Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Female Etiquette

Here in the English Department, we have a table in the hallway with a sign over it announcing "Free Books." Anybody can put books there that they don't want, and anybody who's interested is welcome to take them. There are usually a lot of old composition texts, old anthologies, and dog-eared paperback classics like Lord Jim, The Mayor of Casterbridge, or The Works of Goethe. It's a popular place because English majors are always interested in building their libraries.

I've put a few books there myself, and being the book lover I am, I can't help but stop and look when I see that someone has weeded their library. Usually, it's nothing of interest or something I already have. But not today. No, sir. Today, I snagged this beauty:

No Nice Girl Swears by Alice-Leone Moats, copyright 1933. It's a conduct book, and if the title makes you laugh, look at the chapter headings:

  1. No Nice Girl Swears
  2. Should She Ask Him In?
  3. You're the First Man I've Ever Kissed
  4. Keeping an Amateur Standing
  5. This Casual Era
  6. May I Call You Up Some Time?
  7. Out for No Good
  8. Joining In
  9. Launching a Belle
  10. Chaperons Do Exist
  11. Between Courses
  12. The Inevitable Details
  13. Lunches and Teas; or, Scarcely Worth the Trouble
  14. Coming Out to Music
  15. Cutting In and Sitting Out
  16. That Certain Something
  17. The Great Step
  18. In a Cloud of Tulle
  19. Twice Shy--?
  20. Travel Broadens the Mind
  21. Never Speak to Strangers Unless They Speak to You
  22. Out of Town
  23. Summer, Winter, Spring
  24. An Old English Custom
  25. In a Strange Bed
  26. Pity the Poor Working Girl
  27. Serious Business
  28. Hot Footlights
  29. The Hiccuping Fifties
  30. Our Plastered Friends

No, I'm not making this up. If it hadn't been published in 1933, I'd assume that at least some of those chapter titles were intended as double-entendres. And I can't help but wonder whose library this came from.

I'm thinking this book deserves to be prominently displayed in my office.


Travis said...

I agree! Prominently display it!

Mark Elrod said...

I think I dated a couple of girls who read this book.

#21 fascinates me. I mean, what if every stranger you met had also read this book? Nobody would ever talk to each other.

lisa b said...

I love it. Someday I need to list all the interesting titles that come across my desk. You'd be surprised . . .

Jonathan G. Reinhardt said...

Chapters I'd like to know more about:

- In a Strange Bed
- Hot Footlights
- The Hiccuping Fifties
- Our Plastered Friends

Because I have the feeling they are about something else entirely.

Becca said...

Ahahahahahaha, I need to come by your office to see this!