Everyone idolizes the idea of an old-school romance, but when it comes down to it, were they everything they seem to be in the movies? We might be riding on the elation of realizing that our grandparents are still happily married after 60 years, but the entire world was a different place 50 years ago.
Technology didn't exist as it does now, guys didn't wear their pants below their hips, and many women were happy being housewives and never fighting for a professional life. Nothing was as it is today, because it didn't need to be.
So would dating advice from as early as 1940 still hold a candle to the dating world as we know it? In the days of Tinder dates, open relationships, and female independence, would we even have a shot if we listened to the voices of our lovebird ancestors?
Probably not, but there are a few solid pieces of advice that might—might—hold some water to this day. The most solid cornerstone of dating is being polite and respectful, and that's something that previous generations had down to a science.
So what, exactly, were their rules that worked? Let's take a dive back in time and see what we can learn from the idea behind a true romance.
20 The Worst: A Guy Needs To Make The First Move Before A Date
We're not sure when this gem of advice was coined but its time is up. With so many women's movements happening globally, the one thing women are seeking is equality... which doesn't stop short of dates.
Whether or not a woman wants to be courted and treated like royalty is her own prerogative, but some women just wanted to be treated, well, normally. They want to be treated as a human being and get the chance to know their date, and some women actually enjoy controlling the pace of the evening. Allowing her to decide is thoughtful and considerate, but also empowering in a way that the 1940s lacked.
19 It Works: Having Good Manners Is Always Appreciated
In stark contrast, manners matter. While she might want to push things along after the first few days, it's always important to remember that kindness counts, no matter what the speed of the relationship. Things such as being considerate of what she's feeling or saying, paying attention, opening car doors, paying for the date—these are all mannerisms that had their place in the good old days but still deserve a space in the new millennium.
A date will always be a way to get to know someone and build trust as well as friendship, so in order to do that, some kind of structure should be followed.
18 The Worst: Introducing Dates To Parents
Yikes, we know we can't be the only ones who wince at the mere thought of this. It's made even worse for those who live at home or share a space with family because it's often unavoidable.
It was once a hard and fast rule that any girl going on a date would be required to introduce her date to her parents. This was a courtesy and something that has since been done away with... Mainly because we no longer date people with the intention of marriage from day one. With that tradition out the window, so went the parental meeting before each and every date.
17 It Works: Putting It Out There How Much You're Looking Forward To The Date
Talking a date up isn't only a great way to hype up the evening—it's also a way to genuinely convey how thankful we are to have the opportunity to spend some alone time with a person we're interested in. Not talking prior to a date can often be a bit awkward when date time finally comes, and there's no harm in being polite, reaching out, and saying that you're super excited about going out with him or her.
Get excited! Show emotion! Let down your guard a little, let loose, and have some fun. Trust us, it's okay to let other people know when you're happy about something.
16 The Worst: Your Date Should Always Call You
Your date doesn't need to do anything post-date that they don't want to do. There's no reason to call someone if one person wasn't feeling the vibe or into the encounter, and it's just plain silly to do anything otherwise. Back in the day, it was commonplace to call your date the next day regardless.
Nowadays, a simple text will suffice—especially if it's just not meant to be. There's nothing wrong with thanking them for the evening or saying you had fun, but there's no need to push a potential relationship any further. There's definitely no requirement to push a second date; it'll only lead to awkward boredom.
15 It Works: Offering To Pay
This might get some eye rolls, but we don't make the rules, we only update them. There's absolutely nothing wrong with someone's game if they insist on paying for a meal or a date. Simply put, it's the polite thing to do for the person who did the initial asking-out to pay for said discussed date.
Mutual 'hangouts' aside, a date is and always will be a date... Someone must pay. Only, it doesn't need to be as ominous as we make it sound. Paying for someone might seem old-fashioned, but in reality, it's just a nice thing to do (or at least offer to do).
14 The Worst: No Adult Beverages On The First Date
This one is mildly laughable because nowadays, people propose dates by posing the question of, 'do you want to go out for <insert chosen adult beverage here>?'. This has been made even more popular due to the popping up of breweries, which have become commonplace in most states. Bars are also coming back in full swing, allowing people to absorb an atmosphere dedicated to the rolling 20s or a traditional pub house.
So while the theme might be stuck in the past, the idea of indulging on the first date definitely is not. Within reason, it's totally fine to plan a date around shared adult beverage interests.
13 It Works: Undivided Attention
This is a key part of a date that many people just simply can't grasp. It's really not that much of a challenge to give someone your full, undivided attention, but it seems that we've lost what that means.
It certainly doesn't mean checking our phones every five minutes, watching the score of the game on the TV over our date's head, or immersing ourselves in the dish in front of us without listening to what our date is saying. If these are all key points for a date, then why bother going on one in the first place? It's okay to make some eye contact.
12 The Worst: Making Things 'Official' After Date Number One
This can often be a huge mistake. Sometimes (and women, we know we're famous for it), one person will push for things to be 'exclusive' immediately after the first date. Back in the days of our grandparents, it was often the case that everyone and their brother knew that even though there was no relationship (yet), two people were 'dating'.
Now, we've lost a bit of this meaning due to the fact that we tend to overcomplicate things quite a bit. We don't 'date' anymore and even if we do, it's rare. Many couples either make things super official after the first date or don't continue to have dates after the first.
11 It Works: Making Eye Contact At The Right Moments
You've seen it in all the best romance movies: eye contact. There's nothing like a true, genuine gaze from the person who tugs at your heartstrings. These moments are the ones that you'll remember for years to come. The moment your date peers at you through eyes that seem to actually see you rather than just glancing at you, is a moment that can truly feel like a lifetime.
Back when there were no phones for distractions, no TVs for entertainment, and no trivia nights, these gazes were a lot more common. All we can do is try to bring them back... and win our date over in the process.
10 The Worst: Being Completely Honest On The First Date
Don't take it the wrong way—we don't mean that anyone should be lying about their occupation or what their family is like. What we mean is that not everything needs to be said on the first date. We don't need to constantly divulge our entire dating history or family life when going on a date with someone for the first time, especially if we're still getting to know them.
Flash back 70 years, and it becomes a lot easier to be completely honest with someone... Because up until the point of your date, you'd really not done much but learn how to be a housewife, cook a roast, and attend classes.
9 It Works: Cute, Yet Polite Things Like Holding Hands
Yes, it's cute and yes, it works! What's the one thing we all remember (most of us, anyway) from our first real date? That's right, holding hands with someone. Whether it was in the movies, over dinner, or walking home, this small gesture means so much and conveys one thing: 'I really like you'.
Sure, it seems somewhat outdated and bold to just reach for someone's hand, but it's really not. This is one of those rare first-date customs that still has a place in today's society. Plus, it makes for some totes adorbs IG-worthy, couple goals photos, if that's your thing.
8 The Worst: You Must Compliment Your Date
Here's the thing: There's no rule stating that—upon picking up your date (if that's the way things are going down)—he or she needs to be complimented right off the bat. While it's a nice gesture, it can also be totally awkward if it doesn't come naturally.
There was once a time when all men were expected to complement their dates, regardless of whether they were feeling it or not. This is an outdated logic that no longer applies because there are many kinds of dates... Not just fancy setups. If it comes naturally, then great. If not, then just go with the flow!
7 It Works: Not Pushing Any Type Of Expectations
Taking things slow might sound like the most old-fashioned way to enter a relationship, but it might be for the best. It has long been believed that relationships which are built on a solid foundation of friendship first are relationships that survive when others don't. Obviously, this isn't to say that some relationships don't benefit from a swift velocity, but it is to say this: take a chance at a slow process.
You might find that a relationship can have a different outcome if there's a strong feeling of friendship prior to all the physical stuff. After all, it worked for our grandparents, right?
6 The Worst: Always Be Polite, Regardless Of Circumstance
Sometimes, dates can go south quickly. You end up with the rude guy, the obnoxious opinion-wielder, the one who led you to believe that he was in the running for Mr. Charming... it happens. The old-school book of date wisdom says that we remain ladies up until the final 'goodbye' of the night.
However, the new-school book of dating says one thing: chuck that. Ladies, if a guy is outwardly rude, can't restrain himself and his opinions, and is just an unpleasant person overall, ditch him! Excuse yourself, end the date early, whatever you feel you need to do. Us girls need to stick together, including where bad dates are concerned.
5 It Works: Following Up With Some Communication
While it's totally unnecessary to follow up by claiming we had a great time when we didn't, if the date went well, it's a good idea to send out a text or message the following day. Just something like, 'last night was a blast, let's do it again sometime!' can suffice.
We don't need to follow old-school logic to a T and say things like, 'it was a pleasure to have met your acquaintance, I do hope you'll give me the honor of courtship in the future'—unless you really want to, but we can't guarantee you won't receive radio silence in response.
4 The Worst: A Woman Must Be Picked Up And Brought Home
Yes, hi, hello... We can drive ourselves. It's 2019, and, believe it or not, women are allowed to have a license and *gasp* buy their own vehicles. The rule that we need to be picked up and dropped off is ancient, for sure. Some gals might not mind it and there's nothing wrong with that.
However, for the most part, many women will opt to meet their date via their own mode of transportation. In today's world, it can just be a safe choice, but it's also an empowering move. We have the option to leave when we want, go where we want, and have a safe space in the event that we need it. Point and case.
3 It Works: Appearance Can Only Help Attraction
You may have always wondered how everyone looked amazing back in the day, and that's because of one thing: they cared about their appearance. It was unusual to find a man or woman strolling around in sweats and a baggy tee and, unfortunately, this is something we've lost touch with.
Yoga pants are a gift from the heavens, but they're definitely not date-worthy (unless the date includes, well, yoga). Taking the opportunity to look our best will make us feel our best, which will give us confidence that will likely float the entire evening. It's a bit old-fashioned, but it's still empowering nonetheless.
2 The Worst: Don't Bring Up Past History
It might be a bit contradictory to the whole 'don't divulge everything on the first date' rule, but if your date asks, feel free to answer. The difference between 2019 and 1950 is that many things are out on the table for everyone's viewing pleasure nowadays. Issues that were once taboo—such as discussing a previous relationship—simply aren't anymore.
There's no reason to bring it up without a prompt, but if it does come up, it's better to be open rather than be shifty and silent. It could also be a good way to bond with your date; we don't always realize that many of us have gone through the same troubles.
1 It Works: An Air Of Mystery Keeps Things Interesting
When we watch black and white films, especially of the Noir style, the one thing that stands out is the air of mystery every woman seemed to have. The audience would know just enough about her to be intrigued, but not enough to feel as though they'd discovered her fully.
This same feeling is what keeps relationships—especially in the early stages—interesting. Each date should mean peeling back another layer and each layer should be a bit deeper than the last. This is why dating is fun, and it's a rule that we're here for when it comes to new relationships.