‘How to get a husband’: Cringeworthy 1950s dating article advises women to ‘cry softly in a corner’ and ‘stumble into a room’ to attract eligible men

  • An 1958 article giving women advice on finding a husband has surfaced online
  • Social media has exploded in reaction to the now-controversial list of tips
  • Suggestions include wearing a band aid so men ask what happened to you
  • Desirable careers for girls included nursing and becoming an air-line stewardess
  • Single women were also encouraged to paint their name on roofs to attract pilots

A 1958 magazine article advising women on how to attract a partner has surfaced on the internet, triggering a frenzy across Australian social media.

Titled ‘129 Ways to Get a Husband’, the feature in American magazine McCall’s included a varied body of tips ranging from bizarre and desperate to downright sexist and politically incorrect.

One of the more outrageous instructions told women to be flexible about their potential partner’s decisions: ‘If he decides to skip the dance and go rowing on the lake, GO – even if you are wearing your best evening gown’.

The post, which had been shared 13,750 times at the time of writing, caused widespread controversy on Facebook, quickly racking up more than 4,600 likes and thousands of comments from shocked and amused users.

A 1958 magazine article advising women on how to attract a partner has surfaced on the internet, triggering a frenzy across Australian social media (stock image)

One of the more outrageous instructions tells women to be flexible about their potential partner’s decisions: ‘If he decides to skip the dance and go rowing on the lake, GO – even if you are wearing your best evening gown’

The feature was created with the help of 16 people, chosen for their ‘good minds, lively ideas and mature experience’.

The group included a popular song writer, a marriage consultant, an air-line stewardess, a police commissioner, a housewife, a banker, a psychologist and a bachelor.  

In a section headed ‘How to let him know you’re there’, advice involved investing in material items to enhance your desirability.

‘Buy a convertible – men like to ride in them,’ number 43 said.

‘Stumble when you walk into a room that’s in. Wear a band aid, people always ask what happened.’

One woman said her personal favourite was number 40, which instructed single girls to ‘stand in a corner and cry softly’ in the hopes of a man asking what’s wrong.

Number 35 suggested a straightforward tactic: ‘Make a lot of money.’

In a section headed ‘How to let him know you’re there’, advice involved investing in material items to enhance your desirability

In the ‘How to look good’ department, the magazine suggested ways to enhance your appearance


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In the ‘How to look good’ department, the magazine suggested ways to enhance your appearance.

‘Get better-looking glasses – men still make passes at girls who wear glasses, or you could try contact lenses,’ number 49 advised.

‘Wear high heels most of the time – they’re sexier! Unless he happens to be shorter than you.

Going on a diet ‘if you need to’, dressing differently from other girls and ‘never whining’ were other recommendations for singletons.

To seal the deal, the magazine provided guidance under the heading ‘How to land him’ with tips including researching your date’s previous girlfriends to avoid ‘repeating the mistakes they made’

If you struggled to find an eligible bachelor, the writers suggested buying a dog and walking it round the park or purposely having your car break down at strategic locations.

Other advice included ‘looking in the census reports for places with the most single men’, reading obituaries to locate desirable widowers, becoming a nurse or air-line stewardess and working inside a medical, dental or law school to be in close proximity to educated, wealthy males. 

To seal the deal, the magazine provided guidance under the heading ‘How to land him’. 

Tips ranged from talking to your date’s father about business to researching his previous girlfriends to avoid ‘repeating the mistakes they made’.

If all else fails, the magazine offered a section captioned ‘Anything Goes’ which shared tricks such as offering to fix a man’s flat tire and riding the airport bus back and forth until you found an attractive prospect. 

If you struggled to find an eligible bachelor, the writers suggested buying a dog and walking it round the park or purposely having your car break down at strategic locations

If all else fails, the magazine offered a section captioned ‘Anything Goes’ which shared tricks such as offering to fix a man’s flat tire

Tips ranged from talking to your date’s father about business to researching his previous girlfriends to avoid ‘repeating the mistakes they made’ (stock image)

The lengthy feature prompted a wave of responses from Facebook users, with one musing: ‘In this day and age it looks more like a manual of how to get kidnapped!’

‘So apparently I’m doing a LOT wrong, is that why I don’t have a husband?!’ one woman wondered, ending her post with a string of laughing emojis.

Some questioned the legitimacy of the story, while others joked they had ‘been doing it wrong for years’.

‘Thank God for the women’s movement!’ one user said.

‘Wow – finding a man is not for the faint of heart!’ another wrote.

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