Just about the only things I remember about my teens are acne and alienation. Oh, and (shamefully) lots of television. But when our grandmother passed away in 2005 and left her house to my brother Jeff who didn't want the responsibility and who then passed it along to me, I eventually got around to cleaning and found this book in a closet in one of the bedrooms. Apart from my grandmother's name written on the cover in black marker were sketches of girls in bell bottoms and boys with hair cut above the ears. Curious as to what passed for cool and hip in 1970, I decided to read it.
Based on the long title, I expected to find some sage advice for teens about etiquette and fashion. Turns out the book isn't geared toward teens in general but rather female teens in particular. And the advice ranges from tips about looking pretty for your boyfriend to hosting inexpensive parties. I don't know whether my grandmother ever read it. By 1970, she was already an adult, a grandmother, and my mother was well into her twenties. I would've been five. This is all assuming the book was purchased hot off the press.
Some of the advice is sound, though probably no longer applicable:
Wind your watch when you wake up, not when you go to bed. Your wake up time is more regular than your beddy-bye, and that's better for your time-piece.
Sprinkling your favorite scent of talcum powder on your sheets just before climbing into bed will cool off even the hottest, stickiest nights. Smells pretty and luxurious, too.
The somewhat dated attitudes about gender roles, or, as less forgiving lefties might describe them, the stereotypical bigotry and chauvinism, made me grin, particularly the dating and relationship advice.
Most boys hate sarcasm in a girl. You may be a quick wit with your girl friends, but cool it when he's around.
If you've got a car, a scooter or a bike, play damsel in distress and ask his advice on some mechanical thingamajig.
Know enough about sports to keep up a conversation with boys, but don't know more than they do.
Then there's the outright strange counsel:
Carry a toothbrush in your mini-bag. No, not for your teeth – for your hair! It takes up less space than a regular hairbrush and does a great job.
If your straight-as-sticks bangs start going frizzy from perspiration, try smoothing cornstarch on your forehead before going out.
Here's some advice on how to live on a dime, a coin which probably went a lot further back then:
When your father's or big brother's shirts are too worn for them to wear, use them as aprons, painting smocks, etc. Nothing makes a girl look more helplessly feminine than an over-sized man's shirt. Dye them groovy colors.
Buy strings of beads in the same shape and pattern but in different colors for a pretty, made-to-order look.
But my favorite advice of all resides in the last chapter entitled “Last-Minute Mindbenders, Last Chance for Groovy Tips and Tricks,” probably because it's so bizarre:
To dream of the man you'll marry: On a Friday night invite one or more of your closest friends to bake a 'Dumb Cake.' It should be made of flour, water, eggs and salt, and is so named because complete and absolute silence must be maintained during the entire making! When the cake is done, divide it equally among you, and walk backwards to bed, eating the cake. During the night – providing no word has been spoken from beginning to end – you will see your future husband's face in a dream.