CLOSE
Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

The ABCs of Bachelorhood, According To An 1897 Guide

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

Think the life of a bachelor is carefree and fun, full of nothing but poker nights and light beer? Walter Germain, an editor at Vogue, didn't believe that for one second, and in 1897 he wrote The Complete Bachelor, an etiquette guide for the single man.

These excerpts run the gamut from apt to archaic, so follow Germain's guidance cautiously, lest your 19th century manners be mistaken for 21st century creepiness.

American Butter Plates

"The butter plate of a few years ago was never seen outside of America, and is now destined to vanish from our tables. It is needless to add that butter is never served at dinner."

Bicycle Riding

"The present fashionable costume for cycling consists of tweed knickers and short lounge jacket of same material, brown leather or linen waistcoat, colored shirt, with white turn-down collar and club tie, golf stockings, and low-quartered tan wheeling shoes. A cap of tweed to match the suit completed the rig."

Clowning

"Do not be a professed jester nor yet a punster. The clowns of society are not enviable beings."

Dandruff

"Constant combing with a fine-tooth comb is apt to irritate the scalp and provoke dandruff, which can be allayed by brushing, shampooing, and the use of borax."

Elevators

"In these places a man keeps on his hat, his deportment being the same as he would observe in the street. But when the lift or elevator is fitted up as a drawing room, such as is used in hotels and other semi-public buildings, a man removes his hat when the other sex is of the number of its passengers."

Feet

"The nails of the toes should be kept as carefully as those of the hands. In summer a little talcum powder on the feet will prevent the odor of perspiration."

Golf

"Golf is the easiest game at which to cheat. However, apart from the moral effect of cheating at any game, if a man is dead to all sense of honor, he should be alive to the fear of being found out. Such discovery means social ostracism."

Hair

"Water is bad for the hair."

Introductions

"Introductions are never made in the street or in public places of any kind, or in public conveyances, unless under exceptional circumstances."

Jewelry

"Jewelry is vulgar. The ring for a man is a seal of either green or red stone, or of plain burnished gold with the seal or monogram engraved upon it. It must be worn on the little finger."

Kernels, Corn

"Corn on the cob is a favorite at small informal dinners as a separate course. In polite society you must remove the grains of the corn with your fork or your knife and fork, and never eat it off the cob holding the end with your fingers."

Legs

"As the man who crosses his legs in the presence of ladies is absolutely impossible, so should be the individual who commits the same crime in a public conveyance."

Menservants

"In the treatment of servants a man must exercise an iron will. He can be kind and considerate, but he must never descend to dispute with one, and certainly not swear at him. To be on familiar terms with one’s servants shows the cloven foot of vulgarity."

New York

"When speaking of the city of New York, do not refer to it as 'Gotham.' This shows the worst kind of provincialism and a vulgar spirit."

Ogling

"Staring at or ogling women, standing at the entrances of theaters, churches, or other public buildings, stopping still and turning back to look at some one or something in the street, can be classified as offenses of which no gentleman can be guilty."

Princes

"It is only civil to bow when passing the Prince of Wales or members of the royal family."

Quarreling

"No gentleman quarrels with a billiard marker or golf caddie; still less should he dispute a point at cards. Better lose, especially when women are present, than enter a controversy."

Romance

"A man should send from time to time, according to the state of his finances, flowers, sweets, or other tokens. A sensible girl will not approve of costly gifts if you can not afford them."

Slang

"Avoid slang, especially that of the music halls or the comic (?) newspapers. You can well afford not to be 'up to date.'"

Tipping

"Tipping is demoralizing, but it is an accepted custom."

Umbrellas

"The umbrella is an instrument of peace rather than a weapon of war, and should not be carried as 'trailed arms,' but like the stick it should be grasped a short distance below the handle, and the latter held almost upright on a very slight perpendicular."

Vacations

"There is, in these days of luxurious traveling, but little occasion to be flurried, and no excuse whatever for not being as well dressed as you are calm and self-possessed."

Whistling

"Whistle all you like in your bedroom, but not in public."

X-Rated Language

"Under great provocation the expletive 'damn' is tolerated by society, but it should be whispered and not pronounced aloud."

Yachting

"The proper entertainments for a yacht in harbor are luncheons, dinners, dances, and short cruises. None of these should be elaborate, the yacht itself—a thing of joy and beauty—being alone a great attraction."

Zipping Around Town In Your Carriage

"Drive with one hand and keep the whip hand free, except for its legitimate use in touching your horses now and then, and in saluting."

nextArticle.image_alt|e
iStock
arrow
Live Smarter
How to Rescue a Wet Book
iStock
iStock

Water and books don't usually go together. If you're one of the many sorting through waterlogged possessions right now—or if you're just the type to drop a book in the bath—the preservation experts at Syracuse University Libraries have a video for you, as spotted by The Kid Should See This. Their handy (if labor-intensive) technique to rescue a damp book features paper towels, a fan, some boards, and a bit of time. Plus, they offer a quick trick if you don't have the chance to repair the book right away.

The Kid Should See This also notes that literary magazine Empty Mirror has further tips on salvaging books and papers damaged by water, including how to clean them if the water was dirty (rinse the book in a bucket of cold water, or lay flat and spray with water) and what to do if there's a musty smell at the end of the drying process (place the propped-open book in a box with some baking soda, but make sure the soda doesn't touch the book).

Of course, prevention is the best policy—so store your tomes high up on bookcases, and be careful when reading in the bath or in the rain. (That, or you could buy a waterproof book.)

[h/t: The Kid Should See This]

nextArticle.image_alt|e
iStock
arrow
Lists
15 Common Stains and Easy Ways to Get Them Out
iStock
iStock

There's a stain solution to nearly anything you've spilled, smeared, squirted, or slopped.

1. GRASS

Four people sitting on a bench with the photo cropped from the waist down. All of their denim-clad knees are covered in grass stains.
iStock

Everyone loves a lush, green lawn—except when it’s smeared on your clothes. The next time you’ve got a Kentucky Bluegrass mess, just apply some pre-wash stain remover and let it sit for 15 minutes. You can also go the natural route and mix up a solution consisting of one part vinegar to two parts water. Then, use a old toothbrush or other small brush to work it in. Finally, launder as usual.

2. BLOOD

When it comes to bloodstains, look to the experts: ER nurses. According to them, the first step is to rinse the spot with cold water ASAP and blot it until you’ve gotten as much blood up as possible. Then, dab a bit of hydrogen peroxide directly to the stain and watch it magically rinse away.

If the problem is upholstery or carpet, you’ll also want to use the cold-water-and-blotting method, but this time, add a tablespoon of dish detergent to two cups of cold water. Carpet cleaner intended for pet stains may also work well.

3. KETCHUP

A blob of spilled ketchup on a white background.
iStock

The next time you find yourself with this condiment running down your shirt, don’t despair. First, flush the spot with water, starting with the back side of your shirt. Pretreat the spot with a liquid laundry detergent and let it sit for a few minutes, then rinse well. Repeat this step until you’ve removed as much of the condiment as possible, then treat with a pre-wash stain remover and launder as usual.

4. TOOTHPASTE

Dribbling Crest on your shirt before heading out the door to work is certainly annoying, but it’s definitely not the end of your apparel as long as you act quickly. Remove the excess goop first, then get a cloth wet with warm water and blot the area. Next, add a few drops of laundry detergent to the warm water and continue blotting. Blot with clean, warm water to rinse and allow the spot to air dry.

5. RED WINE

A glass of red wine tipped on its side. Some liquid remains in the glass, while the rest has been spilled out onto a white napkin and tablecloth.
iStock

This solution almost feels like a science experiment: Find the affected area and stretch the fabric over the opening of a bowl, securing it in place with a rubber band. Generously sprinkle salt on top of the fabric, then pour hot water through the fabric into the bowl and watch the stain disappear. Finally, toss it in the washer as normal.

6. GREASE

Got a grease stain? There’s a good chance that the antidote is sitting next to your kitchen sink. Any petroleum-based dish detergent, like Dawn or Sunlight, is designed to cut grease. While you probably use it to get your pots and pans sparkling, it has a similar effect on clothes. Just saturate the grease spot with the soap, let it soak in for a few minutes, then toss in the washer.

7. COFFEE

A yellow coffee cup tipped sideways, sitting on top of a blue dress shirt. The coffee has spilled all over the blue shirt.

If it’s a really fresh stain, you might be in luck (and also scalded). Running the stain under cold water from the back of the stain just might do the trick. If that doesn’t work, rub liquid laundry detergent on it and let it sit for 3 to 5 minutes. For old stains, soak the garment in cold water after you treat with detergent, then rub the fabric every 5 minutes to loosen up the stain. If it’s still stubbornly hanging on after about 30 minutes, soak it in warm water for another 5-15 minutes, then rinse thoroughly.

If this all sounds like a lot of work, try a gel stain remover, which does a good job at getting into the fibers of the fabric.

8. DEODORANT

Even if you’re extremely careful, putting on your shirt after you’ve already put deodorant on can be a tricky affair. But you don’t have to find a new shirt after those telltale white stripes show up on your shirt. Rub the smudges with pantyhose, knee highs, foam rubber from a padded hanger, or a dryer sheet. If you don’t have any of those things available, you can even rub the fabric of your shirt against the stain to loosen the residue.

9. MAKEUP

Various circular and square pans containing liquid and powder makeup, with brushes dipping into some of them.

If it’s concealer, eyeliner, blush, eyeshadow, or mascara, just use a little prewash stain treatment and wash as usual. Lipstick or lip balm may be a little more stubborn. If stain stick followed by laundering doesn’t work, try sponging the stain with a dry-cleaning solvent and washing again.

10. SPIT-UP

When the baby douses your shoulder with the remains of her lunch, you’re better off if she's breast-fed. Simply wash your clothes in normal detergent, then hang to dry in the sun. The sun’s bleaching properties should do the trick if the detergent didn’t.

Because of formula’s chemical makeup, formula stains are another matter entirely. After scrubbing at the stain with a stiff brush to remove as much of it as possible, sprinkle the entire stain generously with baking soda. Then pour club soda over the stain and let it soak until the mixture stops fizzing. Then, launder as usual, air dry, and cross your fingers.

11. MUD

The ankles of a pair of mud-splattered blue jeans hanging in front of a washing machine.

First, resist the urge to work on the stain while the mud is still wet. Most of the time, it pays to work on a stain while it’s fresh, but wiping at mud is only going to smear it around and make the stain bigger. Once it’s dry, shake off the dirt or vacuum it up. Then rub liquid detergent into the stain and let it soak for about 15 minutes. Rub the stained area with your fingers every few minutes to loosen the dirt. If the stain remains after 15 minutes, apply some stain stick, gel, or spray, and let it sit for five minutes. Wash with detergent as usual.

12. PAINT

Remove as much of the paint as possible with a paper towel, or, if the paint is dry, scrape it off with a dull knife or spoon. If the paint is water-based, all you have to do is rinse the stain in warm water until the color has run out, then wash as usual. If it’s oil-based, you’ll need to treat the mark with turpentine first, then rinse and launder.

13. INK


A pen in the pocket of a white dress shirt, with a blue ink stain starting to form in the bottom of the pocket.

The ink removal method will depend on what type of fabric you’ve marked with ink, but in many cases, rubbing alcohol or a solution of vinegar and dishwashing detergent will take care of it. Better Homes and Gardens has a quite comprehensive list of fabrics, from cotton to velvet, including detailed instructions for each. Your ink stain doesn’t stand a chance.

14. MARKER

Just because it’s permanent marker doesn’t mean you’ve got a permanent problem. Get the stain damp first, then spritz it with a non-oily hairspray. Blot at the marker stain with a paper towel until you see the color transfer from the fabric to the paper towel. You can also try the same method with rubbing alcohol, putting paper towels underneath the stain to absorb the color.

If you’re up for a bit of an experiment, soak the affected area in a bowl of milk and watch the marker ink change the milk colors. Repeat with a fresh bowl of milk until the stain is gone.

15. FRUIT JUICE

A clear glass tipped sideways on an off-white colored carpet, spilling red juice out onto the rug.

Contrary to most of the other advice for stain removal, you don’t want to get liquid detergent anywhere near a fruit juice stain—it will only set it. Instead, use white vinegar to blot the stain, then rinse with cool water. If the stain persists, try a digestant enzyme paste (unless your fabric is silk or wool) and let it dry for 30 minutes, then rinse.

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios