A Geezer’s Notebook, By Jim Foster
If you remember, we were studying the societal norms and behaviors for us to follow when attempting to pass as a member of the cultured elite of our society as outlined in the 1922 manual Don’t: A Manual Of Mistakes And Improprieties More Or Less Prevalent In Conduct And Speech.
In the highly unlikely chance a gentleman might make some small error or misjudgement in manner, attire, or speech, I shall mention a few suggestions – even though it is hardly necessary, especially when it comes to the attention of the light of his life, or if she is unavailable, his wife.
Gentlemen, don’t forget all the little courtesies which came so naturally to you during your courting days. For example, don’t neglect your personal appearance. Be as particular over your linen, boots etc. as before. It may be necessary to change one’s undergarments occasionally, at least bi-weekly.
Don’t give false excuses as a reason for being late at night. Tell the truth to your wife; it usually pays. (I would be careful heeding that stupid suggestion. Such honesty may also lead to a night in the doghouse with a flatulent St. Bernard. Better call me first!) The old adage, the truth shall set you free may be quite true, but it can also make you the loser in a divorce settlement.
Don’t forget to kiss your wife goodbye before leaving for business in the morning. And if you insisted on telling the truth the evening before, brush off the dog hair.
Don’t want too much waiting on. Remember your wife may be just as tired as you are at the end of the day, although I have no idea why.
Don’t take your mutual love too much for granted. A little endearment sometimes goes a long way. Again, be careful with that one. A love pat may seem like a good idea but if she is bent over checking the turkey in the oven, or that long way may be to the burn unit at OSMH.
Don’t precede your wife at any time. Always stand aside and let her go first – especially if it’s January and you suspect the front steps may be icy.
Don’t lose your temper if a meal is a few minutes late. There are many things that may crop up to hinder a meal a man knows nothing about. I have found that a half-bottle of Beefeater gin has been known to delay a meal several hours.
And finally, don’t be mean about money matters. A good wife never wastes her husband’s money. That is his job.
I was going to skip a whole section, For Young People, since most of my readers remember or fought in WW2 and the urchins wouldn’t understand if they did. A good example is the suggestion to young ladies not to be pert. I don’t have a clue what pert means, so there isn’t a chance in hell they will. But as I read on, I realised you, the reader, might have sons or daughters, even grandchildren who might benefit from these sage bits of advice.
For the young ladies, don’t use slang words. No one likes to hear from the lips of a girl or woman coarse and fast terms that happen to be the vulgar fashion of the time.
It was silly and completely unnecessary for me to add that to the column since I have never heard any words coming out of the mouths of the young ladies of today that I found objectionable and I don’t think you have either. Granted you may have heard the odd %#*@@^& when two young misses were discussing their boyfriends between drags on a cigarette as they chug-a-lug a can of hard cider in the park. And I suppose you may have heard the occasional #@$^*^* from a young debutante when the Nile green dye in her hair suddenly turned to robin’s egg blue, which of course clashed with her eyebrows that were her original colour as well as she could remember. But other than that time, and one or two others, we have never heard anything untoward.
You will note there is no advice directed to the young men of our society. As it was in 1922, and again in the 50s, it is still true today, there is no hope for any of you. I know for I was one myself, albeit 70 years ago.