One of my co-workers forwarded around some dating tips for women that were published in Parade Magazine in 1938 that they happen to see online recently. Here are a few of the more “interesting” ones:
- Never look bored, even if you are.
- If you must chew gum (not advised), do it silently, mouth closed.
- Don’t talk while dancing, for when a man dances he wants to dance.
- Don’t caress your escort in public. Any open show of affection is in bad taste and usually embarrasses or humiliates him.
- Don’t be sentimental or try to get him to say something he doesn’t want to by working on his emotions.
- Don’t talk about the fun you had with someone else another time. Men deserve and desire your entire attention.
- Don’t talk about clothes or try to describe your new gown to a man. Please and flatter your date by talking about the things he wants to talk about.
- Don’t drink too much, as a man expects you to keep your dignity all evening.
I’ll admit, I think some of them are amusing simply based on the way that they were written back in 1938. But – although I’ve been out of the dating game for almost 35 years – I’d imagine that perhaps a few of these tips (if you take them at their bigger-picture meaning and remove the sexist language/tone) may still be relevant today? Being a survey company, we said “why not find out”.
We polled 2,499 U.S. adults in a recent VeraQuest survey, and we find that just under half of Americans feel that not talking about others/giving your date your full attention (46%), not drinking too much (46%), not chewing gum or chewing silently (45%), and not looking bored (44%) are still relevant tips in today’s dating world. The least-relevant dating tips are “don’t talk while dancing” (7%) and “don’t caress your escort in public” (14%).
It’s not too surprising, I suppose, that older Americans (50+) find nearly all of these “classic” dating tips to be more relevant than do younger Americans (18-49). And women find the bigger-picture meaning in most of these tips to still be relevant for dating in today’s times, more so than men. But it is amusing to see that Republicans, living up to their more-conservative reputations, find almost all of the dating tips to be more relevant than Democrats, while Democrats are more likely than Republicans to feel that the majority of these dating tips are sexist. Ouch.
We thought it would be fun to ask men which dating tips from 1938 they wish were followed more often by women in today’s times. Somewhat surprising to me is that one-quarter (25%) said “none of these”. I’m not sure whether these men sensed a “trap” with that question (given the tone in some of the tips, which perhaps they could not ignore), or if this simply signifies a less conservative (or more real/honest) dating expectation of men these days. That said, between one-quarter and one-third of men do indicate that they wish women would follow the “don’t drink too much” (30%) and “don’t talk about the fun you had with someone else” (28%) tips more often on dates.
Now, on the flip-side, we asked women which of the dating tips from 1938 they are glad about not having to follow in today’s times. The top responses were “don’t caress your escort in public” (33%) and “don’t talk while dancing” (32%).
Maybe I don’t need these dating tips, but I’ve sure learned a lot…and I look forward to sharing them with my daughters. They will be thrilled, I’m sure.
In light of these published dating tips, do you feel that dating in 1938 was likely easier or harder than it is today? Which of these dating tips do you wish were followed more often, by either gender?