I love old things. Or maybe I should say antiques. Not that I don’t like old people, I’m not saying that, but right now I’m not talking about old PEOPLE but old THINGS. Books, furniture, pictures; old cities, old architecture, old knick knacks. I love to find an old treasure and make it my own, all the while wondering who had it before me and what their life might have been like. I had a beautiful old glasses case back in the day, which I used to carry my lipstick around. Truly a wonderful find, beautiful and elegant. I lost it at the Joe Lewis arena one year, watching a hockey game. I told you all, I love sports, but that particular game sucked, and suckier still was losing my treasure. It’s not like I was likely to ever find out who owned it before me, but it’s fun to wonder. Was this some exotic and beautiful woman who wore thick glasses because she was blind as a bat? Perhaps she found her boyfriend cheating on her and went blind with fury, and suddenly found herself needing glasses and a cute glasses case?
Anyway, I diverge. The whole purpose of this post was actually to brag about a treasure of mine. One glorious, fated day I came across an old book. Very hard for me to resist them, so if they are in the least bit interesting, artistic, or valuable I will do my best to save, salvage or purchase them. No, I’m not a hoarder, I wish you would stop assuming the worst of me. It’s called being a “picker”. Haven’t you seen that show “American Pickers”? Well get on that; it makes all of us crazy packrats feel much more sane, and gives us a viable excuse – er – reason for clutter and collections.
Back to my tale. Stop distracting me.
This book – Esquire’s Handbook for Hosts, c1949 with illustrations by L.J. Allen – is a dandy. Written in a snarky, sassy tongue, the book guides a young man in all things entertainment. What types of drinks you should serve at your party, how to barbeque, how to determine if you are attractive to members of the opposite sex. (I don’t think there are any bits of advice on attracting same sex admirers; this IS 1949 after all) I may end up quoting this book on occasion, because I love it so, or at least sharing an occasional drink recipe.
For example, a little treasure tidbit from the section entitled “Cocktails”:
“There will be times when you must steel yourself to mix up one of those fluffy, multicolored abominations which, for some mysterious reason relating to iron-insides and paralyzed palates, the “ladies” insist upon downing. The habitual-offenders of these unmanly drinks are segregated under “Something for the Girls,” confined to page 117 where they can’t interfere with your own tasteful toasting.”
I love this silly, sexist, sassy book. Good thing I wasn’t a wife back then, or I might have landed in the clinker for homicide with a rolling pin. Better yet, a stirring stick.