spaeth : first lessons in surf-bathing,
Sigmund Spaeth : First Lessons in Surf Bathing,
Spaeth: First Lessons in Surf
Monthly Magazine: A Popular Journal of General Literature
J.B. Lippincott and Co., Philadelphia, July-December 1912.
Volume 90, pages 233-234. .
Also re-printed in
Charlotte Medical Journal, 1914 (?).
Rather than an introduction to surf-bathing
technique, as implied by the title, Spaeth presents a humorous guide to surf-side "courting" from a male and a female perspective.
Spaeth wrote an earlier article Flavia
Swims in Lippincott’s, volume 88, September 1911, page
wikipedia: Sigmund Gottfried
Spaeth (April 10, 1885 –
November 12, 1965)
Spaeth was an American
musicologist who traced the sources and origins of popular songs
to their folk and classical roots.
Presenting his findings through books, lectures, liner
notes, newspapers, radio and television, he became known as
The Tune Detective.
The Importance of Music and Stories Behind the
World's Greatest Music.
LESSONS IN SURF-BATHING
By Sigmund Spaeth
Never bathe alone.
It is not only dangerous, but unprofitable.
An audience is almost essential to successful surf-bathing.
A feminine companion will be found most satisfactory.
If you are possessed of an Apollo-like figure, that fact will be
most impressive when you are in a bathing-suit.
If your contour is not fit for public presentation, the friendly
waves will hide your shortcomings.
There are two ways of entering the water.
One is to lead your fair companion daintily, a step at a time,
into the fearsomely inviting depths, helping her over every inch
of foam which might be called a "breaker."
(For this purpose, it is important that you should hold both her
hands in yours.)
Answer her shivers and gurgles of delight with superior smiles,
toss the water aside contemptuously with knees and shoulders; in
short, adopt the attitude of "man, the protector of femininity."
The other method of entrance is more violent, and in some ways
Leave your companion on the beach with the explanation that you
"must get wet first."
Then run at top speed into the water, leaping over the billows
like a frightened deer, and finally plunging forward on your
stomach, with every appearance of complete fearlessness.
She will admire your agility, your strength, and your courage.
Return, smiling and nonchalant, with some such conventional
expression as, "Isn't it glorious?"
After this the actions of the first method may be repeated.
If the lady is of the athletic type, however, she may prefer to
be dragged swiftly through the water, even to be ducked and
roughly handled, to show what a jolly good fellow she is.
After getting into the surf the greatest difficulties are
Do not laugh immoderately at any of the lady's jokes.
A mouthful of salt water will be your reward.
Stand facing your partner, grasping her elbows, while she grasps
A slow and solemn dance may then be begun, to which the ocean
will be found to supply a fairly good rhythm.
As you bounce up and down, you may utter such polite
ejaculations as "Heavenly! Divine! Oh, rapture! Oh, bliss!"
Your companion will perceive the ambiguity of your remarks and
If a particularly large breaker comes rolling in, lift your
companion [Page 234] high in the air, at the same time
allowing the water to pass completely over your head.
This is always considered an act of particular heroism.
The slight discomfort attending it is more than balanced by the
admiration and sympathy you will enjoy.
If the lady accidentally lands upon your foot and notices the
look of pain in your countenance, pass it off with a jest about
You will find that very little more is needed in the way of
Always rest upon the beach at least two hours before entering
By that time you will have a ring of admirers large enough to
give you a wide choice in the matter of a bathing companion.
Select the brownest, handsomest, and most athletic of the men,
making sure that his bathing-suit harmonizes well with your own.
Walk slowly with him to the water's edge, giving all the
observers enough time for admiring comment.
On first wetting your feet, gasp slightly or emit a melodious
scream, at the same time clutching your partner's hands tightly.
He will assume a protecting air, mingled with frank adoration.
Cling to him more and more as the water grows deeper.
By this time he will be your willing slave.
At the first really high breaker, throw both arms around his
neck and half strangle him in your embrace.
The more you maul him, the greater will be his ecstasy.
If he succeeds in getting you into the quieter water beyond the
breakers, at once suggest to him that you would like to learn to
He will teach you with alacrity.
Sink slowly and carefully back into his arms, reclining in a
He will hold you safely and tenderly, never realizing that his
support is quite unnecessary.
After about fifteen minutes of this you will be ready for a
continuation of the more violent embraces of the
On coming out of the water, hurry home as quickly as possible.
It is unhealthy to stand around in a wet bathing-suit.
Moreover, the woman has not yet been created who can make a good
impression when she looks like a drowned rat.
Your period of exhilaration is over for the day.
Geoff Cater (2016) : Sigmund
Spaeth : First Lessons in Surf Bathing, 1912.