Dating Advice and cutting edge medicine from “The Favorite Medical Receipt Book and Home Doctor”…
About Marriage — Now I am going to speak to you on a delicate and difficult subject, wrote Dr. Warner M.D. in 1904.
You are thinking of marriage; it is right that you should. To be married to a good man, sound in body and mind, whom you sincerely love, is the best fortune that can come to you
— It is better you die an old maid than marry a man that is fast. —
You are limited in your choice of a husband to the men who have signified their wish to marry you, but it is better that you should die an old maid than marry a man who is “fast” as your friends say, i.e., dissipated. Of course in marriage there are many considerations besides those of health, but those of health are the only ones on which I undertake to advise you.
There are two forms of dissipation which are to be avoided in a husband on the score of health — habitual use of alcoholic drinks to excess, and the habit of association with immoral women. It is not very common for a young man to be what is called a habitual drunkard, but a man who is frequently intoxicated when young will, in all human probability, be a habitual drinker before he is forty
— Marriage to a man who drinks can cause your children to have nervous troubles, hysterics, epilepsy, and sometimes idiocy —
If you imagine you can reform such a man, you are greatly mistaken; he will grow worse and not better. He will not injure your health directly, only so far as misery, want and distress are likely to do it; but your children will suffer. They are likely to have all sorts of nervous troubles, hysterics, epilepsy, and sometimes idiocy.
The second form of dissipation is even more dangerous. It is quite common for a young man of that sort to contract diseases as a result of his bad habits, which, if you marry him, would be very likely to be communicated to you or to any children that you might have by him. Do not allow yourself to become interested in such a man, even if he has beautiful eyes and fascinating manners.
Choose for associates sober, steady young men. Do not be afraid to give them a little kindly encouragement if they are shy and awkward.
As to Diet —You should eat good, simple food. Avoid rich cake, gravies, rich pastry and preserves. Ices in moderation are wholesome enough. Eat all the fruit you want, provided it is ripe and sound, but do not eat too much candy. It would be better not to eat any, but that is too much to expect of you, for candy is a girl’s greatest temptation in the eating line. Hot breads and buckwheat cakes are good to the taste, but trying to the digestion. Use tea and coffee with great moderation; they are nerve stimulants, which you do not in the least need. A cup of weak coffee you can have in the morning, if you want it, but save the tea till you are an older woman.
Take plenty of time for your meals, and masticate your food thoroughly.
Cosmetics, Powder, Rouge, etc. —Scorn everything of this kind.
The editor explains the purpose of the book as well as the receipt and information sources.
NOTE: This was cutting edge medicine from the leading physicians at the beginning of the 20th century. It shows how far we have come as well as how little has changed.