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Re: Mind Your Own Bee's Wax

Posted by Bob on August 02, 2005

In Reply to: Re: Mind Your Own Bee's Wax posted by Victoria S Dennis on August 02, 2005

: : : : What does "Mind Your Own Bee's Wax" mean? Used frequently by Frank or O'Riely on TV's "Mash"

: : : Ancient version of "Mind your own business," popular, I imagine, in the U.S. in the 1920s. SS

: : There is an absurd story, much repeated on the internet, that 18th-century ladies used to fill in the pockmarks on their faces (this was when smallpox was a common and disfiguring disease)with beeswax, which would melt if the lady sat too near the fire. If someone else warned her about this, she would retort "mind your OWN beeswax!" I mention this story only to say that there isn't a shred of truth in it. Though beeswax was often (and still is) a component of cosmetics of all kinds, it was not used as a pockmark filler in this way. And, as Smokey correctly says, the saying is of 1920s origin, a childish garbling of "mind your own business". VSD

While it might seem harshly rude to say "mind your own business," changing the last word to "beeswax" softens the blow, and makes a jovial point of the same sentiment.