Anonymous asked in Society & CultureEtiquette · 8 years ago

Is "licking the finger" to turn pages a generational thing?

I noticed that the only people who lick their finger before turning pages in a book, newspaper, or magazine, are usually at a minimum age 50 and up.

I don't see teens, twentysomethings, or thirtysomethings doing this.

Was this something taught several decades ago, perhaps on an institutionalized level?


Sir Studley Smugley: Hey now -- don't get offended. I wasn't criticizing anyone, I was merely making an observation.

I too tried to impersonate my grandparents & parents by doing this, but it just didn't feel natural or sanitary, so it never caught on.

11 Answers

  • ?
    Lv 7
    8 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    I did it because my grandfather did it. But now that you mention it, it IS kinda disgusting. Lesson learned.

    Or could it be that you have a germ-paranoia? Don't be so quick to point your finger at someone else. Hopefully, you'll hit the fifty-somethings and see what I mean.

    Learn a little, and teach a little. True wisdom comes with knowing the difference.

  • 8 years ago

    I do not know about generational, but I think it is off-putting to witness you basically directly putting your saliva on a page (unsanitary, not like books or paper ever is, but still).

    What I mean is, I am a TA frequently for college courses, I have to hand out pages sometimes to the lecture class of 100 or so students. It is actually kind of hard to separate pages, maybe I am just inept or something, but my fingers do not have enough traction to make it work easy. I am a lot better at it by now, but it was a learned skill. I used to think specifically, if I licked my finger and did this it would be easy, but I thought students would not enjoy receiving a handout that I just swiped with a wet finger given immediate sanitary reminders.

  • 5 years ago

    Omg... I do not forget being in fifth grade and questioning why my teacher would try this for the period of "story time". I requested my mother and he or she mentioned it was to turn the page higher, so i attempted doing it for a even as however ultimately stopped. I definitely suppose it is a generational thing, yeah. My teacher needed to had been in her early 50's.

  • Anonymous
    8 years ago

    I believe it has something to do with the whole time change. What I mean is now people don't read like they used too and if they do it's not off a hard cover book, it's digital or online. Back then reading was a hobby if you had nothing to do and the licking thing became an easier way to change pages when reading.

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  • 8 years ago

    I think it's kind of an "old" thing to do, because i noticed that too, that 50's and above are licking thumbs first before turning pages. It's not a generational thing, but probably it's more of a habbit thing for oldies

  • Hiran
    Lv 6
    8 years ago

    Yes and no.

    Yes I think your correct older people did do this to turn a page and no its not that we are so much smarter than them.

    I think you will find very old books and even newspapers were printed on much thicker paper than they are today.Also more paper today has a china clay coating (glossy) which makes page turning much easier.

    Hope this satisfies your question.

  • 8 years ago

    I do that and im 20something. I do it cause it give your fingers more grip or friction so when you go to turn the page it doesn't just fall back down.

  • Anonymous
    8 years ago

    No I do t it makes your fingers sticky so that the page will turn better

  • Cara
    Lv 7
    8 years ago

    I'm over 50 and we were NEVER allowed to do that!

  • Anonymous
    8 years ago

    I do it sometimes whenever I want to feel proper or important.

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