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We’ve Become Too Familiar

According to Alligator Sunglasses, the following clippings with dating tips for girls are from a 1938 magazine (I tried using TinEye, to no avail in terms of the vintage publication’s name).

Sure, the dating tips are dated; sure, they seem funny to us. But I also deem them culturally important…

“Do your dressing in the boudoir,” , “don’t keep him waiting,” and “greet him with a smile!” seem quaint. But there is something to be said for keeping that allure or sense of mystery alive. Something we married (and living in sin) folks might do well to remember when we complain we’re in a rut. …But I’m not an advice blog *wink*

“Careless women never appeal to gentlemen. Don’t talk while dancing, for when a man dances he wants to dance.” Please, show me to the men who want to dance!  But back in the day, dancing was as close to PDA (public displays of affection) as a man could get. With a lady, that is — I mean “was.” …And maybe more men would opt to dance if it meant it was a No Talking Zone.

“Don’t use the car mirror to fix your make-up. Man needs it in driving, and it annoys him very much to have to turn around to see what’s behind him.”  Grammatically speaking, the “it” man needs in driving would be the make-up, but forgiving the awkward phrasing… The silly-girls-don’t-know-how-to-drive notion is misogynistically punctuated with the use of the word “Man,” implying a race separate and distinct from Woman.  But tsk-tsk for not pointing out obstruction of driver’s vision could lead to injury or death.  …But I guess that’s not as bad as annoying a man.

“If you need a brassier, wear one. Don’t tug at your girdle, and be careful your stockings are not wrinkled.”  The 1960s are continually held-up as the bra-less days of freedom — so often so that we forget that bras were, by 1938, just decades old.  In fact, while I am greatly amused by the male’s unpleasant response to what would seem to make a red-blooded male’s eyes go a-oooo-ga, the photos illustrate the modern complexities of such slim-fitting female attire over the more modern, less layered and corseted underthings designed to conform as well as be hidden.

“Don’t be sentimental or try to get him to say something he doesn’t want to by working on his emotions. Men don’t like tears, especially in public places.” Too-too easy to take pot-shots at.  But remember, you might ruin your makeup and you won’t be able to touch it up in the car mirror, any place in public, really, as the additional scans at Alligator Sunglasses show.

“Don’t be familiar with your escort by caressing him in public. Any open show of affection is in bad taste, usually embarrasses of humiliates him,” “Don’t be familiar with the headwaiter talking about the fun you had with someone else another time. Men deserve, desire your entire attention,” and don’t ruffle the hair of other men — or you’ll ruffle the feathers of your date.  Remember: Touching is reserved for taking his proffered arm and for dancing only.  And, as the other tips illustrate, men are to be placated as big demanding repressed babies.

Of course, drinking makes “women silly,” and passing out will not only perturb your date but upset that nice headwaiter you were “familiar” with.

While we Americans tend to dismiss and therefore dispense with formalities, there is something to be said for etiquette… Perhaps not as shown here — or for the sexist reasons which are as insulting to men as women. But the notion of being too familiar does tend to ruin the romance of waiting, the allure of working towards something rather than the assumption of “having” it.

Posted in Ephemera, Lingerie, Magazines, Sex History, Sexism.

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