Slimming Tips From The Past

by VR Sreeraman on Aug 18 2007 5:51 PM

Now women are set to get slimming tips from the distant past. A 17th-century English manual, to be auctioned next month, has thrown light on how the women maintained their shape and looks during the reign of William and Mary, and offers the bizarre, and often hilarious, home remedies and etiquette tips to present day women.

The manual advises women to use goose grease on sagging breasts and warns against yielding too quickly to men.

"The Ladies' Dictionary: being a General Entertainment for the Fair Sex," published in 1694, is expected to bring about 2,000 pounds at Bonhams, the London auction house.

Described as the Cosmopolitan magazine of its day, its pages include tips on dating, make-up, diet and expanding the mind. However, a large portion of the text gives advice on weight loss, with a further warning that women shouldn't become "too thin and scragged."

To shed those extra pounds quickly, 'The Ladies' Dictionary' advises bathing in claret wine infused with "wormwood, calamint, chamomile, sage and squinath."

Those who wish to work upon particular flabby or sagging areas were told to brew up a foul mixture of chicken and goose grease, pine, rosin, pitch and turpentine in an earthenware pot. This was then mixed with wax, cooled, applied "to the place that Languishes, or does not equally Thrive", and allowed to set into a plaster.

The advice on wearing make-up is equally firm with the book saying, "A painted face is enough to destroy the Reputation of her that uses it."

Addressing the question how far to go on a first date, the book says, "Is it proper for a woman to yield at the first address? You'll get better conditions if the enemy does not know how weak you are within."

The author of 'The Ladies' Dictionary' is identified only as HN.

"It's an extraordinary book, offering advice to women of all classes on a wide range of subjects. You could call it the Cosmopolitan of its day," the Daily Mail quoted Matthew Haley, a book expert at Bonhams, as saying.