Today’s post is about dating advice–I’m sharing a passage from the 1949 Esquire’s Handbook for Hosts. The original post is at Brain Pickings–I encourage you to go read the whole article. It’s funny, in a quaint way.
It’s fascinating to see the questions, posed to “help the ladies and bachelors make themselves more attractive to each other.” These are some of the questions and their answers for women (the male section is in the original article):
- Do you bring the names of other men into the conversation to give yourself a sought-after appearance? Don’t. This may give a man a sense of inferiority — he is uncomfortable with you, and soon drifts away to someone else. It may make him wonder how much talking you do about him.
- Do you wear clothes that make you a little more up-to-the-minute than the other women in your set? Good — provided your taste is reliable and that the clothes suit you. Men may rant about the “crazy hat” but they swell with pride when their lady companions arouse admiring stares.
- Do men marvel at your capacity for holding liquor? A great mistake: it gives you a fast reputation and runs into money — the man’s money — besides.
- How many comfortable chairs are there in your living room? At least two, I hope. No man can fall in love unless he has a chance to relax and he can’t if either of you sits bolt upright.
- Do you keep men interested by hinting that later — not tonight — you’ll be really demonstrative? This is a low trick and one that a surprising number of men see through at once. If you kiss a man, it should be for your own pleasure and not to reward him.
- Do you make things easier for a man by suggesting that he climb into a car first, if he’s driving, or by asking him not to stand up when you come into the room? This is an error — men know that they are supposed to show these signs of consideration to a girl and they respect her more if she takes them as a matter of course.
- Do you ever embarrass a man by telling him he’s good-looking or has big muscles or is too, too intelligent? Try it! Almost any man can stand almost any amount of flattery, however obvious, without embarrassment or surprise.
- Are you so beautifully groomed that you make an average man feel like a lout when he takes you out? Fine. Men are extremely critical of any imperfection in a girl’s neatness. If he feels like a lout once, the average escort will take pains to be better-dressed himself the next time.
- Do you, when you have first met a really attractive man, clinch your future acquaintance by some polite variation of “Come up and see me sometime”? It often helps out on the occasions when the man is too shy to make the first advance himself.
- Do you keep your friendships warm by chatty calls to your men friends at their offices? This is fatal.
- Do you use artificial conversation gambits like “What movie would you choose if you had to see it every week for a year?” to start talk with a shy dinner partner? A very good plan — someone has to start the conversation and a question like this can keep it rolling for quite awhile.
- Do you suffer from indecision when ordering dinner or drinks in a restaurant with a man? This maddens them — learn to make up your mind rapidly.
The conversation and language is very dated, but there are a couple of good points in there that I’ve noted below. What holds true for women can apply to men as well.
- Be prepared with tidbits to help get a conversation started. Nothing’s worse than those moments of long silence while 2 relative strangers struggle to for words.
- Don’t talk about other men you’ve dated or your ex-husband.
- Don’t drink too much on a first date.
- #9 references ‘beautifully groomed’. I do think it’s important to take a little time with how you look. When I meet someone who’s obviously not bothered to shower or change clothes I assume he isn’t all that interested in me!
In some ways the basics of attraction and dating manners haven’t changed. Common courtesy, attention to detail, good conversation and common sense will always help you in dating.
Any questions you would add?