattractive on young legs, so avoid them.”

On girls’ accessories: “A neat purse, immaculate gloves, fresh handkerchiefs and simple, becoming hats are the classic equipment of fastidious and fascinating femmes.”

On where girls should turn for dating advice: “Say, your mother should know a little bit about it, since she managed to snare herself a pretty nice husband, and probably over some pretty high competition, too.”

Acceptable gifts for boys to give girls: Books, records, candy, flowers, a compact, or “your best photograph (unautographed, please).”

Acceptable gifts for girls to give boys: wallets, key chains, books, records, hand-knit socks, or “your prettiest picture.”

Traffic advice that cracks me up: When crossing streets, boys should walk on the side closest to traffic, “so that if there’s any mishap, he gets hit first.”

Wow! A Password?!: “There’s a password, ‘cabbage,’ which is used every time a boy doesn’t take the curb side of the sidewalk when he’s walking with one or more girls. Actually, there’s no need for a password, because every young man should automatically take the outside place without even thinking twice.”

On smoking: “If you like the taste of tobacco and your parents approve, there’s nothing harmful about smoking in moderation.

On drinking: “Light wines and beer are your best bet if you must drink something alcoholic. My favorite is a ‘Sherry Cobbler,” which sounds like a grownup drink, but actually is a plain lemonade with a little wine added.”

Recommended non-alcoholic drink if you want to appear to be drinking alcohol: A “Horse’s Neck”—ginger ale, with a slice of lemon peel.

On conversation: “My Mommy done told me that as long as I wasn’t really a brain-box, I should develop my ear for listening.”

And a final thought: “The trouble with etiquette books is that they’re like dentists…you never pay any attention to them until you’re in agony, and then often it’s too late.”

Read more Weird Words of Wisdom.

Weird Words of Wisdom: Where the Boys Are (You’d Better Wear a Skirt) Edition

Connie Francis (suitably skirted)

“Never wear slacks on a date, unless it’s a rugged outdoor picnic or an evening at an amusement park. Otherwise, I think slacks are an insult to a boy.”

For Every Young Heart, 1963

By Connie Francis

About the Book: We’ve encountered celebrity advice books before in this series, but Connie Francis is both our first female celebrity author. Of course, one always has to wonder how much “authoring” these celebrities did. Francis’ book feels more authentic than most. Her advice—both the good stuff and the weird stuff—feels specific and individual. Knowing little about Francis when I picked up this book, I quickly formed a clear mental image of her—tough, smart, moody, romantic, and ambivalent about her parents’ influence in her life.

About the Author: I’m always happy to write about an author who’s still alive. Connie Francis is a survivor, in every sense of the word. As a teenager, she appeared on a TV variety show called Startime Kids, and she received much criticism about her looks and weight during those years. Her recording career was slow to take off, and she was on the verge of giving up when American Bandstand made Who’s Sorry Now? her first hit in 1958. (She had brains to fall back on—she received a scholarship to New York University and was planning to study medicine.) And as an adult, she would endure many tragedies (which I don’t want to write about here, lest it ruin the mood for laughing at her fashion, beauty, and dating tips.)

Okay, Then—Let’s Start With Hair Care: “Going to the beauty parlor is an art in itself. Some ladies lean back, close their eyes, and snooze. Others read movie magazines or daydream. This is okay if you’re over forty and have money. But it’s not for you…Sit up and take notice.”

“Wash your hair with regular shampoo, rinse thoroughly, then soak with beer just before setting. It adds tremendous body to fine or limp hair.” (Note: You have to leave the beer, open, outside the refrigerator for two or three days prior to use.)

On Teasing Your Hair: “This is one of the most useful tricks a girl can learn. It involves back-combing the hair from underneath, which adds body, so that with very little curl you can make your hair look like something special. Right this minute, my hair needs setting, but if I had to go out unexpectedly I could whip it into a definite bouffant style by teasing, hold it with hair spray and breeze out for the evening with perfect confidence.”

On Washing Your Hair, Um, Frequently?: “My hair is very oily, so every three days it gets washed.”

On Fashion: “The little black dress or navy suit is the backbone of my wardrobe. I have five or six basic outfits that can go anywhere, from the office in the morning to dinner at the Stork Club and dancing at the Peppermint Lounge at night. The only change I need is a scarf or a piece of jewelry.

On Fashion for Petite Girls: “So instead of buying three strands, you buy one. Instead of the big chalk beads, you buy little ones. And if everything you wear is small, like you, you’ll have a larger overall appearance. Stay away from medium or heavy patterns, circular designs, and two-tone outfits. Verticals give you height. Solid colors, small all-over patterns, and lightweight, clingy fabrics are most flattering.”

On Makeup: “Dark minimizes, light accentuates…For instance, my nose is too wide, so I always use a darker makeup on its sides than on the rest of my face.”

On Lipstick: “For most women, this is a good rule: Darker by night, lighter by day, and always coordinated with the color of your outfit.”

On Brows: “The outer line of the eyebrow should end a 45-degree angle from the tip of your nose.”

On Eyeliner: “This is the most valuable cosmetic I ever found. After experimenting with many kinds, I think black pancake makeup is ideal.”

Getting Along with Boys

“…from the age of nine or ten, (a girl is) more alive, happier, and more of a person with a male around. It doesn’t matter how old he is—nine or ten like herself, twenty-two or eight-five, married or single. All he has to be is male.”

How 11-Year-Old Connie Learned “a New, Improved Formula for Getting Along with Men”: At a Halloween party, she encountered a boy named Eugene who had been picking on her at school:

“And then—whether it was the costume or the lipstick or the fact that I really did feel like a gypsy princess for one wonderful night—a strange thing happened. A lovely, soft, feminine feeling crept over me, transforming the glare to an angel’s smile. Instinctively, I minced forward, lowered my eyes shyly and cooed, “Hel-loo…”

“G-g-gosh!” Eugene breathed, “you look pretty!” “Oh,” I said coyly, “do you really think so?” Half an hour later, there I sat, perched on a cold radiator, collecting kisses from the stag line—and now it was the other girls turn to glare!”

Connie’s First Real Date: A showing of should It Should Happen to You with Judy Holliday and Jack Lemmon, and a second feature of Francis Joins the WACS with Donald O’Connor. (She got so disgusted with her date’s loud guffaws that she stormed out of the theater and went home. If he was laughing at Francis Joins the WACS, I can understand her reaction.)

Telling Tales on Herself: That is one of several unflattering stories Connie tells about herself. Others include the times Connie:

•        Beat up a fellow seventh-grade girl

•        Got into a shoving match with an overweight male classmate on her first day of high school

•        Threw a cup of coffee across the room and stormed out the studio after recording Who’s Sorry Now?

Dating Don’ts

“There are certain places a girl should never go alone, or even with another girl—certain hangouts, bowling alleys, bars, and other places where boys tend to gather and girls don’t.”

“Don’t ever stand near a bar and talk. Never drink at a bar, even if you’re drinking ginger ale.”

“Most people can tell right away who’s a lady, just by the way she talks. And the quickest way to lower yourself in the eyes of anyone—a boy, especially, is to use even one unladylike word.”

“Every man likes a woman to allow him to be a man. Unfortunately, some women, especially in the United States, don’t allow men to be men. They do everything for themselves, because they’re always trying to prove how independent they are.”

“A woman who doesn’t expect the little courtesies isn’t a lady, and a man who doesn’t perform them isn’t a gentleman…I think an unmannerly man is 95 percent the woman’s fault.”

On Sharing Expenses on a Date: “Out. Not under any circumstances should a woman touch one nickel of her own money on a date, unless she’s stranded 50 miles from home and her date needs 15 cents for a subway token. But why get in such a silly fix, anyway?”

“A girl who goes out deliberately to get picked up lives dangerously. And most boys will assume that she’s what she probably is.”

Dating Dos

“Of course, the best way for a girl to be interesting to a boy is to be interested in him. I’ve sat through many an evening not knowing what on earth my date was talking about, but just nodding and smiling and looking at him very, very intently, and occasionally putting in a word of my own like ‘Really!’ or ‘My goodness!’—and he’s walked away thinking ‘Gee, what a brilliant conversation we had!’”

“Anyhow, not only does a kiss on the first date not compromise a girl’s reputation, but nowadays a boy expects it. That doesn’t make it right, of course, but it doesn’t make it wrong, either. A girl knows instinctively the kind of boy she can trust and the kind she can’t. She can sense when a boy respects her, and if a date doesn’t have any real feeling of warmth and friendship for you, he doesn’t deserve a kiss—or a second date, either.”

“The one unfailing way to let a boy know you like him is this: Tell him. I believe letting a boy know in a very lighthearted, casual way that won’t embarrass either of us…When we’re standing in line for a movie or waiting to get into a restaurant, I’ll say: ‘Know something? I like you,’ very casually, then change the subject.”

“As far as necking is concerned, there’s nothing wrong with it in moderation, if there’s a warm, respectful feeling between two people.”

Suggested questions to get dates to open up: “Are you a lonely person? Are you Happy? If you had 48 hours to yourself, what would you like to do most?”

Putting on the Brakes

“If a boy really loves you as much as he says, he’ll want to put a ring on your finger.”

“A girl can become sexually aroused just as quickly and irrationally as any boy. She wasn’t born with any handy ‘monitor’ that automatically helps her put on the brakes, but she has to develop one in her mind in order to protect her self-respect and reputation.”

(Connie wasn’t just talking the talk about chastity. In 1984, she told People Magazine that when she married her first husband, at age 26, it was because “because I wanted to have sex.” That marriage only lasted three months.)

With the Above Said, the Most Racy-Sounding Passage in the Book, if Taken Out of Context: “I finally had to force myself to have fun. I went to Europe and Las Vegas and forced myself to date one boy after another. I kept dating until I found the feelings I had for one or two boys weren’t so fantastic after all. I found, in fact, that I could feel just as happy and have just as good a time with 25 others.”

Connie’s First Real Love (Bobby Darin?): “I was in love in my teens, and at the time it was the most important thing in the world to me. Every day, because I was in love and my parents didn’t approve, there was an argument at home. School became secondary. My singing became unimportant compared to my feelings for this boy. The day was happy or sad depending on what he said to me or what I said to him, or what my parents said or didn’t say about him or me or us. Then, when we did break up, it took me just as long or longer to get over it.”

It’s tempting to assume she’s talking about Bobby Darin here. Certainly the part about parental disapproval fits. Here’s an exchange she had last year with Village Voice blogger Michael Musto:

Musto: Your father was extremely strict, right?

(Connie): He wasn’t just strict — he was a vigilante with every boy I had a milkshake with. I was not allowed to date in high school or go to the prom, and even in college he had a problem.

(Musto): Is it true he broke up you and Bobby Darin?

Connie: With a gun. He learned Bobby and I were starting to elope one night. We were 18, 19. I was doing the Jackie Gleason show and Bobby and I were cuddling in a corner. He barged through the rehearsal room of the Sullivan Theater with a gun in his pocket and a fierce determination to obliterate Bobby once and for all. One of the biggest regrets of my life is I didn’t marry Bobby.

In For Every Young Heart, some of Francis’ ambivalence toward her parents comes through. She describes how she taught herself shorthand because her mother was always snooping in her diary. She also talks about how she learned a confusing version of “the facts of life” in a whispered conversation with a girlfriend because her parents never told her anything.

“Every child has a right to know about life,” she asserts. “The day a youngster asks his first question about sex is the day he deserves an answer.”

Connie’s Ideal Husband: “He shouldn’t be overemotional, yet he must be very affectionate, responsive and warm. His laugh shouldn’t be so loud that everybody turns around to look, but he has to have a wonderful sense of humor. He has to be subtle and self-contained—the type who can say two words and I’ll understand; a man who can look at me across the room, and every look will mean something. Oh, yes, and he has to be very smart, alert, witty. He has to know he’s the boss without saying, ‘Listen here, I’m the boss.’ He can’t shout at me, but he’ll know just how to tell me what to do, because every woman loves to be ordered around the right way.”

Hmm. You start to get an inkling about why none of her four marriages lasted longer than five years.

More Wisdom from For Every Young Heart:

“The opinion that smoking is a drag—on your health, most of all—is pretty modern these days. Every day, new data piles up pointing to possible links between cigarettes and lung cancer.”

“If a boy has never been in a bar or never tried to drink or smoke by the time he’s out of his teens, he would be very unusual. These are things most boys have to experience in order to feel grown up and manly.”

“The only time a boy may have a feeling of responsibility for himself and girl is when he’s deeply in love, when he has a true feeling of respect for her, and when he’s far-sighted enough to think of the future, including the day they’ll want to get married with a fresh, wholesome start toward life together. But 99 percent of the time, the boy doesn’t feel this way, and that means the girl has to.”

“A girl must always have the kind of reputation that will make a boy very, very proud to take her home and introduce her to his mother.”

“…there’s just one reason for going steady, and that’s as a prelude to engagement.”

“Not only does a wife have to be a mother, friend, advisor, and scrubwoman—she must also never let her husband feel that it’s a great burden for her.”

“In my teens, I used to think it was the most important thing in the world for a woman to be tremendously independent. But I know now that no matter how independent you are, if you really love a man, nine times out of ten his wishes are more important than yours.”

“I will want nothing less than a big wedding, in a pretty church, with all my family and all my friends there to share it. That’s a girl’s one big day, and anybody who says you’re not entitled to it because it’s corny is not going to make the greatest or most understanding husband.”

If you enjoyed this post, read the whole Weird Words of Wisdom series!

Bonus Feature: Connie singing what I’m officially declaring the Weird Words of Wisdom theme song.

Bonus Feature 2: More advice from Connie! This article from the October 1961 issue of Teen Talk Magazine is called “Who Should Say No First?”