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Popular Habits From The ’50s And ’60s We’d Never Try Today

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It’s amazing what you can discover when you do down a memory lane. Nothing like good old days, right? People who grew in the 1950s and 1960s Know how much back then days were more straightforward and less stressful.

Still, sometimes it’s good to take off rose-tinted glasses and see the world as it is. There are certain things from the 1950s and 1960s that are better left there. From the weird to amazing, to the downright unusual and dangerous, here are the most popular habits from days gone by that we just wouldn’t try today.

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25. Paint Our House With Lead Paint

Back in 1978, paint containing was banned in the States. Yes, a moment came when people finally realized that is wasn’t a good idea to inhale a highly toxic substance, as any poisonous substance can enter the bloodstream.

However, back in the 1950s and 1960s, people lived in a home with lead paint. In fact, the Environmental Protection Agency says 69 percent of households built between 1940 and 1959 contained lead-based paint.

24. Expose Our Kids To Explosive Chemicals

The Gilbert chemistry set was designed to empower young scientists, but it was far from a harmless toy. This famous set, actually contained highly volatile and potentially lethal chemicals, like ammonium nitrate and sodium cyanide.

We strongly believe that parents had no idea how dangerous this kit is, they would keep it far from their children. Still, this one was a common birthday gift. Luckily, today we have less dangerous ways to introduce our children to science.

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23. Get High On Periwinkle

So far, 12 states and Washington D.C. have legalized recreational marijuana. However, back in the 1950s and 1960s, young adults had to be creative to enjoy certain substances.

In 1967, a teenage boy and his friends were caught smoking periwinkle leaves in Florida, leading to a nationwide panic. Authorities even issued warnings about the dangers of periwinkle, such as “withering of muscle tissue.”

22. Build Homes Containing Asbestos

Asbestos, a natural mineral composed of thin fibers, was used in the construction of many homes before the 1980s — in cement, steam pipes, floor tiles, etc.

There is one thing that everyone should know about asbestos – it’s toxic. As such, it can be hazardous in the fibers become airborne and are inhaled. The U.S. banned spray-on asbestos in the late 1970s.

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21. Serve Savory Jello-O Creations

Jell-O is next to peanut butter, probably the most loved food in the States. After all, you can mix Jell-O with different food, including ice cream, and fruit. Moreover, back in the 1950s, people loved to pair this jell with a range of savory foods.

The result of that mix was amazing molded salads using veggies, hard-cooked eggs, or even meats. Even the creators of Jell-O were on board the savory train, introducing Celery, Italian Salad, Mixed Vegetable, and Seasoned Tomato flavors.

20. Wear A Paper Dress

The 1960s had a very different fashion compared to today. This decade gave us some of the most popular fashion items today, such as the miniskirt and the bob haircut.

In 1966, the Scott Paper Company created something a little different than the bathroom tissue it was known for. The paper dress lived for a short period, and it was more than a passing fad – moreover, by 1968, everyone had learned how impractical it was.

19. Hitch A Ride

How willing are you today to hitchhike in an unknown area? You may think twice today before you jump into a stranger’s car, but it wasn’t that uncommon during the 1950s and 1960s to hitchhike whenever possible.

The main reason for this was that not everyone had a car back then. However, thanks to increasing car ownership and the popularity of horror movies, plus the discouragement from authorities, hitchhiking isn’t popular anymore.

18. Sun Worship Without Protection

Did you know that if you don’t apply sun cream, your skin will look dry and older? Plus, there is always the possibility of severe skin issues. However, in the 1960s, getting a tan was the goal, and people didn’t care much about sun cream.

The skin may seriously suffer from the harmful effects of UV rays, so putting sun cream on is really a must. Today we know better, and there’s no excise for going to the beach without SPF.

17. Make A Jellygrill Sandwich

Ah, the fantastic jelly sandwich… A bit of jelly can make a day better. If you add to that a full spoon of peanut butter, you are tasting a piece of heaven. At least that’s how we see it. In the 1960s, they had a different idea of how a good jelly sandwich should look like.

In the 1960s, people loved jellygrill. This delicacy from the 1960s consisted of a large helping of grape jelly and processed cheese of your choice between two slices of bread. If you think that this combo sounds awful, you’re not the only one, which is probably why the jellygrill didn’t last. Some things are better forgotten.

16. Smoke On Flights

Smoking was a big deal of culture back int he 1950s and 1960s. People were so much into smokes that smoking was allowed everywhere, including long-distance flights. Smoking everywhere was normal.

By the end of 1990, smoking was prohibited on all domestic flights under six hours in duration. If you notice a tiny ashtray on the wall next to the lavatory door on a plane, that’s because it’s still a legal requirement.

15. Drink Wine With Every Meal

Having a strong drink while dining is fine, as long it’s in normal limits. After all, a good pasta or good cheese goes perfectly with a glass of good wine. In the 1960s they had an unusual habit – to drink wine with every meal, including breakfast.

Having a wine for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and every snack is far from healthy. A book by Helen Gurley Brown, “Sex and the Single Girl,” published in 1962, is a timeless witness to this practice. It may be a thing back then, but it’s not a thing now, and dietitians would be firmly against this practice.

14. Have Helmet Hair

Big hair was a big hit in the 1960s. Ladies admired The First Lady, Jackie Kennedy, who rocked a bouffant like nobody else. Naturally, several ladies wanted to feel like her, and a new hairstyle wave was born.

This hairstyle even has a definition in the Oxford Dictionary. By this definition, the bouffant is defined as hair “styled so as to stand out from the head in a rounded shape,” from the French word for “swelling.”

13. Twist Away Our Waists

Diets are always popular. An inch here and there for a perfect body can motivate many to change their diet habits and push them to work out. Some people tend to choose faster ways to lose weight.

In the 1960s man and women, especially women, were into Trim Twist. This was a simple device: a single, rotating board that you stood on, then started twisting. As expected, it didn’t work. Only hard work, dedication, workout, and proper nutrition works.

12. Presidential Pet Care

One of the weirdest moments during the 1960s was when President Lyndon Johnson demonstrated how he could lift his Beagles by their ears. Johnsons lived in the White House from 1963 to 1969, and during that time, he enjoyed the company of his two Beagles.

This Beagle demonstration caused a sensation, especially that journalists were there. He claimed that his habit was a benefit to help his pets. Exactly how this so remained unclear, and the dogs’ yelps tended to contradict Johnson’s claim.

11. Give Babies Coffee

No, babies aren’t coffee lovers. They need to eat and drink only baby-safe products. You may be the world’s biggest coffee fan, but it doesn’t mean that your baby should drink it. However, in the 1960s, it was kind of a thing.

In his 1962 book “Bringing Up Babies,” Dr. Walter Sackett recommended that a cup of coffee could do wonders for baby’s health. He claimed that that kid should be given black coffee starting at the age of six months. The reason for this belief? He claimed that babies should be introduced early to family habits. To be honest, we don’t think that many parents followed this advice.

10. Smoke During Pregnancy

Today we know about various health issues related to smoking. However, in the 1960s, people were so busy consuming cigarettes that they didn’t care much about their effect on their bodies. As a result, many pregnant ladies spend their entire pregnancy smoking.

What makes this occurrence bizarre is the fact that pregnant ladies were encouraged to smoke. They were regularly told it was okay to light up during pregnancy. In fact, a 1966 book by Laury Oaks, “Smoking and Pregnancy: The Politics of Fetal Protection,” said it was absolutely fine to have up to 10 cigarettes a day while growing a baby.

9. Drink Contaminated Water From Garden Hoses

Did you know that first bottled water was first commercially available in the U.S. in 1767? In the early 20th century, its popularity declined, and it wasn’t revived until the 1970s.

In the 1970s, Perrier launched a very successful ad campaign. Until then, kids usually relied on the hose to stay hydrated while playing outside. However, the water coming from the hose wasn’t regulated like water in the home; therefore, it may have caused unsafe lead levels.

8. Drive Under The Influence

Driving under any drink or substance is wrong and harmful to your environment. People are more aware of their responsibility for others, that they were in the 1950s or 1960s.

Thanks to driving under the influence laws, drunk driving deaths have plunged since the 1970s. Still, it took some time for people to get used to driving without any influence. In the 1950s and 1960s, people were more comfortable to drive after a cocktail or even six.

7. Travel In Cars Without Wearing Seat Belts

The world has changed so much in the last few decades. That change is easy to spot through drivers’ habits and driving habits. You may have a seat belt on no matter where you sit in a car, but that wasn’t always the case.

In the U.S., new cars weren’t fitted with seat belts until the 1960s, and it wasn’t a legal requirement to use them until the 1980s. According to the Department of Transportation, seat belt use reduces serious crash-related injuries and deaths by about 50 percent, and that’s why we always use a seat belt today. No excuse when it comes to safety.

6. Drink Frozen Orange Juice From Concentrate

Nothing like a glass of fresh orange juice to boost your energy, right? After all, one glass of fresh orange juice a day keeps the doctor away.

Back in the 1960s, orange drinks came in different forms because orange juice starts to degrade as soon as it leaves the farm. So, a spoonful of powder in a glass of water can easily be turned into an orange-flavored drink.

5. Eat Ice Cream For Breakfast

Eating ice cream for breakfast, must sound like a dream, right? Nowadays, this is a big no-no. Just think about those calories and what you are doing to your body by skipping a proper breakfast.

In the 1960s, people put ice cream on their Cream of wheat, instead of cereals or peanut butter. Ice cream and porridge? Pass! Some things should be as they are – in their pure ice cream form.

4. Take Part In Street Racing

Any major movie hit from the 1950s or 1960s includes awesome cars and at least one car racing scene. This shouldn’t be a surprise because car racing was a huge deal back in the days.

Street racing dates back to Michigan when the three leading Detroit-based American car companies (Ford, General Motors and Fiat Chrysler, a.k.a. “The Big Three”) were producing high-powered performance cars. Since a private racing venue wasn’t always available, drivers used public roads to show off their speed. Street racing is active even today, but they are officially illegal, making it impossible to organize them.

3. Iron Our Hair

Long before hair straighteners become a thing and flat irons became widely available, people had to be creative. They had to use in-house items for beauty sessions. Therefore, iron seemed like a reasonable choice.

To achieve straight and sleek locks, people regularly used a home iron to make a straight-hair look. All you had to do was lay your tresses down on an ironing board and get your mom or friend to go over them with the iron. Can you smell that burning hair?

2. Get A Lobotomy For Mental Health Issues

Did you know that lobotomy was first invented in 1949? It was created by a Portuguese neurologist Egas Moniz who won the Nobel Prize, for his discovery. Lobotomy is described as a surgical procedure. This procedure was later on described as “putting in a brain needle and stirring the works.”

It involved severing the brain’s connection to the prefrontal cortex and was believed to “cure” mental illness. Not only that, it sounds horrific, it actually was. Luckily, we have many other treatment options available today.

1. Ride A Bike Without A Helmet

You may see people wearing protective gear when riding a bike, but that wasn’t the case back in the 1950s and 1960s. Some rides were so dangerous, including the professional ones, but people didn’t care much.

Nowadays, while there’s still no federal law in the U.S. requiring bike helmet use, most states and localities started adopting legislation in the 1980s – although most of them are limited to the under 18s. Some cyclists might hate wearing helmets, but they will still do it because they understand that safety comes first.

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