Monday, March 19, 2007

Fun With Hygiene


Modern hygiene! a whole magazine devoted to this fascinating topic!


Well, once upon a time (and still today in Czech) the word "hygiene" had a meaning larger than its usual present-day English connotation of "cleanliness." It certainly included cleanliness, but also referred to healthiness and related matters. As far as I can tell, it could cover anything from cosmetics to eugenics, although I suspect that cosmetics were not what most people thought of as the primary focus of hygiene.

Frantisek Trefny (sorry, I can't get my Czech keyboard working), publisher of a remarkable number of sex-education texts of some sort (they all seem to have vanished from the library), also published the remarkable journal Moderni hygiena. Trefny, whose business was located just down the street from where Hubert used to live, also sold cosmetics, rubber stockings (I don't think they can have been entirely rubber, but who knows; they look like ordinary stockings in the ads), and various forms of birth control. To the right, we have an ad for a depilatory product.

And to our left, we wouldn't want to have fears of pregnancy or other matters causing anxiety, so there are products to assist in that direction. Trefny and his Hydiko store had a wide range of condoms, some of which seem to have come with a stand, I suppose for hygienic air-drying after washing (people did formerly re-use the things, which were not exactly cheap).

The male whose energy flagged might want to read that informative volume, Bujare muzstvi (lively manhood). Since I have not read it myself, I cannot say whether it is helpful or even entertaining.

If Bujare muzstvi didn't liven a person up, he could always buy some Energo. I'd hazard a guess that Energo would be a better alternative than the revolver in the despairing guy's hand, unless of course he has shot the woman first. (In that case, he might as well go ahead and shoot himself, I think.) In my readings of the tabloid news over people's shoulders on the tram, I find that news of men who planned to shoot their wives and then themselves is always headlined in print large enough for me to follow, although unlike this ad, there usually aren't pictures of the unhappy event. Pictures are reserved for naked women and for stories alleging that the actor who plays Harry Potter has a sexual interest in horses.

But, you may wonder, is kissing hygienic? Well, readers of this article (which continued into the next issue) had the opportunity to find out. Not wanting to learn the worst, I didn't read the article. Then again, even if it isn't hygienic, I imagine the helpful staff at Moderni hygiena made some suggestions as to making it more so.

And don't forget to take care of your health!

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3 Comments:

Blogger Kristen said...

You do come up with the most interesting things in your research!

March 20, 2007 12:37 AM  
Blogger peacay said...

I like the cover. Girls Own Nature Health Hurdling and Scrubbing Annual.

November 13, 2008 4:54 AM  
Blogger Karla said...

Trefný must have liked the cover too. He used it several times. I suppose he preferred well-scrubbed females whose kissing was truly hygienic.

November 13, 2008 5:05 AM  

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