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Amy Vanderbuilt’s Everyday Advice

9 January 2011 One Comment

I picked up this advice book from 1954 at the thrift shop yesterday: “Amy Vanderbuilt’s Every Day Advice”. And yes, she is somehow related to the Vanderbuilt clan. Also, oddly enough the generic illustrations are done by Andy Warhol–hey, even he had a day job once. It has some real doozies in it.

(Photos by me from my comic series)

On Social Graces:

Question: “My husband thinks I am difficult because I expect him to wear his coat to the table. He says that a man should be able to do as he pleases in his own home and that wearing a coat to the table isn’t important. Mrs. J.A.O’R, Nashville, TN

Mrs: Vanderbuilt: We have abridged ceremony very much, but a considerate man wears coat and tie (unless he’s in a sports shirt) even to his own dinner table. In very hot weather he may ask permission to come coatless but he should always remember to ask his wife–always his hostess and deserving the respect due. Marriage is difficult at best but when it is devoid of expected small courtesies it is intimacy without shock absorbers.

(She also gives marriage advice, that crafty Mrs. Vanderbuilt! And she was married twice!)

On Babies and Children:

Question: “If my coming baby is a son we should like to name him for his grandfather. However, my husband had a brother who was named for his father and was therefore “Junior”. This brother is mentally ill and will never recover. He is institutionalized. Would it be proper for us under the circumstances to call the new baby “Junior”?” A.G.I Indianapolis, IN

Mrs. Vanderbuilt: “You could not possibly call the baby “Junior” for two reasons: One is that even though his uncle is in a  mental institution he still retains his identity, and you many not take it from him. Secondly, “Junior” means “the son of”, and your baby will not be the son of the grandfather, obviously. If he is a boy you may call him, however, “Second”, naming him for his grandfather.”

(Junior’s named after Uncle Junior. Yes, that’s right, the psychotic one that paints his fingernails and weeps on the couch.)

Jim Entertains

On Hosting:

Question: When a group of ladies meet at a home, is it proper for the hostess to smoke a cigarette and not offer one to her guests? Or should she not smoke when no one else does? J.B. New Orleans, LA

Mrs. Vanderbuilt: She should offer cigarettes to her guests, and, if they refuse, then I hope she will at least limit her smoking. It would be courteous of her to ask the others if they mind if she smokes–just as a man would. Of course, if someone does mind, she should not smoke.

(I say smoke up, honey–just as a man would…)

Dick, are those black shoes you're wearing!

On Dress:

Question: My wife says it is incorrect to wear black shoes in the country, What do you think? J.A. New York

Mrs. Vanderbuilt: Well, it depends. The choir boy would wear black shoes even in the country church, and black shoes are for formal attire anywhere–for example, cutaways or director’s jackets are often worn at formal country events and are of course accompanied by black shoes, but certainly brown shoes are outdoor shoes in the country. And yet the current fashion does show black loafers and even quite a lot of black in country tweeds, so this season at least, and maybe for a few seasons to come, we might abridge the rule, and the kind of black informal shoe I have described would be alright in the country.

(Advice: Still wear brown shoes in the country in case you step in cow shit.)

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