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How to Get a Date (in 1938)

Sasha/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

What was dating like back before World War II? Turns out, not that much different than today. 

Rule 1. Don’t be Sentimental. The guide says that girls shouldn’t ask or say anything to their man that would make him work on his emotions. You’re also especially cautioned not to do it in a public place. This one I can see. If you’re going to have a difficult or potentially emotional conversation, over dinner in the middle of a restaurant really is ill advised.

Rule 2. Don’t Use the Car Mirror for Freshening Up. The guide says that the man needs it for driving and that it “annoys him very much to have to turn around to see what’s behind him.” Good thing car makers have mirrors inside the sun visors because I’d be hosed. I’d say 80 percent of the time, I do my makeup in the car on the way to where ever we’re going. I’ve mastered the art of applying mascara in a moving car. Also, Almay makeup remover swabs help.

Rule 3. Sit Nice. The guide says that we shouldn’t sit in awkward positions and “shouldn’t look bored, even if we are”. We’re supposed to sit upright, be alert and if you must chew gum, “do it silently with your mouth closed.” That last part is spot on. I hate chewing noises.

Rule 4. Don’t Drink Too Much. “A man expects you to keep your dignity all evening.” I won’t bore you with the details, but I accidentally got drunk on a date once. Not just any date. A FIRST date. I was horrified. Thankfully, he was a perfect gentleman and drove me home and made sure I got in the house OK and then called the next day to see if I needed a ride to get my car back.

Some others include being ready when your date arrives, don’t borrow your date’s handkerchief, wear a bra (Ummm…what?!) and don’t “caress him in public” and that “any open show of affection is in bad taste”. Yes! 150 percent YES! Holding hands, fine, but if you want a full on grabby suck face makeout sesh, take it somewhere else. A public street, bar, alley, car, restaurant or really anywhere where there are other people is inappropriate. I get it. You’re in love. My husband and I are deeply in love, but we’re in love in an orderly fashion.

I think some of these still apply. What was the silliest piece of advice you ever got when it came to relationships?

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