When a Facebook user chanced on a 1958 edition of McCall's Magazine, she was just glad to know things had progressed so far for women.
Editor's Note: This article was originally published on January 31, 2020. It has since been updated.
In the age of Tinder and hook-ups, it can be somewhat strange to imagine a world where it's difficult to find a man. Sure, if we're talking about finding someone who wants to have a loving, stable relationship, that can be a whole different ball game. But, by and large, there is really no dearth of men to date these days. Apparently, this wasn't exactly the case in the 1950s. In an article from 1958 discovered by an unassuming Facebook user, the author lists out "129 ways to get a husband." If that sounds ridiculous, it's mostly because it is.
Kim Marx-Kuczynski from Madison, Wisconsin, discovered the 1958 edition of McCall's Magazine when she was at a rummage sale with her partner. "My boyfriend John Bascynski spotted it at a rummage sale and pointed it out. I bought it for a dollar," she explained in an interview. "I think the article is reflective of the social mores and 50s style in general, and I found the comparison between what was acceptable then and what is acceptable now fascinating. It also made me grateful that so much progress has been made." She evidently doesn't believe the magazine's outdated advice is helpful.
She said, "I think if someone is actively looking for a life-long partner just for the sake of being married, they will end up in a failed relationship whether they legally sever it or not. I’d like to read about someone’s attempts at trying out everything on the list though. They would either end up with a degree from Yale, in federal prison for stowing away on a military vessel, or in an intervention meeting with friends who’ve been very concerned with their recent dating profile choices." According to her, the advice belonging to the 1950s doesn't really hold any value in today's day and age. Kim firmly concluded, "It’s outdated and absurd and funny, but it had serious intentions. Society has changed so much in the last sixty years, and this article exemplifies the differences between what our moms and grandmas grew up with compared to ourselves and the coming generations. It’s fascinating."
And she might be right. The article begins, "In the United States today there are sixteen million women over the age of seventeen who are still waiting for a marriage proposal. Presumably, the vast majority of them would like to be." Reportedly, the magazine asked 16 women to brainstorm ways to find potential husbands and then compiled their advice into an article. Most of the advice is pretty ridiculous. The article's tips include setting up an easel outside an engineering college, reading obituaries to find eligible widowers and taking several short vacations rather than one long one (as you can encounter more men this way). Some of the advice, however, is pretty risky and could result in unintended and dangerous consequences, such as staying at small hotels while traveling so it's "easier to meet strangers" and "getting lost" at football games. This is why we need feminism. Let's just take a moment to thank our foresisters.