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Take My Advice

Some sage words of counsel from the advice books of yesteryear, courtesy of Uncle John’s Factastic Bathroom Reader.


“Don’t buy cigars from mysterious-looking foreigners, who say they have just done a neat little job of smuggling from Havana, and are willing to let you in on a good thing. They may even flatter you by telling you that you look trustworthy. They really mean that you look easy. It’s your move.”

—The College Freshman’s Don’t Book (1910)


“There always are and always will be children to be taken care of. There is no way in which a girl can help her country better than by fitting herself to undertake the care of children.”

—Official Handbook of the Girl Scouts (1925)


“Kill a mad dog at once. Wrap a handkerchief around your hand to prevent the dog’s teeth from entering the flesh and grasp a club of some kind. If you can stop the dog with a stick you should hit him hard over the head with it, or kick him under the jaw. A handkerchief held in front of you in your outstretched hands will generally cause the dog to stop to paw it before he attempts to bite you. This will give you an opportunity to kick him under the lower jaw. Another way suggested is to wrap a coat around the left arm and let the dog bite it; then with the other hand seize the dog’s throat and choke him.”

—The Boy Scout’s Handbook (1911)


“Whenever you are curious about the wonderful experience which we call ‘birth,’ think of it reverently, and go at once for information to your father or mother; if you lack these, to some high-minded friend much older than you. Otherwise, enclose a stamped envelope addressed to yourself in a letter to the Y.M.C.A. or the Y.W.C.A. or the Federal Bureau of Information, Washington, D.C., asking the title of the best book for a boy or a girl of your age, about the Beginnings of Life. Never listen to explanations from the ignorant or the vulgar. Impure thoughts on this subject lead to the ruin of both body and spirit.”

—Manners and Conduct in School and Out (1921)


• “To persons whose hair is in a declining state, the frequent and regular use of oil or bear’s grease is often of much service, as it is calculated to assist in supplying that nourishment which is so necessary.”

• “Nobody needs to have an offensive breath… A bit of charcoal held in the mouth… two or three times in a week, and slowly chewed, has a wonderful power to preserve the teeth and purify the breath… If these hints induce only one person to take better care of the teeth, I shall be more than rewarded for the trouble of writing.”

—Polite Manual for Young Ladies (1847)


“Never eat or drink anything HOT… If you drink tea (which we do not recommend), let it be the best of black tea, and not strong. Coffee, if drunk at all, should be diluted with twice its quantity of boiled milk, and well sweetened with white sugar.”

—Pocket Manual of Republican Etiquette (1887)


“Novel-reading strengthens the passions, weakens the virtues, and diminishes the power of self-control. Multitudes may date their ruin from the commencement of this kind of reading; and many more, who have been rescued from the snare, will regret, to the end of their days, its influence in the early formation of their character. It is, too, a great waste of time… If you wish to become weak-headed, nervous, and good for nothing, read novels.”

—Polite Manual for Young Ladies (1849)

“Gentlefolk have ‘friends’ stopping with them, never ‘company.’ Servants have and keep ‘company.’  ”

—The Complete Bachelor: Manners for Men (1896)


“A lady should never look up in a waiter’s face while giving an order, refusing wine, or thanking him for any special service. This savors of familiarity, and should be avoided. A man, however, that is attentive will see that a lady has none of these things to do.”

—The Manners and Customs of Polite Society (1896)

“It is not polite for married ladies to talk, in the presence of gentlemen, of the difficulty they have in procuring domestics, and how good-for-nothing they are when procured.”

—The Ladies’ Book of Etiquette, and Manual of Politeness (1860)


The article above is reprinted with permission from Uncle John’s Factastic Bathroom Reader. The 28th volume of the series is chock-full of fascinating stories and facts, and comes in both the Kindle version and paper with a classy cloth cover.

Since 1988, the Bathroom Reader Institute had published a series of popular books containing irresistible bits of trivia and obscure yet fascinating facts. If you like Neatorama, you'll love the Bathroom Reader Institute's books - go ahead and check 'em out!

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“Novel-reading strengthens the passions, weakens the virtues, and diminishes the power of self-control." Ha, Ha!!! I have always been an eager reader of 'novels' and I have NEVER had a problem with my self control! Now, if you will excuse me, I have an orgy to attend to...
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