Tag Archives: retro

Weird Finds: Puberty Books of the Damned

Last weekend, I went to an estate sale with my mom.  Between disappointing the host by not needing baby stuff and disappointing the host by not being able to cook, I managed to find a real gem: two ancient TEEN WORKS puberty books gathering dust on a book shelf.  The host gave them to me for free, which just proves that she doesn’t know a good thing when she sees one.

The TEEN WORKS books were first written in the 1960’s and were sporadically updated through the mid-1980’s.  They are outstanding–and by “outstanding,” I mean “alternately hilarious and deeply depressing.”  In this post, the first of an occasional series, I’ll examine why.

What If You Fall for a Nerd?
Some of the “information” in these books is legitimately heinous, but I thought I’d kick things off with a funny one.  Geek culture is so hip these days, it’s hard to remember a time where nerds were feared and shunned.  Thankfully, TEEN WORKS is here to remind us.

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“I’m the amateur philatelist your mother warned you about.”

Sweet Jesus, look at that nerd!  He’s got a book!  And a pen!  And you just know his shirt was buttoned all the way up three seconds ago!  That young lady better run before he uses his magnifying glass to, um…examine…something.

Lest you think that picture is just an empty hypothetical, TEEN WORKS hastens to provide you with the narrative behind the image.

ImageLook there, behind you!  It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s a guy who pays fractionally more attention to necklace clasps than might be considered typical by mainstream society!

Nothing about the bus stop scenario seems particularly shriek-worthy to me, unless Horace Stevens (fantastic name, by the way) was carving a crude effigy of Tom Selleck into his bare thigh at the time.  The only thing about poor Horace that makes my skin crawl is this:

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I try not to swear on this blog, but a “jaunty little salute”?  Horace–what the fuck, man?

Anyway, now that you’re thoroughly smitten with this salute-throwing maniac, you need to figure out how to proceed.  And thank God, TEEN WORKS has your back on this one, too.

ImageI love that you’re supposed to ask yourself if your friend has a point, as if “green plaid shirts” might just be a valid reason to reconsider a relationship.  Also: radio-controlled airplanes and bugs are objectively great.  If your friend can’t understand that, it’s time to sever, dude.  You don’t need that kind of negativity in your life.Image“Settling” is a real thing that happens, but the notion that dating a nerd is the ultimate compromise of your personal ambition is pure 1980’s.  Glorious.

All right, enough about Horace Stevens.  Let’s get into the really vile stuff.

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