Okay. So you know, I stumbled across this old ad a little while back…and sure, I suppose I get it. I mean, it’s the old days and you want to lose weight, right? But instead of a magic pill or Dexatrim or whatever, the ladies of the day swallowed nice, fresh, sanitized tape worms. Because nothing says sexy like naked time with your man (or lady) and a big honking tapeworm coming out of your ass. (Keep in mind that tapeworms can grow up to 50 feet long in your intestine and can live there for 20 years. Yay, romance!)
Historically it was probably pretty common – but think of the hygienics of the old world slaughter houses. Parasites ran pretty rampant back in the day – and ingesting them via uncooked meat or bad conditions was bound to happen. Hell, you’ve all seen the movie Seabiscuit, right? Remember Red, the guy played by Tobey Maguire? Rumor has it that the real life Red used to swallow tape worms for the same reason – except instead of attempting to look svelte, he was taking them to keep his weight down for the races.
The FDA has banned tapeworms in the US for reasons that should be pretty obvious, but should you wish to try this yourself, feel free to go to Mexico. You can actually get them there. And I dunno about you, but the Tapeworm Diet people seem a little soft in the head – though if you’re writing historical romance, it might be a nice alternative to having your heroine drop a few pounds from consumption.