Dating Advice From the 1960s: How To Meet A Man

Including hanging out by tie racks. And drinking wine.


by Sophie Gadd |
Published on

So last week we learnt that men in the 1940swanted women to stem their vulgar talk in bed and start shutting the bathroom door when they went for a wee after sex. But what does 1960’s dating advice have to offer? Had things got more progressive? Is there anything still relevant we can pick up and use this weekend?

In what might become a new regular here on The Debrief, we decided to mine 1962 dating bible* Sex and The Single Girl* by Helen Gurley Brown to pick up some tips for us single girls who are tired of swiping left on where to meet men. Here’s the lowdown:

Alcoholics Anonymous


Now we’re not convinced that this is the best place to try unless you’re into Pete Doherty types, but Gurley Brown’s mate picked up a great bloke at the Beverly Hills chapter meeting. Perhaps that’s what’s behind her caution to this approach: ‘I suggest you pick a wealthy chapter of AA. Might as well start with a solvent problem child, like say someone with liquid assets.’

Blind dates


Not the sort of blind dates you would expect, but ‘taking a chance on the voice who has dialled your phone number by mistake.’ That’s correct. Asking a wrong number on a date. Since most phone calls these days seem to be automated messages about PPI rather than men sounding like Laurence Olivier, we’re not sure you’ll have much luck with this in 2014.

Political clubs


These were apparently ‘pretty swinging’ in the 1960’s – especially in an election year. We’re not sure this is the case today given the average age of a Tory party member is 68. (Yes, really).



Planes were obviously more sophisticated than Ryan Air in those days. Then again maybe not: ‘I don’t have to tell you to be sure you sit next to a man. If you see a lady bearing down and there are still empty seats in the plane, be ruthless.’

Shopping in men’s departments


But the right ones. As Gurley Brown puts it, men shopping for ‘briar pipes and Harris tweeds’ (yes, us neither) are likely to be attached. ‘Shopping for tie racks and other male accessories, however, is a good way to practice your femininity.’ We’re not sure how we figure out which shops are frequented only by single men, these days. We would suggest Topman, but then you risk accidentally propositioning a sixth former. Or Debenhams – but then again, that’s probably the reason they’re still single.

Your neighbour


The entire plot of Neighbours is based on this so it must happen to some people. But may we suggest throwing a house-party or something casual to initiate a hook up. Rather than the casual stalking Gurley Brown goes in for. See: ‘If he doesn’t get sick and tired of your watchful eye at the front-door aperture or your listening ears against his walls, or move from the neighbourhood prematurely, he’s sure to succumb to your blandishments finally…’

Create man bait


Or something that’ll make it easy for him to initiate the conversation. You know, like ‘a badge with a slogan on it’. (Not so helpful on the tube. People will assume it’s a Baby on Board badge, but you might get a seat. Swings and roundabouts.)

Or ‘carrying a controversial book’. The author suggests Das Kapital or Lady Chatterley’s Lover. Considering it’s now acceptable to read* 50 Shades of Grey* on the bus you might struggle to find a controversial book that won’t make people afraid to sit near you.

We could go on. But Gurley Brown gets into the politics of charm bracelets. And what’s there to say about that?

Driving in heavy traffic


‘Leave your window rolled down on your side and always look interestedly into the next car,’ advises Gurley Brown. ‘If the traffic is severe enough you may become acquainted after several shared stops at red lights.’ Not helpful if you live in the middle of nowhere. Helpful if you live in London and drive. But we cannot be held responsible for any insurance claims that result from trying this one.

Oh, and lose weight... by drinking wine

Follow Sophie on Twitter @sophie_gadd

Picture: Getty

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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