Discovering the truth where you least expect it


IT IS TIME ONCE again for another edition of True Facts: things that are true because someone important said they were true. Or because one woman said them to a group of women over a pitcher of margaritas and everyone laughed.

Read on, and if you are not impressed with the scholarship herein, you had better call some girlfriends and defrost a container of margarita mix.

* "Having children is like having a bowling alley in your brain." This true fact was contained in a greeting card, prompting this question: What was the occasion? One hopes not a birth.

* According to a new study by NPD Online Research, 36 percent of females online check out sports sites for the latest news. Eighteen percent report going to

* A survey by IKEA, which the home furnishing company admits was random and unscientific, reported that children with dads who work from a home office are twice as likely to get A's on their report cards. And 25 percent of men working at home claim to have sex every day with their spouse, compared with 18 percent of men working in a traditional office.

* The average American wedding now costs $17,000, but in metropolitan areas the average price is $33,000, according to "Getting Hitched Without a Hitch," by Dona Chernoff Eichner.

* According to the Institute for Youth Development, fewer young people are using alcohol, but those who drink start younger. The mean age of first alcohol use declined from 17.7 years in 1965 to 16.2 years in 1995.

* Most husbands will do whatever you ask. But you always have to ask them to do it. And you often have to remind them, whereupon they will tell you that this is the first they've heard of the request.

* A sampling of back- to-school shoppers by indicates that getting a child outfitted for school requires about 6.5 shopping hours and two days' pay, or about $211 per child, for clothing, supplies and accessories. French Toast sells school uniforms, and claims to be able to outfit a child for a school year for $100.

* The young people starting college this fall were born in 1980. That means they do not remember the Reagan era, the Challenger explosion, Tiananmen Square or Atari games. For them, bottle caps have always been plastic and screw-off and there has always been AIDs and cable television.

* We are all aware of the research that indicates that ultra-thin models in fashion magazines cause young girls to be dissatisfied with their bodies and to diet excessively. But according to a new study, presented at the American Psychological Association's convention in Boston last month, it doesn't last. Only girls who already have serious body- image issues are vulnerable to long-term exposure to ultra-thin supermodels. The long-term impact of these models on adolescent boys is not known.

* Consumption of soft drinks has steadily increased during the last 15 years, and it really spikes when kids go back to school. Out of mom's reach, they reach for soda or fruit drinks in the cafeteria, and the consumption of milk falls far short of the three to four 8-ounce glasses doctors recommend for kids 6 to 11 years old. On any given day, only about half of all adolescents have even one glass of milk.

And the truest True Fact:

* Twist, a teen magazine, reports that the most common question girls have about boys is, "Why can't they hit the toilet?" Girls also want to know why boys are so fascinated by lesbians.

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