Lyndsay Rush
October 23, 2014 8:51 am

There’s a lot of weird dating advice out there and dating advice is generally the worst. The only good advice is always to just be yourself and evaluate if you are actually interested in the other person, not how to make them interested in you.

Still, since the dawn of humans going out together in the hopes that someday they will marry and procreate, the world has thought it has the right to tell us how to date and this usually requires telling us how to behave to “catch” a partner. But if we think we have it bad now, take a stroll a few decades back and you’ll actually be thankful for your grandma’s “don’t kiss on the first date” warnings. Below, a bunch of outdated bits of dating advice that will (hopefully) make you feel a little better about the current state of (dating) affairs.

“Don’t talk while dancing.”

This wonderful nugget, via the blog Sad and Useless, was actually part of a bizarre illustrated dating guide for women in 1938 (which, in the past few years, has made the Internet go crazy with pointing and laughing). The advice here would have killed every dance every kid attended from junior high through college. How are you supposed to not talk whilst dancing? How else do you break the awkwardness that is the slow dance?

Other items on the don’t list: Don’t sit in awkward positions, don’t use the car mirror to put on makeup and don’t talk too much to the waiter at your restaurant.

“To make him feel important, you have to forget your own desires for importance. Compliment him on his physical prowess, his mental acumen, his good looks, his virility. . .lay it on thick but subtly. Stroke his ego. Let him think he’s king much of the time. He will love you for it, and, you know, it will make you feel extremely feminine.”

She-Manners: The Teen Girl’s Book of Etiquette (published in 1959) might be my favorite book ever. Also this gem:The man has one set of standards for himself and another for you. He may consider himself a Don Juan for having succeeded in getting you to pet, but he will also decide that you’re too easy to get.”

“Girls, don’t act superior”

This “Dating Dos and Don’ts” video was made for teens in 1949. It talks about how girls should be fun and attractive and appreciate boys and it is wonderful. See the whole video here.

“Never wear earrings” 

Obviously things were a little different when this item was published in 1912. Also, I would die without earrings.

“Say shocking things—he’ll be too stunned to realize what a bad conversationalist you are.”

This amazingly outdated advice comes from Art Unger’s The Cool Book: A Teen-Agers Guide to Survival in a Square Society, circa 1961.

I can’t really see this one working more than once.

“That the underwear should be spotlessly clean goes without saying, but every woman should wear the best quality underwear that she can afford. And the color should be preferably pink. And lace and ruffles, I am sorry to say, add to the attractiveness of underwear, and are liked by the average man.”

This is from Woman, Her Sex and Love Life, by William Josephus Robinson in 1927. The book is still available on Kindle and is pretty much required reading for anyone obsessed with pink panties.

“Don’t get engaged after dark.”

Thank the 1901 Spinster Book for this nugget of wisdom.

“Be a Responder, not a Hunter. Hunters are men. You are not a man.”

But 90 years later, it’s not like our advice got any better. As this disturbing advice  1995 dating bible “The Rules” shows.

Maybe we should all just go back to the 1970s?

“One guy really isn’t enough for you.” 

This groovy advice from a teenage fan magazine in 1973, when sexual and female liberation was on the rise.

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