Friday, March 16, 2012

Friday Five: Old Wives' Tales We Still Believe

It's 2012, and we are in the most technologically advanced century of our time. Yet, there are certain centuries-old practices and beliefs that we still adhere to because we "swear by them." Our grandmothers chased us around with some of these, and our parents may still try to enforce them. If nothing else, they make for a nice jaunt down memory lane.

1. No swimming 30-60 minutes after you eat: I think this is just so parents can have a few extra minutes to not worry about their kids drowning while they aren't looking. Because after a certain age, no one stops you from going in the pool. Hell, I've had parties during which we were eating and drinking in the pool. No one sunk to the bottom.

2. Going out in the cold with a wet head will get you sick: No, it'll just get you cold. What gets you sick are the disgusting other people who cough and sneeze all over and don't wash their hands. Little kids covered in boogers and dirt get you sick. Maybe we should encourage more people to go out with wet heads to ensure a shower before they leave the house and cause chaos. Buncha Typhoid Marys.

3. If a pregnant woman's face changes (and makes her ugly), she's having a girl: The "explanation" is that the little girl steals the mother's beauty. I think this was made up to make ugly pregnant ladies feel better by blaming the kid. And it's a baby, so you're more willing to forgive. But I know plenty of women who were positively gorgeous during their pregnancies, yet gave birth to baby girls. Maybe pregnancy makes some women ugly. Accept it. It's temporary, right? The tale doesn't say that you stay ugly. Chill out.

4. Cats steal the breath from babies: This tale comes from the medieval period when witchcraft was being persecuted, and cats were accused of being witches in disguise, or the "familiars" of witches. Cats were blamed for a lot of shit back then. I kinda get it. Cats are mean and aloof. But they got their feline revenge when the Black Plague spread wildly after they were exterminated en masse. Fleas spread the plague. Fleas lived on rats. Rats were not being hunted by cats because they were all dead from religious persecution. There you go. Fun fact for the day.

Anyway... cats are not going to hop in the crib and suck the air out of a baby. At most, if they were to lay on the child's face, then there could be an issue. But realistically, it's more of a cleanliness issue. There's no need for a cat in the crib. Keep Felix where he belongs, and everyone will be fine.

5. If you want to know how you'll age, look at your mother: While I can hope all I want this is not a myth (my mom's foxy!), the fact of the matter is, there's a ton that goes into what ages you. Sun exposure, smoking, diet, lifestyle (but just a little bit of DNA) all determine what you'll look like when you're a Golden Girl (or...Boy? How does that work?). Skin type and coloring are more DNA-related. And apparently, I get fair skin from my dad... hope that doesn't mean I'll have a grey goatee when I'm 70...

What wives' tales, whether debunked or not, do you "swear" are true?

1 comment:

  1. I never heard the one about baby girls stealing their mother's beauty! See, come here and learn something new every day.

    Hmmm... what about the one that cod liver oil is good for you? Not sure where that fits in, but I think an entire post should be dedicated to the disgustingness that is LIQUID fish. Ugh. I still have nightmares of my mom running after me and my brother yelling "time for ze Lebertran." I swear that's what it's called in German. It sounds like a really effed up robot.

    OMG, what was I talking about? Also fascinated by the plague and the cats. I guess they're useful after all :p