Looking Sharp!

good grooming for boys

The Franklin Watts Concise Guide to
Good Grooming for Boys

I am not  even going to wonder what the librarian was smoking when they kept this on the shelf.  I pray it is just one of those pathetic things that just falls through the cracks and not someone pathetically arguing “but some young man might need this!”  (Insert a tirade here about GLANCING at a shelf list now and again for dated materials.)   I am all for books on basic hygiene, but please can’t we do something a bit more current?  Gotta love these instructive illustrations.






  1. Maybe this was the librarian’s way of trying to combat the pants on the ground fad. I know if I had a son I’d make him read old fashion/grooming books for boys to keep him from doing the sagging crap. Also I’d play Larry Platt’s Pants On The Ground repeatedly and very loudly any time his pants sagged.

  2. A friend of mine went to a high school where the math teacher, a nun, combated the “pants on the ground” phenomenon by coming up behind offending boys and jerking their pants up to waist height, then advising them to invest in a belt.

    These illustrations are *very* seventies.

  3. Invisible man-boy on the cover has a crooked tie.

    And yes, there ARE better, more current materials on appearance and grooming these days.

  4. I can barely tell the unkempt from the “sharp looking” young men in those illustrations.

    Also pants have been sagging since what, early 90’s? Two decades ago! I think it’s time to just let that one go. Yes, it does look stupid. But complaining about it makes you look like a someone shaking their fists at those darn bloomer girls who dare to wear pants.

  5. Dated as this book may be, I suppose it’s likely to be at least marginally less irrelevant than an equivalent one for girls, given how depressingly slowly male fashions and grooming standards change (I swear I’ve seen some species of mammal evolve faster!). That said, I’ve heard that male fashions were decidedly more adventurous during the decade when this book came out: just one of the many reasons why, as someone who was around for only part of that decade, I often wish I’d been old enough to appreciate the ’70s more when they happened!

    On the subject of grooming books for boys, I remember seeing one back at the beginning of the ’90s that’d be nearly as dated if it was still floating about now. The most hilarious part of it was a section for boys contemplating getting an earring – it made the whole exercise sound about as extreme in its life-changing consequences as getting a tattoo, and advised any boy considering it to think long and hard about whether he *really* wanted to do it!

  6. I really hope good grooming didn’t include wearing that tie on the front cover.

    This reminds me of my MST3k “shorts” video which includes an old 1950’s short film on this subject, for teens. It explains simple concepts like showering as if they’d just been invented. The focus almost seems to be more on conformity instead of grooming, suggesting that no member of the opposite sex could possibly find you attractive if you don’t look just like everybody else. Of course, everyone in it ends up looking very nearly like a member of the Hitler Youth.

  7. Why does the guy in the second illustration remind me of Jack? Please don’t smack me, Mary.

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