Dating Advice from 1944: How to Pick Your Right Girl

by Brett & Kate McKay on March 30, 2012 · 124 comments

in Dating, Relationships & Family

For $.98 cents you too can unlock the mystery of getting along with girls.

In one of the old men’s magazines I have in my collection, I spotted an ad for a book called How to Get Along with Girls. Curious on what sort of dating advice was dispensed in 1944 when the book was published, I wanted to get my hands on it.  The ad said all I needed to do was send in .98 cents and the secrets of getting along with girls would be mine. What a deal! Unfortunately, after further research, I found that the publisher no longer exists, so I had no place to send my pocket change. Drat!

Undeterred, I went to eBay to see if any of the original copies still existed. Lucky for me I found one for just $5.00. It arrived in the mail a few days ago, and I’ve enjoyed thumbing through it, chuckling at some of the advice that clearly needs to stay in 1944. But, overall, How to Get Along with Girls offers some pretty solid and timeless dating advice for men.

So I thought it would be fun (and perhaps useful) to share some of the book’s advice with you all from time to time.  The first excerpt comes from a chapter called “How to Pick Your Right Girl.” It’s reminiscent of the post we published back in 2008 called How Do You Know When She’s the One? and is all about figuring out whether you’re in a relationship with the right gal. Enjoy.

How to Pick Your Right Girl

“Keep your eyes wide open before marriage; half closed afterwards.”

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.

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!)

Any other questions a man pondering marriage should consider before making the plunge? Specifically, are there questions a man should ask in 2012 that a man might not have asked himself in 1944? Share them with us in the comments!

{ 124 comments… read them below or add one }

101 Elocin January 8, 2013 at 8:47 pm

Will she put the role of wife / mother as a primary responsibility in her life?

This goes back to one of the questions already posed:

Do you agree on children, or a career, or both? (Better settle this beforehand)

No answer is wrong, but if you don’t both agree, or if you can’t compromise without being resentful, then move on. My mother had a card in her walet for years that she had received in a high school ettiquette class. “Ten things every woman should know.” #1 was “Attitude is everything.” I didn’t realize this then, but it’s so very true. Does she have a good attitude? # 2 was “Date your mate.” Are you dating someone you could potentially spend your life with? Or are you dating her because you’re bored, lonely or they stroke your ego? (And all of these questions should be asked vice versa)
Last but not least; Do you like/love each other equally? Balance is necessary…

102 Jon Morris January 31, 2013 at 4:37 pm

I think in the age of Facebook, texting and social media in general, I think it’s important to know who her friends are, what type of people they are and WHY they are her friends. For example, does she attract a certain kind of person? Is she a target for narcissists or frenemies? Are her friends a good influence on her, or are they just using her to feel good about themselves? etc, etc

103 Tommy February 6, 2013 at 10:59 am

Love the Bible quote. Hah

104 Brandon February 17, 2013 at 2:33 am

Thanks for the great article! This is just what I needed to read right now.

A few other questions I’ve heard that men should ask themselves:
* Do I enjoy giving to her and making her happy?
* Do I believe I’m the best thing in the world for her?
* Am I proud of who she is, and am I trying to make her shine, or am I trying to change her?

105 Feej March 1, 2013 at 2:38 pm

I am at the age where girls are the big thing. Thanks!

106 Anonymous March 15, 2013 at 4:59 pm

Damm! everything was positive…i found her! what do now

107 Val March 22, 2013 at 4:30 pm

I think important questions are
Do I like myself when I am around this person
Do they add to my life or take away
Is there trust, honestity, loyality, and openness on both sides

108 Alex March 23, 2013 at 8:42 pm

I believe all of these are great questions and certainly should be considered next time you starting dating her.

109 Kurt March 30, 2013 at 4:02 pm

nice advices,being realistic to yourselves about marrying or thinking about marrying a women is best tool for men I think

110 james dillard March 30, 2013 at 4:10 pm

“By all means, marry. If you get a good wife, you will be truly happy. If you get a bad one, you will become a philosopher; that is good for any man.” socrates

111 Pryor March 30, 2013 at 4:20 pm

This seems obvious to me: are you sexually compatible? They wouldn’t have said that in 1944, of course, but you better believe it’s important.

112 Frank March 30, 2013 at 5:37 pm

In 1944 there was no such thing as a pre-nup agreement. Is she in agreement once should be signed to save both from financial ruin ?

113 Jeremy March 30, 2013 at 6:25 pm

An item that cost 98 cents in 1944 would cost over 12 dollars in 2013 due to inflation. You got a steal!

114 Rob Torres March 30, 2013 at 8:46 pm

Good advice to follow. Some which I wish I’d had. Now at 50 years old, I’m a bachelor until they throw the dirt on me.

115 Jennifer April 9, 2013 at 6:53 pm

Goodness, you write articles on decisiveness but the compounded lists of perfectionism seems to negate that all together! If there is any list I would write about what to look for in a man, the first and foremost is that he would recognize that humans are imperfect beings! We may not all have the same experience in life, but it is the willingness and curiosity to learn and seek a higher good that is important, in my humble opinion.
E.g., understanding money is something that can be learned, health is something that unfortunately not everybody can control even if they are avid athletes, and family is something that we need not be picky unless there are extremities.

@ Jon Morris: We cannot judge ones FB friends as anyone’s true friends. It is more of what her true values of friendships hold to be true to your beliefs as well.

If I gave any of these gentlemn tips, it would be to dive into love when you feel it. Trust your gut from the core. Ask God for what you want and appreciate what God gives you since you asked for it. But own your decisiveness and be careful what you wish for.

116 Carl April 16, 2013 at 10:53 pm

all/almost all (about 95%) are a positive for me, but the only problem remains that our families are different religions :/ hers is Mormon, mine Christian…any suggestions? I don’t want to give up on her, she means the world and almost everything on there was a positive response…I don’t want to give up a chance with her just yet if it can be helped.

117 Zla'od April 29, 2013 at 8:28 am

Carl, 95 % is pretty good! But you can make it 100 % if you become a Mormon! (BTW they consider themselves Christians too.)

But seriously, religious differences are like other differences–they can be important, but they don’t have to be ALL-important. You have a lot of common ground.

118 Julian Jimenez April 30, 2013 at 4:14 pm

This is a great article for me. I recall you had another article some time back and it spoke about picking the “One” gal. I remember you said in the article that you felt exicted and full of anticipation for the day of your wedding and I believe that’s how every gentleman should feel about their wedding day. I’m 24 and I’m getting married on Sunday May 5th and I have to say I feel the exact opposite. I feel anxious and depressed. I don’t know why though. I’ve known my fiancee for nearly 5 years and I know she is a great woman that will take care of me and love me eternally. I have no doubt that she will be a great wife. I feel unhappy even though she tries her best to bring joy to me. Could it be that something is missing for me in her personality? All my friends like her and love her as well as my family. Is their something wrong with me that I need to get over?

119 Christian May 5, 2013 at 4:07 pm

is she addicted to facebook?

120 Tom June 10, 2013 at 10:49 pm

I feel the EXACT same way as Julian J. I’m not engaged. I keep going back and forth on what to do. Personality wise and compatibility she’s almost everything I could want. She will love and support me forever. But other factors like physical attractiveness and whether or not we would have strong, successful children, as well as some ideological/value differences have me concerned. Everyone says personality and compatibility are the most important but does that mean I should marry someone less desirable physically and/or has different values than mine?

121 RB July 26, 2013 at 7:15 pm

Tom: Correct me if I’m wrong but what I believe you’re essentially trying to say is “I am hotter than my girlfriend, and that bugs me for myriad reasons”.

I think everyone is different in that regard. What experience has taught me is that I needed to marry someone with whom I could be myself. Changing the way you behave or dress to snag a “hot” wife is all very well – but you could be talking about the next 50 years here. That’s a long time to tolerate someone you chose purely for cosmetic reasons.

At the same time, do you trust yourself enough not to stray as and when temptation arises? Because, if she is such a great girl on the inside, she deserves your honesty and respect.

That’s just my perspective, but may be food for thought.

122 Bryce August 17, 2013 at 7:07 pm

I’ve heard the Proverb, “Better to live in a desert than with a quarrelsome and ill-tempered wife.”

123 Naj October 8, 2013 at 11:06 am

Beautiful article, I’m having some of the same dilemmas here. Please help

124 Nick March 13, 2014 at 5:38 pm

Yes do you like her… you can love someone, but not really like them. I’ve dated girls where I loved them and cared for them, but if we grew up in the same neighborhood I would never have gravitated to them. But now the girl I’m seeing is different. I love her and I like who she is. I could have been a friend and wanted to see her in the past, not just learned to love her. It was natural. We never fight. We communicate so good, and really read one another well. We have an agreement if we joke with each other too much we use our code word.

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