A shy apprentice writes a book about lovemaking based on his fantasies and takes it to a publisher. He falls in love and hopes the book’s royalties will enable them to marry.
A tailor, Uncle Jerry (Richard Daniels), is sewing up a girl’s dress while she lays on his lap. A little boy says Harold is afraid of girls. A woman comes in for her husband’s pants, and she finds that Harold Meadows (Harold Lloyd) is in one pair. Two young women come in, and the cousin comes back to ask for a needle to sew up a hole in her stocking which she shows him. She asks him to sew it for her. He is reluctant, but she puts the needle in his hand and pulls her skirt up a little. He quickly closes the hole.
On Saturday night Harold sees a cat and her kittens laying on his coat. He takes the key and leaves the shop. From the street he watches the people dancing and starts moving his feet. An old man asks if he is going to the dance. Harold says he has to finish his book for the publisher. He goes home and works on The Secret of Making Love, which is dedicated to the young men of the world. The forward says he has the correct method to win a woman and will teach the reader from his experience. He starts writing about his love affair #15 with a vampire in which he uses indifference.
Harold comes into her room and takes off his cloak. He sits on the couch and smokes a cigar as she kneels by him; but he ignores her and starts to leave. When she takes a knife, he gives her a larger one. She kneels at his feet, and he feels he has succeeded.
Next Harold writes about his affair with a flapper using a cave-man method. He comes in and watches her dancing. He kisses her and throws her into a chair. He takes things from her and dumps her tray of food. He takes her and uses her shoe to spank her, then throws across the room. She runs to him and embraces him.
Harold falls asleep.
At a large estate Rich Ronald De Vore (Carlton Griffin) comes home. His mother tells him that Mary is out motoring.
Rich Mary Buckingham (Jobyna Ralston) is feeding her dog in her car while a mechanic is working on it. He suggests she take the train to Little Bend. She gets out and starts walking.
Harold combs his hair and takes his manuscript. At the station Mary is advised to hide her dog. Harold lets her board the train before him. She drops her dog off the train, and a conductor restrains her, saying dogs are not allowed on the train. Harold gets the dog and brings it to her but goes to other seats that do not work out. He falls on the seat by her and seems terrified. She thanks him for getting her dog and asks if he is ill. He stutters. They try to hide the dog, and he puts it in a suitcase. The conductor hears it barking, and Harold pretends it is him. Mary gets out dog biscuits. The conductor sees, and Harold takes a bite. A woman finds the dog in her bag and takes it out, saying she was robbed. She takes her scarves and things from Harold’s pockets and leaves. The dog bites the conductor, who goes away.
Harold takes out his manuscript and tells her about his book. She asks if he has had love affairs, and he nods. He buys a box of Cracker Jacks for her.
Two hours later the train arrives, and he is still talking to her. They are the last to get off. She gets in a cab, and he hands her the dog. She kisses him, and the cab leaves.
The publisher Roger Thornby is at his desk, and an employee hands him Harold’s manuscript, saying he just walked out.
Several weeks later on a Sunday Harold is in a small boat fishing.
Mary is driving her car, and Ronald proposes to her for the seventh time. She tries to avoid him and drives off the road into a ditch and is stuck. Ronald says he will go into the nearest town. She still has the Cracker Jack box from the train. She walks across a bridge by Harold. She stands on a raft and falls into his boat. They are both surprised and happy. He sees the box. They get out of the boat and sit on a log near where pigs are suckling. They move, see two little boys naked, and move again. She wants to hear more about hs book. He says he is going to see the publisher Tuesday. He says since his trip he feels that women are more glorious. He is sitting on a tortoise which moves into the water. He gets up, and his feet get wet. He puts his hand on a tree and sap sticks to it. He takes her hand, and they are stuck together.
Ronald talks to a mechanic, and a young woman asks if he can take her home now. He says not yet because he has something to do. He gets in the truck, and the mechanic drives off.
Harold tells Mary that when his book is a success, he will have something to ask her. Jerry sees his nephew with a girl and tells Ronald about it. He stops Ronald from disturbing them, and Ronald knocks him down. Harold comes over and knocks Ronald down. Mary introduces her friend, Mr. De Vore, to Harold, who helps him up. Mary says she will not forget Tuesday and leaves with Ronald. Harold throws a rock at Ronald, and Jerry laughs.
The publisher looks at the manuscript and laughs. He tells a man to have a reader look at it. He shows it to others, and they laugh. Harold comes into the office. A woman learns he is the author and shakes his hand. She tells the others, and six women approach him. He stands on a chair and falls into the arms of a large woman. Another asks him for his autograph. She assumes he can look into the depths of the soul. He sees a bust of Shakespeare and imagines one of himself. Harold goes to the publisher and asks about his book. The publisher laughs and says it is a joke. Harold is crestfallen, and the publisher says he will get the usual rejection slip in the mail. Harold admits it was not much good. Harold walks past the women in the outer office and leaves.
Mary is waiting in a car. Harold walks by the river and tosses the flower from his buttonhole, and a woman catches it. Mary sees him and asks how they liked the new chapter. She says she knew they would. He says they acted silly that day. He hopes she did not believe all he said. She says she did. He laughs and says he was just experimenting, as he does with all his girls. The other woman walks by, and Harold walks with her and buys her a Cracker Jack. When they are out of sight, Harold runs off.
An older man tells the publisher that everyone in the office was laughing at the book, and they should not keep it from the world. The publisher says they could publish it as “The Boob’s Diary.” The publisher tells him to send him a check for a $3,000 advance.
Ronald tells his mother that Mary just agreed to marry him. His mother says she will set the wedding for Thursday the 19th. She expects Mary is happy, but Mary is crying.
On the 19th in the city a typewriter is for sale. Harold works in the tailor shop sewing. Looking at the dog-biscuits box he sews his tie to a garment. He gets a letter from the publisher and rips it up without opening it. He goes back to sewing.
Ronald’s mother shows Mary flowers. Mary says she is crying because she is so happy.
Jerry is lighting his pipe with waste paper and sees it is part of a check. They assemble the pieces and see it is for $3,000. Harry reads the letter but is angry about the new title. He says they can’t have it that way. He remembers Mary and changes his mind. He sees her photo in the newspaper and reads about the wedding today. A woman comes in, sees it, and says De Vore cannot marry because she is his wife. Harold gets his hat and coat and rushes out with Jerry. They run to the train, but Jerry gives up. Harold sees the train pulling away and chases it but goes off on the wrong track. He goes to a phone and calls. The operator says that the Little Bend line is sputtering again.
Harold goes to the road and tries to flag a ride. When a car comes by, he smashes an air-filled bag and gets in the stopped car. A man is teaching a young woman how to drive, and she nearly hits Harold. He tries to get in, but she is too erratic. He jumps on the back, and she goes in circles and leaves him by a telephone pole. Harold finds a car and drives off. He sees a roadblock and drives on a bumpy, dirty road.
Mary is in a wedding dress, and guests are arriving.
Harold drives the bouncing car and gets out and runs.
Ronald and his mother are prepared for the wedding.
A florist puts flowers in a car, and Harold takes the car. The florist gets another car and goes after him with two men. One points a gun and shoots at Harold. He throws bottles in their way, and they get a flat tire. Harold goes down a narrow road and meets another car. Both stop and ask the other to back up. Harold offers to trade cars, and the poor man agrees. Harold tries to start the older car, and it goes over the edge of the mountain. The man with the gun demands his car back. Harold runs and gets in the back seat. Harold grabs a tree branch, sits on a horse, and starts riding. He falls off in town and gets on the back of a fire truck. He holds the hose which comes unwound and leaves him on the road. He sees a streetcar and begs for a ride. They laugh, and so he steals it. He drives it very fast and does not stop for policemen. The cable comes loose, and the car comes to a stop. He climbs on top and connects it to the wire again. The car moves fast, but no one is driving. A man wakes up inside and is upset. Harold hangs on the rod and falls in Jerry’s car. He drives fast, and Harold pushes on the accelerator. A motorcycle cop stops them and lectures Jerry. Harold takes the motorcycle.
Mary is given her flowers to hold.
Harold gets stopped in a ditch and steals a wagon drawn by horses.
Mary is walking down the aisle.
Harold drives the horses fast.
Mary takes Ronald’s hand, and the priest starts the ceremony.
A wheel comes off the wagon. Harold disconnects the horses and rides on one. He arrives at the De Vore estate and goes in the door. He runs down the stairs and shouts just before the Priest is to pronounce them. He picks up Mary and carries her up the stairs and out the door. He runs through the yard and takes her to the street before putting her down. By a palm tree she asks him what he wanted to ask her. He stutters, and she takes him to a mailman. She blows a whistle and says, “Yes.”
This farce contrasts the shyness and inexperience of a young man to his pretension as a writer about how to love women, satirizing the new genre of how-to books on achieving personal success. Through all his difficulties he is determined to succeed by any means possible and manages to do so.