Take Some Dating Advice From this 1940s Guide to “How to Pick Your Right Girl”

A survival manual of sorts from the early 1940s has been making the rounds lately, and it offers some sage advice. The book is called “How to Pick Your Right Girl.” And it isn’t a joke. This book was aimed at the G.I.s heading back to the states. Those battle hardened soldiers could field strip a Garand, but they were clueless about settling down.

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Lucky for them, the book was available with a simple mail-in coupon.

And when you think about it, they probably had that perfect blend of scars and mystery that some women seem magnetically drawn to. So how were they to pick the right girl?

The advice in the book is pretty direct. Is it still useful today? If “what you desire may not coincide with what you require” seems as wise to you as it does to me, read on.

Here’s one of the chapters:

Sooner or later, if you are “stuck” on a girl, you arrive at the crucial indecision, “Is she the right girl for me? Shall I marry her?”

Yours is an unbelievable lot, brother. You are required to decide for the rest of your life, at a time when you are bereft of reason. You are required to be impartial about the object of your love, when love prejudices you in her favor. Unfortunately, such is the cockeyed nature of things that every marrying man gets into this predicament.

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What you seek in a wife is strictly your business. To rephrase the old proverb: one man’s wife is another man’s poison. But it is only fair to warn you that what you desire may not coincide with what you require. You may have no idea of what is good for you. Perhaps you need a woman to bolster your ego, but are masochist enough to “go” for a girl who slaps you down every time. Haven’t you seen that happen? Or you may need a girl to slap you down, but egoist that you are, you “go” only for “fluff” that flatters your vanity.

Before you make the momentous decision, you would do well to ponder the questions in this chapter. Obviously, you will not be objective; but it is of the utmost importance that you make the effort. To compensate for your prejudice, be extra hard in judging her.

– She is attractive, of course, but is that her chief asset? (Try to imagine her ten years from today.)
– Do you want her because she is popular–because other men have wanted her? (Don’t be a copy-cat!)
– Could you spend seven consecutive evenings in her company without being bored? (If the answer is affirmative, it is a good sign.)
– Do you have similar tastes in most things?

– Is she a good sport?
– Is she reasonably healthy?
– Is she a flirt? Does she make you jealous? (Decide whether you can stand the strain; your jealously will persist until you grow indifferent.)
– Are you constantly irritated by some small mannerism of hers? (You can’t be terribly in love.)

– Does she tell lies? Do you mind?
– Is she a nag?
– Is she quarrelsome? (The Bible warns, “It is better to dwell in a corner of the housetop than with a brawling woman in a wide house.”)
– Is she hard on other people? (Don’t judge by her behavior to you.)

– Is she trying to reform you? How do you feel about being reformed?
– Has she tried to boss you? (Maybe you need a boss.)
– Would she put up with all your faults if she knew them?
– When you quarrel, who capitulates first? (A combination of two stubborn mules is bad.)

– Do you agree on children, or a career, or both? (Better settle this beforehand.)
– Does she expect you to support her in a definite style? Could you count on her cooperation in hard times? Would she go to work if necessary?
– Will she help you get ahead? Or will she pull you away from your work?
– Can she handle money?

– If you marry her, will you also be marrying her family?
– Does she let you get around to see your old pals? (If you have been too infatuated to notice, make it a point of finding out.)
– Are you proud to present her to your friends? (If not, reconsider.)

– Do you hope to reform her? (Give up the idea. People change, but not according to plan.)
– Do you know her faults? Are you willing to live with them?
– Do you still think her perfect? (You’re wrong, of course, but marry!)

Do you think still think she’s perfect? If not, buy a reprint of the book. Or search the auction sites for an original.

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I’m astounded by how accurate this list actually is for today. Even though we don’t use words like quarrelsome, and rarely use semicolons correctly, this would make a good checklist. We will have to add in a few new questions, though. Suggestions?