Tuesday, June 29, 2010
The rules of engagement
For those of you who are interested, and since June brides of 2010 are almost a thing of the past, here's directions for the girls of 1946, on how to catch their man, from Coronet magazine. Some are still relevant today, and a few are downright scary:
1. Draw a blueprint of the perfect man, then downsize it to your minimum requirements, because the ideal man doesn't exist. Once you have the minimum requirements, stick to them.
2. Find a field of work that attracts a lot of men. Good: architecture and chemists. Bad: salesgirl, teaching, librarian and social work, because these fields don't expose you to enough men. "Airline hostess" also is out -- they usually ended up married, but to hometown sweethearts.
3. If you are taken for granted in your hometown, transplant yourself, particularly to the west, where ratios of men to women are better.
4. Attend social gatherings where men are plentiful: dances or conventions for fraternal, social, or professional groups are great places to meet people, but don't discount church socials, adult education classes ("with all of the GIs returning, at least one should pan out"), political organizations, hobby clubs, and sports groups. Stay away from vacation resorts and cruises, as they are overrun by women.
5. Once you have met the man you want, create opportunities for seeing him often. Invent a party -- ask him if he has plans on Friday, because you are having a party at your place -- then, when he agrees to come, call all your friends and invite them over. Speaking of living spaces - get an apartment with a friend or even by yourself. No meeting your new beau at a ladies rooming house or the like.
6. Don't overdress. He may get the idea that your wardrobe taste is too expensive for his budget -- even if half of what you are wearing belongs to your roommate.
7. Don't try to be the life of the party. If your natural role is to be lively and humorous, he may admire it, in which case, go right ahead. But if you have a need to be in the spotlight, you may find yourself alone. Chances are he wants to be the center of attention, so let him be just that, with no maliciously funny or sarcastic jokes at his expense.
8. Don't talk about your job. He may admire your work, but he doesn't want to hear the details. He has work problems of his own and doesn't need to hear yours.
9. Don't alter your personality to suit his, or you will find yourself strangers when you are married, and have to start all over again.
10. Don't make it too obvious that you are looking for matrimony. Be friendly and casual. "Provide just enough moonlight and roses to produce the proper atmosphere" and guide him in the right direction.
11. Don't let your family close in on him too quickly. He will either balk at what he perceives to be a conspiracy, or grab his hat and run.
12. Once you think you have landed him, don't waste time; set the date and marry quickly, lest you find yourself with a man who hangs around for years but doesn't commit. He may need a direct hint like "Mother wants to announce our engagement. Would Sunday the 18th be all right for the family party?" will take care of that. Or invent or dig up another man to start a competitive rush.
#12 obviously has totally and completely disregarded #10 and 11, but if he doesn't bolt after a statement like that, he's either ready to go to the altar, crazy, or some combination of both, in my own humble opinion. What do you think?
Picture: April, 1946 Mademoisselle magazine.