What a Young Girl Ought to Know, by Mary Wood-Allen, Part Five

Twilight Talk VII. From all fathers to the Big Daddy upstairs, Mother references the Bible, stating that all fathers take pity on their children. Parental love is just a shadow of what God’s love is. Again, we go through the hierarchy of creatures, and find that the only beings on the planet who have a REAL knowledge of being parents are humans. Damn, this lady is smug. I hope she got reincarnated as some lower life form. Well, that was a short chapter. I guess because the climax, so to speak, of the book has already arrived. It leaves me to wonder what the rest of this book is. There are over a hundred pages left to go.



Twilight Talk VIII. Ah, selective breeding. Gentlemen, we have the technology. We can make a faster horse. Angora kittens for 25 dollars apiece; a veritable STEAL today! If we can do this for other, lower animals, why not humans?



How is this of importance to a little girl? Well, here comes a slight shade of feminism: make yourself the strongest, best and noblest woman you can be, and help to change the world. Of course, only in the spheres of cooking, cleaning, and childcare, but the seeds are slowly being planted. It’s a start.



The children of 1905 are making the world what it will be in a hundred years. Well, that would have been 2005. What a scary sight to behold.



While knitting, Mother sometimes wonders what the world would be like if each human being had been directly created by God, like Adam and Eve. No fathers or mothers, no birthdays. No weddings – because a marriage is not complete without children from your own womb, I suppose. No pictures of Jesus and his mother, which is curious; I guess because we would all be perfect and there would be no need of Jesus? At any rate, she finishes up with the fact that it would be a rather dreary world, full of adults, and I suppose adults are no fun, or cannot make their own fun, a characteristic lost upon entering the world of puberty.



Children should not be teased about being lovers and sweethearts, for that’s joking about something sacred and that’s just not done. Children have no knowledge about love, apparently, until they reach adulthood, and then you marry the first suitable boy that comes along, and then, next stop: babyville!



Otherwise, you’re defective and will be an old maid.

Twilight Talk IX. Public health. Understand your bodily house, through all its doors and windows, and become acquainted with it. But not TOO acquainted with it. More on that later.



First, your eyes. Don’t strain them. Invest in spectacles. Never put salt in them (okay, she doesn’t say that, but that is one of my favorite Kids in the Hall sketches, and it seemed appropriate to reference). However, she does warn her daughter not to put her fingers in her eyes. And here we have some turn-of the-twentieth-century scaremongering: Mother once knew a girl who would pull the corners of her eyelids down, presumably in some early attempt at racist humor, and her face became DEFORMED. Oh, noes! For the price of laughter . . .



Never put sticks or stones in your ears, and never, never let anyone else do so! Every organ is sacred and needs protection, not the least of which are your sexual organs. “You should never handle them or allow anyone else,” Mother says. But – what does one mean by “handle?” When your daughter gets married, her husband is going to have to “handle” that organ, in some way or other. Hmm.



Interestingly enough, we have a small reference to female masturbation here. It is wrong, wrong, totally WRONG and sinful, and is what as known as “solitary vice.” Oh, and don’t try to hide it, as it leaves its mark upon the face. Everyone is going to know that you’re manhandling your punani in the outhouse, because the blush will creep upon your cheek and spell out, “I’m lovin’ it.”



To further the scare-mongering, Mother quotes from a very wise physician about the horrid effects pleasuring oneself has upon the body. Backaches, sideaches, tender spine, indolence [okay, maybe I’ll give him that one, but only as a brief aftereffect], pallid complexion, hollow eyes and languor. The good doctor goes on to say that he can always tell when a girl is heading down the road called Solitary Vice. Her health declines; she becomes irritable and disobedient. This is the best part, though: “She will manifest an unnatural appetite, sometimes desiring mustard, pepper, vinegar, and spices, cloves, clay, salt, chalk, charcoal, etc, which appetites certainly are not natural for little girls.” One could venture to say that clay, chalk and charcoal are not “natural” for ANYONE to consume, least of all girls or women, but who am I to say? All women were on the BlandSupreme diet, because vinegar and mustard are for MANLY men. Tights optional.



Bottom line: all organs have a specific use ordained by God; don’t mess with that plan. My reasoning has always been: if God would not have wanted you to masturbate, your arms and hands would not be long enough to reach your pudenda. End of story.



Oh, get this: apparently, refined ladies DO, in fact, urinate and defecate. Just do it in the privacy of the bathroom, as opposed to, you know, crapping on the floor like a dog.



So, girls, if another little girl of your acquaintance sidles up to you in the closet or parlor, and wants to speak to you about your reproductive organs, what do you say? With a deep breath, and a haughty toss of your head, you say, “I would rather you would not tell me about it. I will ask my mother and she will tell me. Mother tells me everything that I ought to know and she tells me in such a way as to make it very sweet to me, and so I have my little secrets with mother, and not with other girls.” Wow! That’s a stellar way to make new friends on the playground, my dear!



In short, your body is like Disney World, but you’re not allowed on any of the rides.



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