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She Had a Question, 1910 (2nd set)

By: Ardis E. Parshall - August 06, 2009

Was there a shortage of young men in 1910? We have questions of unescorted girls going to dances, and girls sharing an escort to the dance. Also, a lot of attention to the feet, and freckles, and why the stork brings babies – all from the “Girl Query” department of the Young Woman’s Journal for 1910.

—oooOooo—

I would like some simple remedy for hair that is oily, although washed frequently. – Autumn Leaves.

Powdered bicarbonate of soda, 1/4 oz. borate of soda, 1/4 oz. Eau de Cologne, 1 fluid oz. Alcohol, 2 fluid oz. Tincture of cochineal, 1/2 fluid oz. distilled water, 16 fluid oz. Apply every day until improvement is noticed.

—oooOooo—

Will you please give me some hints on the care of the feet? – Vera D.

Bathing the feet is, of course, as necessary as bathing the hands and face. Just as much care should be used in selecting soaps and ointments. The skin of the feet is more tender than that of the hands, and callouses more readily. To avoid unpleasant odors, bathe the feet two or three times a day, adding to the water a tablespoonful of salt and a little ammonia. A tablespoonful of listerine is also good. Rub briskly after the bath and change the hose once a day. A good powder for softening the feet, also to remove odor arising from perspiration, is composed of equal parts of French chalk and alum. Where an odor is very offensive make a powder of the following and dust the feet each morning: Three oz. boric acid, four oz. oxide of zinc, three oz. salicylic acid, ten grains of carbolic acid. Any druggist will prepare this for you. A good ointment is made of boric acid two parts, vaseline 30 parts, and glycerine 3 parts. Perfume as desired. The same attention should be paid to the nails of the feet as to those of the hands.

—oooOooo—

Should kissing games be played at parties or social gatherings? – W.R.M.

I would advise not to play them. There are so many intellectual games which are very instructive, that can be played, so the other sort seems entirely out of place. Kissing promiscuously is quite harmful, as many diseases are contracted in this way. Get on a higher plane as soon as possible.

—oooOooo—

“Bertha” sent an addressed envelope but forgot her query. Please forward it.

—oooOooo—

Please give me a good disinfectant for bath room and toilet. – Mrs. J.Y.

Columbia Chloride of Lime is very good to cleanse the pipes. “Diozo,” manufactured by the Parker Chemical Co. of Chicago is an excellent disinfectant to hang on the wall. It is guaranteed to last for two years, and then the inner bulb can be renewed at a small cost.

—oooOooo—

Should a young girl go out with a young man immediately after being introduced to him? – Hope F.

Ask your mother and father what they think about it. Is the young man objectionable in any way? Do you know anything of his former life or family? Is he a clean, moral young man? What of his associates? Is there something about him which appeals to your higher self? These and many other questions should be answered to your entire satisfaction before you consent to “go out” with him.

—oooOooo—

Please give me a simple remedy for unwelcome hair on the face. – Joy and Cris.

There are many preparations of “depilatory”; all are made about the same, and are advertised as harmless. They may be so, but I would not recommend the use of any. Should there be an abrasion or pimple on the face you might contract some dread disease which would prove much worse than the small growth of hair. The only safe remedy would be to see an expert and have them removed by Electrolysis or the Xrays, both of which are very expensive. Should there be one or two hairs growing from a mole, Rexell’s preparation would remove them without harm, providing you follow directions.

—oooOooo—

For growth of eyebrows – two ounces vaseline, one ounce of glycerine, one quarter ounce of cantharides and ten drops each of rosemary and lavender water. Be sure not to touch the eyes with this lotion. A competent hair dresser could treat them for you.

—oooOooo—

Is it proper for a gentleman to give valuable gifts to his lady friends? – Promise.

A man should not offer valuable gifts to any lady outside his own family, unless she be much his senior, and a dear friend of long standing. A lady should not accept such gifts from a gentleman unless his relationship to her warrants it. Trivial tokens of friendship – a book, flowers, or box of bon-bons – are not amiss; but a lady should not be under obligations to a man for presents that represent any considerable money value.

—oooOooo—

Why do hot water bags always wear out around the nozzle first? – Jean M.

Because of improper method in filling. If you will use a funnel when filling the bag it will prevent the rubber round the nozzle from rotting so quickly.

—oooOooo—

“One of the Older Girls”: The conditions you mention ought not to exist. It has been, and is today, quite a problem – the relationship of employer and employee – much has been said and written on this subject; but as yet there has been no general result satisfactory to both parties. A great deal depends on each person concerned; and after all we are only human. We all need charity in its truest sense.

—oooOooo—

Please give me a remedy for removing freckles. – Caroline.

Freckles cannot be banished suddenly. In order to not injure the skin the cure must be slow. Take powered borax fifteen grains, and lemon juice one ounce. Shake until dissolved. Apply three times a day with a soft cloth, rubbing well into the skin. Avoid the heat of the sun on the face as much as possible during the treatment. After a few weeks the blotches will disappear. Buttermilk is helpful toward a clear complexion. Take as much milk as required for one time in a saucer. Apply by means of a tiny ball of absorbent cotton, using fresh balls from time to time during the process. Make a number of these balls and keep in a wide-mouthed jar with a screw top. They are handy for many purposes.

—oooOooo— 

Is it proper for a young lady to go to a dance without a partner? – Marguerite.

If the dance is in your own ward, conducted by respectable people, and some other girl or girls are going with you, your mother being willing, there would be no harm. Do not go to public dances without an escort or chaperone.

—oooOooo—

In reply to “Nell” I would advise you to visit a hair-dresser once, and let her arrange your hair in a becoming manner, you noting carefully how she does it. The style that would suit one girl would be very unbecoming to another.

—oooOooo—

What can I do to develop the muscles of my neck, so the bones will not be so prominent? – Rose L.

Bend the head sideways, so as to bring the ear as near the shoulder as possible, but do not move the shoulder. While the head is in this position turn it so as to look upward, then slowly raise it erect again. Do the same on the other side. Exercise in this manner daily, and you will find improvement. Another exercise to strengthen the muscles of the neck is: Balance a fairly heavy package on the head, walking around the room with it about a dozen times a day.

—oooOooo—

To “Elsie M.” The prices of specialists vary. One usually has half-hour sittings. There was one good specialist in Salt Lake but she has gone now. If you will send a self-addressed, stamped envelope I will give you more detailed information.

—oooOooo—

Do you know of a good remedy to ease tired or swollen feet? – Mother.

For tired feet, bathe in hot water containing salt and borax. A tablespoon of each to a basin of water, dashing the water upon the feet. Dry and rub well with a coarse towel, afterwards putting the up on the back of a chair for a few minutes. Women would have less of that “tired, nervous” feeling if they’d take their shoes and stockings off occasionally and let their feet rest – on the back of a chair or center table. Try it and see. For swollen feet, wilt plantain leaves by putting them between the hands. cover the swollen parts and bind on when going to bed at night. If the feet become calloused apply cold cream and rub with pumice stone or fine sand paper. Do not wear tight or high-heeled shoes.

—oooOooo—

Kindly give a recipe for apple butter.

Apple Butter – One-half bushel of apples, washed, peeled and cored. Add very little water and cook until pulpy. Then add one gallon of pure apple cider, and cook for several hours, stirring frequently, as it is easily scorched. To test, take a spoonful on small dish and let stand ten minutes. If it looks glazy and has the appearance of jam it is done. Use either sweet or sour apples, according to taste. Most people prefer the sweet ones.

—oooOooo—

(1) How many dances should a high school pupil attend during school year? (2) At what age can a girl receive calls from a young man? – Ruth.

(1) If you are young – in first or second year – not more than one or two. Being older, not to exceed six. (2) According to established custom in good society a young girl must have passed her eighteenth birthday. Any calls previous to that are family calls.

—oooOooo—

When a young man gives up his seat in a car, is it right for a girl to ask someone else to occupy it? – Teenie.

If she and her mother are together she could resign in favor of her mother, but not to another person, although she may be older, without first obtaining permission from the young man.

—oooOooo—

I am a young mother and do all my own work, beside taking care of my seven-months-old baby. During the summer I let him play on the floor and carry him from room to room as my work takes me. Now it is getting cold, how can I manage? – A Young Mother.

Get a large box and line the inside with cretonne or muslin. Place a thick pad in the bottom. Have your husband put some castors on so you can push it from room to room. Give the baby a few playthings and he will amuse himself while you work. Do not have the sides too high or he will not like it.

—oooOooo—

Please give a remedy for an ugly scar on the lip. – Maple Leaf.

Wet the tips of the fingers in olive oil and place in center of scar, then rub outward. The scar will soon disappear.

—oooOooo—

Why do so many people say the “stork” brings the children to the home? – Mrs. S.A.G.

It comes from a legend which says: St. Francis of Assisi once dreamed that he was in heaven. He begged that God would give him those birds that he had loved on earth. Especially he desired the stork as a comrade. His prayer was granted, but the beautiful stork which was given him as a companion became homesick and acted in so wild and strange a manner that the saints begged that he should be sent away.Iit was ultimately decided that he should be sent to earth to take a little angel to a family that desired children. Then he might return, but from time to time again revisit the earth, taking with him some little angel to some longing parent.

—oooOooo—

I am troubled with insomnia, what can I do? – Harriet.

I will give you two or three remedies that others have tried with good results. Beat two eggs well; add one-half cup of milk and a little sugar; drink just before retiring, Or take a cup of hot milk on going to bed. If you are troubled by awakening in the night and lying awake, get up, exercise a little, or read a short story that will not tax the mind, eat one or two crackers, or a piece of bread, then go back to bed, and sleep will come. When going to bed leave all your troubles in the other room, then shut your eyes and say “I’m sleepy” and go to sleep. As the old “mammy” told Florinda, “Jes’ think of nothin’, honey,” and go to sleep.

—oooOooo—

When a boy takes two girls to a dance, is it proper for one of the girls to dance the first dance with another boy? – Sunflower.

Yes; she may do so with propriety, although she might get the consent of her partner first. The last dance should be “sat out” unless the boy she came with secures a partner for her.



15 Comments »

  1. Again, I’m left wondering how I made it thus far without answers to these questions.

    For example, whenever I took two girls out at the same time, I could never figure out who should sit in the front seat. But it’s now clear that I should have “secure[d] a partner” for one of the girls, at least for the ride in the car.

    And the “no promiscuous kissing” instructions would have been awfully helpful at the end of those “double” dates.

    Comment by Mark B. — August 6, 2009 @ 7:47 am

  2. Scandalous!

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — August 6, 2009 @ 8:05 am

  3. “There are so many intellectual games which are very instructive…”

    Nice job of giving a positive answer instead of a condemnatory Talmudic hedge around the lips, but “instructive”? That’s the party I want to attend.

    Also: “kissing promiscuously” = proto-NICMO. Utah (I presume it’s Utah) has apparently always been a den of iniquity. Or something.

    “Bertha” sent an addressed envelope but forgot her query. Please forward it.

    “One of the Older Girls”: The conditions you mention ought not to exist. It has been, and is today, quite a problem – the relationship of employer and employee – much has been said and written on this subject; but as yet there has been no general result satisfactory to both parties. A great deal depends on each person concerned; and after all we are only human. We all need charity in its truest sense.

    I find interesting (again) the willingness to address individuals, even in a manner so vague to not be generally useful. Though, on second thought, Bertha would probably have prefered that they use her SASE to correct the error.

    Comment by Edje — August 6, 2009 @ 8:45 am

  4. Beat two eggs well; add one-half cup of milk and a little sugar; drink just before retiring,

    I don’t believe it. Two raw eggs with milk and sugar would make me — well, do something the opposite of sleep, and probably all night long. Gaa-ahh-ahh, my stomach is turning now, just thinking of it.

    Comment by Mark Brown — August 6, 2009 @ 8:57 am

  5. Needs a little rum for that eggnog concoction. That should help with the insomnia. Add as much rum as necessary.

    Comment by Steve G. — August 6, 2009 @ 9:29 am

  6. I’m amazed at the potentially dangerous chemical concotions described here to take care of different skin/hair issues:

    Powdered bicarbonate of soda, 1/4 oz. borate of soda, 1/4 oz. Eau de Cologne, 1 fluid oz. Alcohol, 2 fluid oz. Tincture of cochineal, 1/2 fluid oz. distilled water, 16 fluid oz. Apply every day until improvement is noticed.

    Three oz. boric acid, four oz. oxide of zinc, three oz. salicylic acid, ten grains of carbolic acid. Any druggist will prepare this for you. A good ointment is made of boric acid two parts, vaseline 30 parts, and glycerine 3 parts. Perfume as desired.

    two ounces vaseline, one ounce of glycerine, one quarter ounce of cantharides and ten drops each of rosemary and lavender water. Be sure not to touch the eyes with this lotion.

    take powered borax fifteen grains, and lemon juice one ounce. Shake until dissolved. Apply three times a day with a soft cloth, rubbing well into the skin

    and yet this store bought remedy are not recommended. Seems strange.

    There are many preparations of “depilatory”; all are made about the same, and are advertised as harmless. They may be so, but I would not recommend the use of any.

    Comment by Steve G. — August 6, 2009 @ 9:37 am

  7. In re playing kissing games, this is a classic: “Get on a higher plane as soon as possible.” Succint and pointed. I like it.

    Oh, and was I the only one who cringed for the poor soul who wrote about unwanted facial hair? (What I want to know is if the remedy works for unwanted back hair?)

    Comment by Hunter — August 6, 2009 @ 9:56 am

  8. Steve, if you think *those* are potentially dangerous, be sure you check in next week when I post the recipe for herbal tea favored by a certain high-ranking Mormon. Said tea includes hemlock. Really.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — August 6, 2009 @ 10:05 am

  9. I was also curious about the potential danger of some of the chemicals involved in these remedies, and did some quick searches. TMI ALERT!!!

    Suffice it to say that the person with the eyebrow issues should definitely not go to parties where kissing games are being played!

    As an interesting aside to all of this, medicine particularly was a trailing technology from the time of the Enlightenment up through the technology revolutions of the 19th century, and even still at this time (1910). So much of what we know (and we still don’t know a lot) is all of very recent vintage. There was still a lot of what would be considered quackery and ignorance involved in medicine even in 1910. Dangerous stuff was often prescribed for various maladies including arsenic and other known poisons.

    Comment by kevinf — August 6, 2009 @ 10:35 am

  10. I spent a small chunk of the morning trying to source the “Florinda” quote, with no success. Did come across Letitia M. Burwell’s 1895 “A Girl’s Life in Virginia Before the War” which had a mammy, a Florinda, and some honey, but nothing about sleep as far as I could tell. (does anyone know where the quote is from?) It was hard not to cringe reading “A Girl’s Life” with 21st century eyes: for example, this Dedication: Dedicated to my nieces, who find in English and American publications such expressions applied to their ancestors as: “cruel slave-owners”; “inhuman retches”; “southern taskmasters”; “dealers in human souls,” etc. From these they will naturally recoil with horror. My own life would have been embittered had I believed myself to be descended front such monsters; and that those who come after us may know the truth, I wish to leave a record of plantation life as it was. The truth may thus be preserved among a few, and merited praise may be awarded to noble men and virtuous women who have passed away. L. M. B.

    Comment by Coffinberry — August 6, 2009 @ 10:52 am

  11. But if you drink the eggs, you’ll be able to run the steps at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

    Comment by queuno — August 6, 2009 @ 1:42 pm

  12. Did you notice how most of the questions from young girls are about vanity situations, but the ones from the moms are about swollen tired feet and about carrying a baby around while she worked in the summer and wondering how she can take care of him now that it is colder?

    Comment by Maurine — August 6, 2009 @ 4:00 pm

  13. Speaking of dangerous, what about that reference to the use of “the Xrays” to remove unwanted facial hair? Yikes.

    Comment by Doug Hudson — August 6, 2009 @ 5:56 pm

  14. Did anyone else try this?

    “Bend the head sideways, so as to bring the ear as near the shoulder as possible, but do not move the shoulder. While the head is in this position turn it so as to look upward, then slowly raise it erect again. Do the same on the other side.”

    I’m sure my neck muscles will heal in a week or two.

    Comment by Tamary — August 6, 2009 @ 8:18 pm

  15. I did! My neckbones cracked like I was being beaten up by a chiropractor.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — August 6, 2009 @ 9:09 pm

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