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Hilarious tips from 1958 on how to get a husband show how much women and the world have changed

By PhilSTAR L!fe Published Dec 11, 2020 10:47 pm

Two years ago, a woman named Kim Marx-Kuczynski from Madison, Wisconsin shared an article from a 1958 McCall’s magazine, which her boyfriend bought from a garage sale. The story’s headline is “129 Ways to Get a Husband”—and it’s a hilarious list of advice written by 16 people that McCall’s put together and whose goal was to help women get marriage proposals.

While well-meaning, the article will leave you wondering whether it was serious or not, even in context of the 1950s. I mean, really, “Stand on a busy street corner with a lasso”? “Stand in a corner and cry softly—chances are he’ll come over to ask what’s wrong”? “Make and sell toupees—bald men make easy catches.” I rest my case on the last one.

There’s one or two useful advice—like “make a lot of money”—except the goal is to catch a husband and not really for yourself.

The pieces of advice are so outdated and ridiculous, they’re funny, and they show us how the 1950s were a world away from today—make that an unrecognizable planet!—with all the dating apps available now to meet men and decide for yourself.

How many of these tips would still work today? 

Of course, women back then were treated differently, they saw themselves differently. It wouldn’t be until the next two decades—the 1960s and ‘70s—that they would start a movement and begin thinking that marriage may not be the life goal they wanted.

This list will make you appreciate how different the times are today.

McCall’s 129 tips on how to get a husband, 1958 

  1. Get a dog and walk it.
  2. Have your car break down at strategic places.
  3. Attend night school—take course men like.
  4. Look in the census reports for places with the most single men.
  5. Read the obituaries to find eligible widowers.
  6. Join a hiking club.
  7. Take up golf and go to different golf courses.
  8. Take several short vacations at different places rather than one long one at one place.
  9. Sit on a park bench and feed the pigeons.
  10. Take a bicycle trip through Europe.
  11. Get a job in a medical, dental or law school.
  12. Become a nurse or an airline stewardess.
  13. Ask your friends’ husbands who the eligible men are in their offices.
  14. Be nice to everybody—they may have an eligible son or brother.
Be friendly to ugly men—handsome is as handsome does.

  1. Get a government job overseas.
  2. Volunteer for jury duty.
  3. Be friendly to ugly men—handsome is as handsome does.
  4. Tell your friends you’re interested in getting married.
  5. Get lost at football games.
  6. Don’t take a job in a company largely run by women.
  7. Get a job demonstrating fishing tackle in a sports store.
  8. On a plane, train or bus don’t sit next to a woman —sit next to a man.
  9. Go to all school reunions, there may be widowers there.
  10. Don’t be afraid to associate with more attractive girls, they may have some leftovers.
  11. Go back to your home town—the wild kid next door may now be an eligible bachelor.
  12. Don’t room with a girl who is a sad sack and let her pull you down to her level.
  13. Get a part-time job in a convention bureau.
  14. Change apartments from time to time.
  15. When travelling stay at small hotels where it’s easier to meet strangers.
  16. Learn to paint. Set up easel outside engineering school.
  17. Stumble when you walk into a room he’s in.
  18. Forget discretion every once in a while and call him up.
  19. Carry a hat box.
  20. Wear a band-aid—people always ask what happened.
  21. Make a lot of money.
  22. Learn several funny stories and learn to tell them well—but make sure you don’t tell him more than once.
  23. Walk up to him and tell him you need some advice.
Paint your name and number on a roof and write, ‘Give me a buzz, pilots.’


  1. Dropping the handkerchief still works.
  2. Have your father buy some theater tickets that need to be got rid of.
  3. Stand in a corner and cry softly—chances are he’ll come over to ask what’s wrong.
  4. If you are at a resort, have a bell boy page you.
  5. Buy a convertible—men like to ride in them.
  6. Don’t let him fish for your name next time you meet.
  7. Learn how to bake tasty apple pies—bring one into the office and let the eligible bachelors taste it.
  8. Laugh at his jokes.
  9. If there’s a wallflower among the men you know, why not cultivate them?
  10. ‘Accidentally’ have your purse fly open, scattering its contents across the street.
  11. Men like to think they’re authorities on perfume, ask his advice on what kind you should wear.
  12. Get better looking glasses—men still make passes at girls who wear glasses—or try contact lenses.
  13. Practice your drinking with your women friends first.
  14. If you dye your hair, pick a shade and stick to it.
  15. Wear high heels most of the time—they’re sexier.
  16. Unless he happens to be shorter than you are.
  17. Tell him he’s handsome.
  18. Take good care of your health—men don’t like girls who are ill.
Stand in a corner and cry softly—chances are he’ll come over to ask what’s wrong.


  1. If you look good in sweaters, wear one on every third date.
  2. Dress differently from the other girls in the office.
  3. Get a sunburn.
  4. Watch your vocabulary.
  5. Go on a diet if you need to.
  6. When you are with him, order your steak rare.
  7. Don’t tell him about your allergies.
  8. European women use their eyes to good advantage—practice in front of a mirror.
  9. Buy a full-length mirror and take a good, long look before you go and meet him.
  10. Change the shade of your stockings and be sure to keep the seams straight
  11. Get that fresh scrubbed look by scrubbing.
  12. If he has bought you any accessory or trinket, wear it.
  13. Use the ashtray, don’t crush our cigarettes in a coffee cup.
  14. Polish up on making introductions, learn to do them gracefully.
  15. Don’t be too fussy.
Make and sell toupees—bald men make easy catches.


  1. Stick to your moral standards.
  2. Don’t whine—girls who whine, stay on the vine.
  3. Show him you can have fun on a cheap date—but don’t overdo it.
  4. Don’t let your parents treat him like a potential husband.
  5. Ask your parents to disappear when you’re entertaining.
  6. Double date with a happily married couple, let him see what it’s like.
  7. Tell his friends nice things about him.
  8. Send his mother a birthday card.
  9. Ask his mother for recipes.
  10. Talk to his father about business and agree taxes are too high.
  11. Buy his sister’s children an occasional present.
  12. On the first date tell him you aren’t thinking about getting married.
  13. Don’t talk about how many children you want.
  14. If he’s a fisherman, learn to scale and clean fish.
  15. Don’t tell him everything about yourself at the start. Hold some in reserve.
  16. When you’re out strolling with him, don’t insist on stopping at every shop window.
  17. Don’t tell him how much your clothes cost.
  18. Learn to sew and wear something you have made yourself.
  19. Don’t gossip about him.
  20. Never let him know he’s the only one, even if you have to stay home one or two nights a week.
  21. Don’t be a pushover when he’s trying to make a date.
  22. Very early on in your dating, why not get a favorite song that you both regard as your own?
  23. Find out about the girls he hasn’t married. Don’t repeat their mistakes.
Stand on a busy street corner with a lasso.

  1. Don’t discuss your former boyfriends.
  2. If you are widowed or divorced, don’t discuss your former husband.
  3. Be flexible—if he decides to skip the dance and go rowing on the lake, go—even if you’re wearing your best evening gown.
  4. Hide your Phi Beta Kappa key if you own one - later on junior can play with it.
  5. Turn wolves into husbands by assuming they have honor.
  6. Resist the urge to make him over—before marriage that is.
  7. Remain innocent but not ignorant.
  8. Learn to draw the line but do it gracefully.
  9. Make your home comfortable when he calls—large ashtrays, comfortable chairs.
  10. Learn to play poker.
  11. If he’s rich, tell him you like his money - the honesty will intrigue him.
  12. Never let him believe your career is more important than your marriage.
  13. Buy him an amusing or particularly appropriate present every once in a while—but don’t make it too expensive.
  14. Clip and mail him a funny cartoon that means something to both of you.
  15. Don’t tell dirty stories.
  16. Stop being a mama’s girl—don’t let him think he’ll have in-law trouble, even if he will.
  17. Point out that the death rate of single men is twice that of married men.
  18. Go to Yale.
  19. Get a hunting license.
  20. If your mother is fat, tell him you take after your father. If he’s fat too, tell him you’re adopted!
  21. Stow away on a battleship.
  22. Rent a billboard and post your photo and phone number on it.
  23. Paint your name and number on a roof and write, “Give me a buzz, pilots.”
  24. Start a whispering campaign about how sought-after you are.
  25. Sink at a fashionable beach of high noon.
  26. Ride the airport shuttle back and forth from the airport.
  27. Bribe Ferris-wheel operator to get you stuck at the top of the Ferris-wheel.
  28. Stand on a busy street corner with a lasso.
  29. Carry a camera and ask strange, handsome men if they would mind snapping your picture.
  30. Ask your mother to take in male boarders.
  31. Make and sell toupees—bald men make easy catches.
  32. Advertise for a male co-owner of a boat.
  33. If you see a man with a flat, offer to catch it
  34. Carry a tow chain in the trunk of your automobile.
  35. Let it be known in your office that you have a button box and will sew on bachelor’s loose button.
  36. Don’t marry him if he has too many loose buttons.