Pearls of wisdom passed on to you by your elders which were wrong, wrong, wrong!

I was musing over the wisdom of some of my elders the other night.

Now “Pops” Mercotan rarely steered me wrong, and neither did “Moms” M. for that matter, either.

But my mom’s mother had a plaque on the wall when I was a child that proclaimed “Kissin’ don’t last, but cookin’ do!”

When I asked my grandparents to explain the meaning to me, Grandma and Grandpa both explained, in their own way, that as far as pleasures of the flesh went, eating decent food was far more pleasureable in the long run than romance.

Now that I’ve been with Mrs. Mercotan for over 33 years (25 married), all I can conclude is: Either I don’t know how to eat (a fact belied by my pants size) or they didn’t know how to romance (possible, they only had one kid in an era before contraceptives)!

I invite comments on this particular pearl of “wisdom” and solicit other dopers to contribute other pearls passed on to them which their own experience contradicts.

“Put butter on it.” For burns. It was one of my grandmother’s favorite remedies. I tried to explain to her I don’t know how many times why it was a bad idea, but she was absolutely stuck on it. (My new-fangled “ice remedy” was just silly. There’s bacteria in water!)

“You don’t need to learn typing, or any office skills.” – my mom.

“Marriage doesn’t work if you live with the guy first.” – my sister. Well, it helps if the guy you were living with is not an abusive drunk. Mr. Rilch and I will observe our seventh anniversary on Sunday. Yay us!

“You don’t need training wheels.” – my dad.

“Menopausal women don’t need iron, or any supplements! The medical field is dominated by MEN, who just want to keep women doped up and in their place!” – my mom again, in the depths of menopausal insanity. Haven’t actively disproved it yet, but I vow that the day my menses pause, I am making tracks for the nearest OBGYN, male or female. I want Mr. Rilch and I to keep having anniversaries after that happens.

“Have a drink; it’ll mellow you out.” – my sister, again.

Pearls of wisdom concerning exercise from my mom:*

“Girls should NOT do situps! It’s bad for you!”

“If you start sweating while playing tennis you should stop and get a drink of water and go sit in the shade.”

“The ballerinas don’t look so good when you get close. They have all these ugly muscles in their arms.”

Note that my mother had arms the size of hams, and not even small hams, and spent her life wondering why she gained weight if she even looked at food. And yet, she was my mother, so I believed her. I did eventually get that she thought muscles had no place on females.

*Or, how doing situps in secret became my guilty pleasure at the age of 11.

Minor point: there never was a time before contraceptives. Their efficacy was less, but at the time of your grandparents (assuming they were born after 1900) condoms, vaginal sponges and contraceptive douches were widely known. (Lysol used to have instructions on the back for how to diulte it for douching.) You could buy reusable douche bags from the Sears and Roebuck catalogue with no embarassment.

My grandmother’s worst advice: “Put turpentine on it.” It’s her cure-all. She claims she healed a sprained ankle from its application and tells me I wouldn’t have back pain if I would rub some on it each night.

My mother used to tell me that I needed to stop making wisecracks, because “nobody loves a smartass.” However, I was able to find somebody who loves a smartass, and I’ve been married to him for 26 years.

During high school, I also worked almost full-time at the supermarket and I was always exhausted on my days off and had raccoon eyes most of the time. However, even when there was nothing to be done, my mother would wake me up in the morning at whatever hour she deemed appropriate. She would proclaim that I had enough sleep and I would proclaim that obviously wasn’t true or I still wouldn’t be dead to the world. I explained how I felt more tired as the week wore on and needed a day to “catch up”. She had none of that and explained that sleep was a day-to-day thing and there wasn’t any catching up for lost sleep. She was a science teacher mind you so she said it with authority and conviction.

As soon as I went to college, I learned about “sleep debt” and how it can accumulate and even be a hazard driving and such things. Thank God news magazines have stuff on that now to cut done on parental zombie creators. I told her about it of course but it was too late to save me but she seemed to lighten up on my younger brothers. My wife’s family did the same thing to her so I suspect it is a generational thing.

My parents: “You’re so pale! You need to get some colour in you!” Every time they see my arms or legs.

They think I’m pale because I “don’t have enough blood”. (I have really low blood pressure - at my doctor’s appointment last month it was 80/50.) They think they’re dark because they do. Nope, you’re dark because you grew up in a time before sunblock and your skin is damaged. Mine is not and it is snow white. I do not wish to damage it, therefore I do not tan. I like my skin to be light, anyway! Besides, if I had “more blood”, wouldn’t I just be pinker? I don’t think being healthy makes you darker! Sure, you may have more of a rosy glow if you’re healthier, and I’ll admit I could be healthier, but I’ve still got a rosy glow in spades on my face!

Maybe that was why she told you that. :smiley:

Well, some actual scientific authorities say it’s healthier to wake up at the same time every morning regardless of how tired you are, and that you’ll be more alert during the day. Clearly working full time (!) as well as going to school all day, though, should give you a pass. That’s cruel and unusual. (Well, cruel at least.)

And you are right about “sleep debt”, too, of course. I think the wake-up-on-a-schedule thing is more that you should minimize napping except for occasional, extreme circumstances and such. Thta’s all from the top of my head, though, as I haven’t looked at the science in a long time.

BTW, when did you have the time to do homework?

Picture it: Rural Louisiana circa 1990-ish. One of the worst, poorest school districts in one of the poorest states with the worst schools. The school is grades 7 - 12 with about half of the 50% black population dropping out as well as a substantial part of the other white half also bailing from the crushing academic pressure. On top of that, the school burned to the ground midway through senior year (arson). We didn’t get donations of matching sets of books so they let us play on the football field when it wasn’t raining and put us into the remaining building, the gym, the rest of the time. We didn’t have much of the homework that I hear people from exotic far-away states tell about. When we did have homework, I just bought from my classmates because I had money but no time because I was working all the time you see.

I was the only one in my class that went to college and it was a good one. Went to an Ivy League graduate school after that. You just never know. My wife doesn’t like to get me started on my background around sensible Northeastern company.

And I can virtually guarantee that given the time and culture they were in, along with their core beliefs, that the likelihood of their knowing of/having access to those rudimentary “contraceptives” (I use the word advisedly because other than the natural-membrane condoms the effectiveness of the methods you mention are near zero and some, like douching, may actually increase the rate of fertilization) was vanishingly small.

I am not unaware of the history of contraception. I researched the topic at Johns Hopkins in the 70’s (from an academic standpoint :wink: ) and worked for Planned Parenthood in the 80’s as a physician. So I know that for the majority of women in the US, truly effective contraception was not truly available until the 1960’s and later.

Don’t forget “lots of pretty”. You bring the pretty.

Just stroking egos, here. Don’t mind me.

“Dear, men won’t like you if you’re funnier than they are.” mom
“Dear, men don’t like smart women.” mom
“Dear, men won’t respect you if you put out.” mom

Ah, my mom is a wacky lady. :slight_smile:

Dumb, dull women that don’t put out is the secret recipe hmmm.

My mother was of the opinion that if you had something to do that day, it had to be done at the earliest possible time or the whole day was just ruined! It took me years to learn that you could book something for after 8 in the morning and it wouldn’t ruin your day.

Mom has so many false pearls that I should probably be in therapy, but I have learned to just nod and smile and go on about my life.

It may have been their personal choice not to use contraceptives, but I doubt they were unaware of them. “Marital Hygeine” was no longer a taboo subject and there were widely available books on the subject (sold in the Sears and Roebuck catalog as far back as 1902 that I know of.) As I said, Lysol had directions printed right on the bottle and it was a commonly sold product.

Secondly, rubber condoms were made as early as the 1870s. By 1930 condom manufacturers were making 1.5 million a day.

Douching with an acidic product (as Lysol would be) reduces chances of pregnancy up to 25%. Not as effective as the Pill, of course, but it would be better than nothing for a woman whose partner refused to use a condom.

I like in Small Town America in the Midwest. It’s a very conservative and religious area and always has been. (We have ten pages of churches listed in the phone book and less than half a page of bars.) Yet I discovered in our museum storage a douching mechanism that dated to around 1905. (Oh, how I begged to be allowed to put it in the exhibit we were setting up on the turn of the century, but conservatism overrruled me.) Again, the Sears catalog, that great leveler and supplier to America, carried “womb veils” douche bags and “womb supporters” along with how-to books.

This wasn’t the Victorian era. Women like Margaret Sanger and Victoria Woodhull had made great strides in destroying the shame barrier. A woman may have chosen to abstain from contraceptive use, but it’s unlikely she’d be entirely ignorant of it.

People are still ignorant about contraceptives. It only takes two not knowin’, ya know.

Heh, I was told the opposite… “Learn to type, so you can always get a job.” Yeah, for about $6 an hour, I later discovered. Oh, and thanks, Mom, for telling me to learn shorthand. Because that’s so useful, nowdays.

“You’re not really allergic to nuts/berries; you’re just a picky eater.”

So, of course, my mother would slip almonds into bean casseroles, or make a chocolate pie for my birthday that she’d hidden nuts in – just to “prove me wrong”.

Leading to another of her gems: “You’ve always got some kind of rash or other! You need to see someone about that!” Uh, I did. He thinks you’re trying to poison me.

Fortunately, she actually believes that my little nephew is really allergic to nuts, so she’s stopped those shennanigans. Thank Og.

All of her medical “advice” is pretty dodgy, actually. Growing up, I was told that acne was caused by (1) not washing my face, (2) washing my face, (3) being out in the sun, (4) not being out in the sun, (5) eating chocolate, and (6) anything else she could completely reverse her position on two days later.

She still doesn’t understand why I scoff at her medical advice. What with the poisoning attempts, and all, it’s safer to ridicule her than listen to more bargle.

I had an ex-boss sit me down as I was leaving the company and tell me that I would go no where in the industry if I didn’t learn to keep a tidy work area.

As far as I can tell it hasn’t kept me from working and earning good pay.