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  • Lots of Cowbird have shared their love of books and collections, all of which I loved. I too am a book junkie. Because of my need to divest and numerous moves, I have given away hundreds of books, and now keep very few. Among those old tomes I have carried from place to place is this volume, Dr. Parker's New Marriage Guide, published in 1905, is a guide for young men about to marry, which at times is very amusing. I would like to share some of his advice.

    In the case of detecting virginity (an important task for the bridegroom), Dr. Parker goes on for several pages about the fragile nature of the hymen and the unreliability of handing over a stained bed sheet as evidence of virginity. He goes on to detail all the ways in which females can hoodwink a groom in believing they are in tact when they are most certainly not. His tried and true and only evidence of virginity is as follows:

    "The most reliable signs of virginity are - first of all good parentage; secondly, a good mother's training, care, and advice; thirdly, frankness of disposition, healthfulness, and youthfulness. But this is dangerous ground for the unprofessional to tread upon, and it is far the best to accept your lover as pure than to doubt in any case, as there are no outward signs that can be termed absolute." p. 176.
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