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Friday, October 21, 2011

Date Talk: To Win Boys, Girls Should Shut Up, Says 1968 Scholastic Book

Posted By on Fri, Oct 21, 2011 at 8:00 AM

click to enlarge studies_in_crap_date_talk_cover.jpg
Each Friday, your Crap Archivist brings you the finest in forgotten and bewildering crap culled from Golden State basements, thrift stores, estate sales, and flea markets.

Date Talk

Author: R. N. Lawrence

Date: 1968
Publisher: Scholastic
Discovered at: Kayo Books, 814 Post, S.F.

Guesses About What The Guy on the Cover Might Be Saying:

  • "Girl, I lettered in make-out."
  • "Can I at least smell your hair?"
  • "I don't see anything, but without getting down to the scalp we can't rule out an infestation."

Representative Quotes:

"New words being tossed around: cybernetics, demography, fail-safe. If you don't know what they mean, you better find out." (page 37)
"Wrong: That's a classy chapeau. (Slangy.)
Right: That's a very good looking hat." (page 153)

When we think of 1968, we tend to think of American youth in the jungle or the streets, changing the world through either protest or napalm, which is still pretty much the dividing line in American politics. But we too rarely remember the four-square silent-majority kids of R.N. Lawrence's Date Talk, a crowd that knew the surprising secret truth of youthful romance: To succeed in love, compliment your date's hat and be ready to discuss cybernetics.

Those, of course, are advanced tips. Before getting to them, teens should master the basics of good chatter. In the case of young girls, that means not chattering much at all. Lawrence advises:

"Boys have a way of wanting to be leaders -- and the fact is, they usually are. A lost ski party in the mountains would look for a boy to lead the way out. It's his job. Let him lead in talk, as well."

Lawrence adds: "Don't lead him. Would you on the dance floor?"

In actual practice, being led in conversation means that girls should not correct their dates. Here Lawrence shows how to react when a girl knows something a boy does not:

click to enlarge studies_in_crap_date_talk_george_eliot.jpg

The girl's job is to follow but still fascinate. Lawrence encourages his audience to read widely and know all Madagascar, Chile, Saskatchewan, and the Galapagos. He calls for every teen to possess "more information. More dope on what's going on in this Brave New World." He even promises:

"Sports, club elections, ball teams, even dates won't be enough. And neither will the usual boy-girl 'line.' Get on that space-ship, you're going places!"

Once on that space ship, though, the girl is something of a hostage:

click to enlarge studies_in_crap_date_talk_dont_get_personal.jpg

In short, Lawrence's advice for girls: Know everything about everything, but don't ever let on that you know or feel anything a boy hasn't brought up. Also, teen conversation is freshened up by light BDSM.

But, on the off chance you find yourself free to speak, here's a list of "expressive words" sure to dazzle:

click to enlarge studies_in_crap_date_talk_expressive_words.jpg

Here's the sort of thing Lawrence suggests kids actually say to stir conversation:

"Well, friends, we've talked about everything here except what's really on our minds. What do people think of high school education in the U.S.S.R. compared to ours?"

Next: Ridiculous quizzes, terrible advice, and more

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Alan Scherstuhl


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