Vintage Sexism (Dating Guide Edition)

A part of me feels like we’ve posted this before, but I couldn’t find it in our archives — so I had to share, just in case. This is the 1938 Dating Guide for Single Women. And oh, it is a treat.

What’s sad is that dating advice hasn’t changed all that much. Check out a few more gems after the jump.
h/t to Kyle.

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  • katie

    The first one doesn’t even need to be sexist. I mean that’s just a basic social rule for everyone: if you are out with someone, don’t ignore them while talking to someone else.

  • TiernaFeminista

    Dating advice really hasn’t changed that much. What it comes down to is really the following:
    1. Don’t be yourself.
    2. Don’t be ugly or do anything that could make you look ugly.
    3. Make sure the dude thinks you like him, even if he is boring or sexist.
    4. There is no such thing as men dating men or women dating women.
    5. If you don’t like him WHO CARES?!? All that matters is that he likes YOU.

  • stabbygail

    Ladies, it’s important that your man doesn’t have to acknowledge that you’re makeup, hair, and clothing takes time. Beauty standards lose all their appeal when we have to acknowledge what a pain they are!
    Although in regard to picture #7, I’m pretty sure it’s always solid dating advice not to put your finger in the other person’s ear. At least not on the first date.

  • vegkitty

    This totally reminds me of “Dating Do’s and Don’ts” pictorials in Cosmo or Seventeen. Actually, I read almost the same tip in Cosmo once.

  • Jessica Padkin

    Ideally, she should dump the boring man she’s dating and start seeing the waiter instead. There’s some serious chemistry in that first photo!

  • JupiterAmmon

    lol @ the woman in the first pic talking to her waiter about HOW MUCH FUN she was having with SOMEONE ELSE on her date with Mr. Miserably Boring. IMHO, if anyone finds themselves doing this, the advice they should be getting is to go on a date with the person they actually want to be on a date with.
    Also, what a great lesson in history this is, for if this is a concern of our little “dating expert” then its possibly true that many women in the 1930s were loud and proud, chewing their bubble gum and shouting to everyone who will listen just how much fun they had on their (many?) dates. Sounds like a damn rocking time! Its too bad sexism parading around as authoritative information came to ruin all the fun…

  • PS

    I have my own rules for dating
    1 i pick the venue
    2 i pick the time
    3 i drive there and back on my own (or walk/bike depending on location)
    4 i am honest and forthright
    5 if i am not enjoying the company or feel uncomfortable I leave
    these are rules I have set for myself , every person should do the same.
    Sad that dating advice quite literally has not changed..

  • magi

    I have to say the last one is still good advice. Passing out drunk on a date is seriously rude. At least if you’re not in a relationship, and even then, it’s iffy.

  • attentat

    I enjoyed this purely because I love the looks on the guy’s face.

  • uberhausfrau

    regardless of sexism, the “drinking” picture makes me laugh. the guy has a perfect “what the fuck?” look on his face.

  • schismtracer

    Corollary: if your date is so boring that smalltalk with the waitstaff seems appealing by comparison, you should probably cut your losses and go home.

  • Sex Toy James

    I love “when a man dances he wants to dance”
    Apparently men from that age were very serious about their dancing.
    Some of that seems like timeless advice. Don’t ignore your date. Don’t drink till you pass out.
    I’m glad that I don’t live in an era when men and women lived in such proscribed gender roles and felt the need to keep up such extensive fronts. Although I believe some people still do.

  • Phoebe

    My favorite part of this whole thing is the varying looks of disgust on the man’s face.

  • existenz

    So I guess dumb dating advice has been around for a long time. No surprise there.
    Obviously some of the pointers are common sense, such as don’t ignore your date, don’t grab the mirror while someone else is driving, don’t pass out drunk.
    But I must say, as a man, I find some of this stuff a bit insulting to my gender as well. Only a really uptight a-hole would get upset if his date fixes her makeup in front of him, talks about things she likes, and livens up a dance with some flirtatious talk. Also, what kind of guy doesn’t like physical affection in public?
    Overall, pretty funny stuff though.

  • LifeInTechnicolor
    this one’s a doozy too! I don’t think we’ve made enough progress….

  • Yekaterina

    entire dating advise column simplified: just ask yourself: WHAT WOULD THE MAN WANT?

  • Dawn.

    Sounds exactly like the dating advice my super-duper-Christian “Home Ec & Etiquette” teacher gave to all of us “young ladies” when I was 16. I got a C because apparently I was a foul-mouthed heathen who stank like smoke. I totally was though, so it didn’t bother me much. :)

  • Sloppy Sandwich

    It was 1938. Doesn’t make it right, but shit that’s how 1938 was. Happened 70 years ago.
    Don’t get sloppy drunk and pass out or start crying on a first date is still pretty good advice in the 21st century. For everybody.
    Nobody’s saying don’t be yourself. But if you being yourself is getting drunk, flirting with other people, sticking your finger in someones ear, crying and passing out then you might want to wait till date three to let it all hang out.

  • mysticapple

    OMG! I did all those things and actually got the man to marry me! LOL
    ..well, ‘cept the dancing part (unless moshing counts, which is something I do better than him anyways).

  • nurgetts

    Actually nothing has really changed.
    Myself, a female and a male friend all chatting in a bar.
    This female friend constantly tells me not to be so “blatant” about asking men out (ie: I just like to come out and ask them like they do to me).
    Apparently, I should wait and laugh more and be more girly…because “Men like to be in control”!!!
    Did I mention that this female friend is not old…only mid-twmenties and has given me this same advice twice!!
    And NOT ONE PERSON raised an eye brow (apart from myself, obviously). The male friend saw nothing odd in her statement and neither did she!!

  • Mighty Ponygirl

    That last photo looks like they got into a fight. She’s about to slap him and he’s already grabbed her fist to prevent her punching him.
    I would put this into “Do not physically attack your date. Men expect not to be struck on a night out, even if they’re boorish assholes who get pissy when you try to be yourself.”
    Well, women expect the same thing, but there doesn’t seem to be a photo for that.

  • Mighty Ponygirl

    What you’ve described sounds like it could have been a Goofus and Gallant strip in Highlights for Children.
    “Goofus didn’t shave his armpits and wore a sleeveless top. Gallant recognized that armpit hair will never hold an appear to men conditioned to want smooth, prepubescent skin, and carefully removed all trace of it.”

  • supremepizza

    After thinking about all the pain a woman would have to put herself through to follow this advice just to end up with a man she finds boring & insufferable, it strikes me that this book was written strictly for women wanting to land rich, or upwardly mobile, men. I mean think about it, this sound much more like job interview advice than dating advice!!!

  • IAmGopherrr

    ….from reading the Feminine Mystique Friedan writes that women were more assertive and outgoing until after WWII and the government/ad agencies issued a whole revision of American womanhood.

  • IAmGopherrr

    (revision)….what would the asshole man want?

  • Toongrrl

    Unfortunately girls are still being told to sit with legs straight and still as if someone shoved sticks up our asses. Charm School??? My mom and dad nagged me to be “a young lady” for free!


    Yeah, the waiter actually looks like he’s having a nice pleasant conversation with her and actually enjoys her company (unlike her “date” who looks like he’d be having more fun if he was getting a root canal).

  • Attagrrrl

    This looks like the most hilarious date ever. I love that she’s obviously not wearing a bra.

  • lezbianna

    this is hilarious! it inspired me to post my own dating advice, as written by a guitar-playing meerkat:

  • Hershele Ostropoler

    When I invite a woman to dinner, I expect her to look at my face. That’s the price she has to pay.

  • Hershele Ostropoler

    Whatever the gender combination you should try to be reasonably pleasant as long as you can bear it as long as the other person isn’t an asshole. You don’t have to do it again or even stay for dessert if you don’t want to.
    I realize in practice that’s not quite asking the same thing of men and women. But in a perfect world….

  • Melimalle

    Fantastic! Explains why I’m still single. I can never get the “men deserve, desire your entire attention” and “never look bored, even if you are” stuff right!