Don't get drunk
A 1938 article in Click Parade warned women that getting boozed up on a date was a big no-no. Not only will they appear "silly" rather than "clever," but they'll also embarrass their date. "The last straw is to pass out from too much liquor. Chances are, your date will never call you again!" writes Click Parade. That's sound advice for any era, especially when you risk puking on your date's shoes.
Have your mom send you flowers
In a 1938 article in Mademoiselle, a Smith College senior advised freshmen about the importance of cultivating an "image of popularity" to get dates. She advised, "During your first term, get home talent to ply you with letters, telegrams, and invitations. College men will think, 'she must be attractive if she can rate all that attention.'" She further suggests to have your mom send you flowers to impress men and to shut the lights in your dorm room at night, so no one will think you're home if you don't have a date.
Stay quiet on the dance floor
Another word of advice from Click Parade was to avoid boring your date with talk about clothes, and to "...flatter your date by talking about the things he wants to talk about." It also recommends feigning interest in whatever he says. In her 1939 book, How To Win and Hold a Husband, Dorothy Dix puts it more bluntly, "Don't talk too much and, above all, don't talk about yourself, ever. Men have a horror of girls who babble on forever and ever like a brook. Men like to talk about themselves and what they want is an intelligent listener." Think you can at least chat while doing the cha-cha? Think again.
There's no crying in baseball—or dating
Click Parade recommends you don't turn on the tears in a potential beau's company because men should not have their emotions worked on (how manipulative!), and "men don't like tears, especially in public places." In her book, Dorothy Dix writes, "Men do not like sentimental women." Stay strong, ladies!
Chewing gum is a turn-off
Fresh breathe, anyone? Stick to mints and not gum if you want to keep your man happy. According to the 1938 Click Parade article, chewing gum was "not advised," however if you must, it was advisable to do so with your mouth shut. Chomping away like a cow on a piece of Bubble Yum might be frowned upon today as well. That's just bad manners!
Never touch up your makeup in his rear view mirror
Gussy up, of course, but don't make him watch your routine. Click Parade suggests "to dress in your boudoir to keep your allure," and that includes makeup, too. And don't even think about touching up your lipstick in front of him or blotting your lips with his hankie. And never use the car's rearview mirror to check your makeup because "Men need it to drive and it annoys them very much when they have to run around to see what's behind them." Smudged mascara will have to wait!
Waiting isn't a virtue when it comes to dating
Click Parade warns, "Don't keep him waiting. Greet him with a smile!" But according to the article you don't want to be so hasty that you forget to wear a brassiere, if you need one that is. Dating etiquette from the 1950s reinforced the message that keeping your date waiting could be a romance buster.
Don't overdress to impress
As important as it is to look good, it's just as strategic to avoid overdoing it. Dix's book, How To Win and Hold a Husband, warns "...she scares him off when she decks herself out in what looks like a million dollars' worth of finery." In other words, he'll think he can't afford to date you if you wear a designer gown like some modern day Housewife of New Jersey.
Put down that phone
In Dorothy Dix's book she is adamant that gals trying to snag a guy stay away from the telephone. "Don't call a boy up over the telephone during business hours. He will hate you for it, because you are jeopardizing his job... There is no surer way for a girl to make herself unpopular with men than to be a telephone hound." It's unlikely Ms. Dix would be a fan of modern texting either—or posting on social media.
Take a trip abroad
And what of the poor girl who can't get a date? Traveling abroad might be just the ticket—an airplane ticket that is. As Dix explains in her book: "Before succumbing to the inevitable she might give herself one more chance by making a change in her environment. Many a girl who is a social failure at home is a success abroad. Many a girl whom the boys on Main Street couldn't see becomes one whom strange men behold with admiration..." Strange men? I'm not sure a girl's mother would agree.
Over 30? Take matters into your own hands
Suddenly a feminist, Dix advises women over 30 who want to get hitched to do the courting themselves. They should "...pick out the particular men they desire to have for husbands and go in for a whirlwind campaign. Virtually any woman can marry any man if she will just go after him hard enough, provided she never lets him suspect that she is being the aggressor."
Play a good game of bridge
According to Dix's etiquette guidelines, you shouldn't count on "getting by with a pretty face." You better have a bag of tricks to entertain your guy and keep him interested. "She has to know how to be entertaining and amusing; how to dance and play a good game of bridge; how to fit in any company. Only senile grandpas fall for the beautiful but dumb, and Venus herself would be a wallflower if she had to be towed around a ballroom floor or trumped her partner's ace."