I’m running into more and more Old Wives Tales over here — you know, the beliefs that people have that are steeped in legend and myth and have been passed down since the first Young Wife became Old. Sometimes, these make me laugh. Lately, they’ve been ticking me off. Let’s blame the pregnancy hormones, but I’ve been easy to tick off lately. I think that’s also because I don’t like people telling me what to do and here it’s culturally very appropriate to tell people what to do. Eat this, don’t eat that, don’t drink that, don’t stand here, don’t wear that, put on a sweater, get out of the wind, don’t cross your legs, lay down, sit up, don’t lift that, blah, blah, blah…. that’s all I hear all day.
However, sometimes these Old Wives Tales can be good and I can exploit them for my own comfort. This week I heard that whatever a pregnant woman craves, her husband or friends should go get it for her. Otherwise, the baby will be harmed. The lady who told me this then lowered her voice, leaned in, and said, “My cousin always craved strawberries, but it was December and not a single strawberry was to be found. When her baby was born, she had… (insert pause where she straightened up, looked around suspiciously, and ran a finger down the side of her neck)… a birthmark that looked like a strawberry right here. Whatever you crave, you must eat!”
This lady works in a shop across the street from my hub’s office. Whenever he won’t do exactly what I want or whenever I get ticked off at him, I threaten to tell her that I really am craving a Luann platter of fried fish, mac ‘n cheese, mashed potatoes, a roll, chocolate pie, and some tea from Luby’s but that Ray Ray won’t go get it for me. Buah-ha-ha-ha-ha! I may not get my Luann platter that way, but I do get a backrub or a candy bar or whatever else I really want. Um, I mean, whatever else Bean wants.
These Old Wives Tales have also got me thinking: What Old Wives Tales do we have in the States? All I can think of is that you’re not supposed to go to bed with your hair wet or you’ll get ill. Oh, and don’t swim for an hour after eating or you’ll get a cramp. Who figured out that it takes precisely 60 minutes for the food to digest to a safe enough level to allow swimming again? It just doesn’t make sense. Sure, you shouldn’t eat a gigantic 3 course dinner and then take a jaunty swim through the ocean… but if you eat a half of a sandwich and some cheetos, I think that waiting an hour might be too long. Anyway, I digress…
What other things can you guys think of? It’s hard because these are beliefs so ingrained in our culture that we don’t always realize that they’re not true. I’m not talking about “Step on a crack, you’ll break your mama’s back” type of sayings. Those we all know aren’t true. I mean the sayings and beliefs we have about life that have no scientific basis and yet we tend to listen to them.
Now it’s your turn. While I’m drinking a glass of ice water in front of an open window in direct violation of two Old Wives Tales here, I’d like you to tell me any tales you can think of from our cultures. (Friends from other countries, feel free to contribute as well! This isn’t just reserved for people from the States!)
Now I’m craving a candy bar. I must eat one or my unrequited craving will hurt Bean.