Thursday, 3 October 2013

Dating Advice from the 1930s

Recently, a 1938 guide to dating for single women appeared online. “Careless women never appeal to gentleman. Don’t talk while dancing, for when a man dances, he wants to dance,” advises the author.  In another statement, ladies were counseled, “Don’t tug at your girdle,” and “Men don’t like girls who borrow their handkerchief and smudge them with lipstick.”

Eye-opening? As long as men and women have co-mingled, there have been strong ideas on the do’s and don’ts of dating. Are yesteryear’s words to the wise still applicable in the here and now? Have we evolved?

Yes and no. Girdles and kerchiefs are clearly things of the past, but much more has changed since the retro era of the 30’s: defined gender roles have since dissolved, conventions loosened, and technology has altered the way that we relate and communicate with each other. Men and women, more or less, stand on equal ground on just about every front: professional, political, and personal, and increased mobility means that our populations are more diverse and multicultural than ever.

That said, no longer bound by hard and fast rules, the modern single has a tricky scene to navigate. Misunderstandings are more likely to abound. Despite our contemporary lifestyles, many of us still have the ultimate goal of achieving and maintaining a solid, traditional relationship.  How to strike a balance between the ever-evolving day to day with old-fashioned values?

The crux of our advice at It’s Just Lunch, focuses on human relations, regardless of gender.  What message are you sending when you’re making  (or avoiding) eye contact? What makes a good first impression? How do you set the scene for romance?  Whatever the era, there are some universal, common-sense rules to abide by. “Don’t drink too much,” advises the 1938 guide.  “Greet your date with a smile.” Though our daily lifestyles have evolved, courtesy and friendliness never change.