Dating tips for teen girls in the 1950s: Seventeen magazine’s ‘How to chase men ’til they catch you’

Teens Sears - bus stop - Aug 1956

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How to chase men was something every teen girl should know… or so said the editor of Seventeen magazine back in the fifties.

For girls hoping to be on the dating scene back then, these are her tips on how to flirt and behave, just for the gals.

Girl with lipstick from the 1950s

How to chase men in the 50s: Learn how to flirt fair and square

by Mary Prime – The Press-Telegram (Long Beach, Calif.) October 25, 1957

How to chase men till they catch us is something every young girl should know.

So says Enid Haupt, editor and publisher of Seventeen magazine, wife of stockbroker Ira Haupt, and mother of a grown daughter.

“Men need to be encouraged — but not pushed,” said she. “Every girl learns to flirt by the time she’s a year old. It’s instinctive.

“But she doesn’t always learn how to flirt fair and square. The secret is knowing when to stop.”

The Seventeen Book of Young Living book for teens - 1961 edition - Tips on how to flirt

Mrs Haupt divulged that secret — among others — to the nation’s 8,500,00 young women under 20 in a book, “The Seventeen Book of Young Living,” published by David McKay Co. Yes, it’s for teenagers, technically. But it won’t hurt older “girls” to sit this one in.

Mrs Haupt’s first rule for boosting the date rate: bolster the male ego. You can’t go wrong. “Make the man feel like a cavalier,” said author Haupt. That will bring out his responsible, protective side. It may even bring on a proposal — but never a pass, she assured us.

MORE: Cosmo’s Marvelous Men: Inside the cringeworthy ’70s guide to love & sex for women

How to chase men til they catch you - from the 1950s

How to flirt: What else to do when you see your “target”

Here are her next rules:

Curb your aggressive nature. It belongs to men only. Develop an extra layer of femininity.

When you see your “target,” smile. Call him by name. Say something nice — about him, naturally.

If that doesn’t work, get a friend to ask him to her house for a “valid” reason: a club, a committee meeting, a hot-dog roast. You’ll be the real reason, but he’ll never know.

1950s square dancing

Now, be fascinated with the subjects he’s interested in. This is easier if you know something about the subjects.

Get him to talk by way of prodding murmurs, such as, “That must be VERY difficult,” or “How did you learn so much about it?”

Learn about his interests, hobbies, favorite sports. Find out where he shops for records (this can be adapted to habitats of all ages), swims, fishes, skis. Then you’ll know where to “run into” him.

You’ll also know what new interests to develop, what tennis courts to use, what hobby equipment to ask for on your next birthday.

Once you know something about him, your subtle opportunities are limitless.

Milkshake at a soda shop from 1957

Overcoming shyness

You don’t try to stop being shy any more than you try to change the color of your eyes or the fact that you weep at sad movies, but you do try to develop some positive action to take so that the shyness will not be awkward for others, and will not build a barrier between you and new people and new situations.

Keeping some of these points in mind should help:

Slow down and breathe easily when you enter a crowded room, when you are in any new situation.

Be sure you stand erectly with your head up — you’ll look assured. even if you’re not!

If you have bought new clothes for the occasion, wear the entire outfit at least once beforehand. That way you’ll be aware of all the things that might plague you.

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Vintage beauty from the 1950s

For any new situation, dress simply and carry as few things as possible.

When you are sitting, look serene by being still.

When you are eating, take small bites, chew slowly; first rest your hand on the implement or glass instead of grabbing it up.

Take a sip of water before speaking.

When you’re not sure what is expected of you in a new situation, look around the room and take your cue from the others — and don’t hesitate to ask someone near you.

Vintage teen beauty from the 1950s

The Keys of C From “The Seventeen Book of Young Living”

Here are ten C words that can be your keywords to a richer life:

COURAGE brings forth hidden sources of physical and spiritual strength.

CHALLENGE inspires new methods of approaching problems.

CHARACTER gives you the strength to stand for things in which you believe.

CONSCIENCE is the inner pilot light that illuminates your better judgment.

COMMUNICATION is your lifeline, keep it open — discuss your hopes, dreams and problems.

COOPERATION with others helps you find new levels of interest.

CONSIDERATION teaches you to do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

COMPASSION rewards both the giver and the receiver.

COURTESY practiced in family living becomes a shining part of your personality.

COMPANIONSHIP forms the richest part of friendship, the basis for happiness at home, the essence of romantic love.

NOW SEE THIS: 129 ways to get a husband: Truly terrible vintage tips from the 1950s

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Comments on this story

2 Responses

  1. Reminds me of the old joke: Q: What does a woman have to do to sleep with a man on a first date? A: Show up…

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