The 1950s were a wild time. The Cold war was escalating, Elvis and his pelvis were gyrating to the amazement of adoring fans and television had not even been introduced to South Africa. It is also in this time period that women were being given some, uh, interesting advice on relationships.
A 1958 article published in American Women’s Magazine, McCall’s, titled “129 Ways to Get a Husband” gives us insight into what life was like for women in the 1950s:
Kim Marx-Kuczynski from Madison, Wisconsin found the article in a rummage sale and was fascinated by its contents. “I think the article is reflective of the social mores of the era, and I found the comparison between what was acceptable then and what is acceptable now fascinating. It also made me grateful that so much progress has been made,” she told Bored Panda.
“It’s outdated and absurd and funny, but it had serious intentions,” Kim concluded. “Society has changed so much in the last sixty years, and this article exemplifies the differences between what our moms and grandmas grew up with compared to ourselves and the coming generations. It’s fascinating.”
The article had invited 16 “experts” to analyse what the “sixteen million women over the age of seventeen who are not married,” and who would presumably like to be married, according to the article, could do to find a husband. The results are nothing short of hilarious. Here is some of the funniest advice from the article:
On where to find Mr. Right:
– Have your car break down at strategic places.
– Look in the census reports for places with the most single men.
– Read the obituaries to find eligible widowers.
– Become a nurse or an airline stewardess – they have very high marriage rates.
– Be nice to everybody – they may have an eligible brother or son.
– Be friendly to ugly men – handsome is as handsome does.
– Don’t be afraid to associate with more attractive girls; they may have some leftovers.
How to let him know you’re there:
– Wear a band-aid. People always ask what happened.
– Stand in a corner and cry softly. Chances are good that he’ll come over to find out what’s wrong.
– Buy a convertible. Men like to ride in them.
– “Accidentally” have your purse fly open, scattering its contents all over the street.
On how to look good to him:
– Get a sunburn.
– When you are with him, order your steak rare.
– Don’t tell him about your allergies.
– Don’t whine.
On how to land him:
– Talk to his father about business and agree that taxes are too high!
– If he’s rich, tell him you like his money – the honesty will intrigue him!
– Never let him believe your career is more important to you than marriage.
– Point out to him that the death rate of single men is twice that of married men.
– If your mother is fat, tell him you take after your father. If he’s fat too, tell him you’re adopted!
– Rent a billboard and post your picture and telephone number on it!
– Paint your name and number on the roof and say, “Give me a buzz, pilots.”
– Stand on a busy street corner with a lasso.