Crossing continents and centuries Stephen Arnott brings us invaluable information about all kinds of bizarre regional customs - from sexual practices to the received wisdom on cannibalism - that could save you from embarrassing local faux pas while travelling.- Amongst the Tartars the relations of the bride and bridegroom would traditionally divide into two groups and fight each other until some had suffered bleeding wounds. It was thought that causing blood to flow in this way would ensure the couple had strong sons. - In Hungary a cure for infertility was to beat a barren women with a stick, the stick having previously been used to separate mating dogs.- In some Aboriginal tribes of New South Wales it was believed that men who had any contact with their mothers-in-law would suffer terrible hard luck. The threat was so great that married men even avoided looking in their mother-in-law's general direction.
Stephen Arnott is the author of Now Wash Your Hands! a cultural history of the toilet, and The Languid Goat is Always Thin, a collection of the world's strangest proverbs and Sex- A User's Guide. Born in Jamaica, he currently lives in South London with his partner and daughter.