She’s wearing rags and feathers from Salvation Army counters – “Suzanne” by Leonard Cohen

Everything a Teenage Boy Should Know
Everything a Teenage Boy Should Know

I love op shops (or thrift stores or charity shops, depending on where I am). So much tat and treasure and things that were once loved. I can browse for ages finding preloved flannel shirts and jeans that will fit if I lose 3 kilos. And books. Lots of books.

We were in a rural Queensland town on the weekend, and the op shop had a book sale. Five for $1.00. And I found this:

“Everything a Teenage Boy Should Know” by Dr John F. Knight, first published in 1973 and the edition I found was revised in 1983.  Written in a chatty Q&S style, this book has given me endless whooping amusement, interspersed with the somber thought that 1983 wasn’t that long ago, and how bloody wonderful it is that most of the world has moved on from this.

There are 17 chapters, with titles such as “Strange Facts About Boys”and “Social Diseases Are on the Rampage”. “All About Girls” is 15 pages while “Passing Examinations and Developing Talent” is 20 pages.

Here’s a few jawdroppers. They’re practically picked at random.

Is there any way of ascertaining a woman’s virginity?

Every male, it seems, desires to marry a virgin. I am asked this question many times.

In this manner you’ll finally link up with a person whose outlook on life equates with yours. … After all, there is probably a young lady seeking a young man of high moral calibre too.

 This subheading labelled “Hygiene” interests me. Tell me more.

… These days some students seem intent on remaining as dirty and grubby as possible… Bathe regularly. Wash the skin well with hot water and use plenty of soap. Do this often.

Of course what many people cannot imagine is how two women could possibly indulge in “sex” as we understand it

The answer is that they cannot. Their actions usually involve physical stimulation of each other’s external genital organs. In brief, one female will take the initiative and make up to her partner. With simple manipulation, she will physical stimulate (or masturbate) the other’s clitoris to the point of maximum excitation. In this way her partner will achieve an orgasm. Then it’s a reversal of the situation. The appeased partner will then similarly caress and physically arouse the other until she too achieves a climax.

Marijuana Use

… It is interesting to note that most drug takers are not interested in religion and have seldom been church attenders. Many come from homes where parental unity was lacking…

How do you feel about current male hair fashions?

Right now short back and sides seems to have made a comeback and long, greasy hair is not so fashionable

What then, is the advice [on heavy petting]?

No doubt you hope ultimately to marry. Will you be looking for a virgin? Or would you be contented with second-hand goods that have been the subject of heavy petting sessions by an unknown number of young blades before you?

There is little doubt you’ll be seeking out the former…

What about inner psychological reactions [to sex out of marriage]?

There’s little doubt that sex out of marriage can be mentally damaging. The person most likely to suffer is the girl.

Generally the male is the aggressor and the female is the more passive partner…

Is this a time consuming activity [on sex within marriage]?

It varies with the individual. Some women react instinctively and immediately. Others take longer. It may vary from five minutes to half an hour or even longer.


I was telling someone about this book today, and she reminded me that it was used on Spicks and Specks, which is an Australian pop quiz. In one of the rounds, contestants have to sing a  well-known tune substituting the words from an alternate text. Famously, on one occasion Everything a Teenage Boy Should Know was used, which is probably the best use for it.

I can’t find a clip of that, but I did find this: