Published covers of McCall's Magazine over the years.

129 Ways to Get A Husband… in 1958

Last Updated: April 9, 2023By Tags: , , ,

If there was ever a gateway into the ideologies of the past, McCall’s Magazine may have been one of the greatest resources ever made for the 1950’s housewife-hopeful.

Often referred to as the “post-war era” or the “baby boomer era,” the 1950s was a decade of significant social, cultural, and economic changes in many parts of the world, particularly in the United States. In the age of the landline-telephone and black-and-white television programming, it was a very different time for civil rights, pop culture, and global temperature, as most scientists vehemently believe and would argue today.

The 1950s was a pivotal era in modern history, marked by significant cultural shifts and societal expectations, especially for women. During this time, marriage and homemaking were highly emphasized as essential roles for women, with societal norms and expectations often prioritizing marriage and family life as the ultimate goal for women.

It’s no wonder that women were expected to conform to traditional gender roles, and marriage and homemaking were often seen as the primary pathways for women to achieve social and economic security. However, some of those sentiments and beliefs would be shocking for most modern women today.

The following article appeared in a January 1958 edition of McCall’s Magazine, “the magazine of togetherness,” or just wildly outrageous ideologies that suppressed women’s rights, beliefs, and opportunities for many generations… but who knows?

McCall's Magazine, January 1958.

McCall’s Magazine, January 1958.

129 Ways to Get A Husband

In the United States today, there are 16 million women over the age of 17 who are not married. Presumably, the vast majority of them would like to be. They are sometimes alarmed by statistics that show there are only 12 million unmarried men on whom they can pin their hopes. Happily, the real picture isn’t nearly that bad. In the so-called “marriageable-age” groups, there are almost enough single men to go around. The problem is to find a good one and land him.

McCall’s decided to try a technique called “brain-storming” to see if there were any fresh ideas on the subject. Brain-storming is being used by business, industry, and our armed forces to sell goods, solve production problems, and plan strategy. Parent-teacher associations, Kiwanis clubs, and other community groups are brain-storming their way to wider membership and better service programs.

Sixteen people took part in McCall’s brain-storming session on “How To Find a Husband.” They were chosen largely because they were known to have good minds, lively ideas, and mature experience. Moderator was Lee H. Bristol, Jr., trustee of Alex Osborn’s Creative Education Foundation. Among the members of the panel were a popular songwriter, a marriage consultant, an air-line stewardess, a police commissioner, a housewife, an investment banker, a psychologist, a bachelor, a newlywed, and an engineer.

The panel was instructed in the basic rules of brain-storming:

  • Judgements are out. Criticism of ideas is a job for tomorrow.
  • Freewheeling, uninhibited thinking is what we hope to get–the more uninhibited, the better. Let yourself go!
  • The more ideas, the better. Sheer quantity is important.
  • Combination of two or more ideas may be best of all. Try to “hitchhike” on another’s inspiration–two heads are better than one!

Let’s get this party started!

Where To Find Him

1. Get a dog and walk it.
2. Have your car break down at strategic places.
3. Attend night school – take courses men like.
4. Join a hiking club.
5. Look in the census reports for places with the most single men. Nevada has 125 males for every 100 females.
6. Read the obituaries to find eligible widowers
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 airline stewardess – they have very high marriage rates.
13. Ask your friends’ husbands who the eligible men are in their offices.
14. Be nice to everybody – they may have an eligible brother or son.
15. Get a government job overseas.
16. Volunteer for jury duty.
17. Be friendly to ugly men – handsome is as handsome does.
18. Tell your friends that you are interested in getting married. Don’t keep it a secret.
19. Get lost at football games.
20. Don’t take a job in a company run largely by women.
21. Get a job demonstrating fishing tackle in a sporting goods store.
22. On a plane, train or bus don’t sit next to a woman – sit next to a man.
23. Go to all reunions of your high school or college class. There may be widowers there.
24. Don’t be afraid to associate with more attractive girls; they may have some leftovers.
25. Go back to your hometown for a visit – the wild kid next door may have become a very eligible bachelor while you were away.
26. Don’t room with a girl who is a sad sack and let her pull you down to her level.
27. Get a part-time job in a convention bureau.
28. Change apartments from time to time.
29. When traveling, stay at small hotels where it is easier to meet strangers.
30. Learn to paint. Set up easel outside engineering school.

How to Let Him Know You’re There

31. Stumble when you walk into a room that he’s in.
32. Forget discretion every once in a while and call him up.
33. Carry a hatbox.
34. Wear a Band-Aid. People always ask what happened.
35. Make a lot of money.
36. Learn several funny stories and learn to tell them well – but make sure you don’t tell them to him more than once.
37. Walk up to him and tell him you need some advice.
38. Dropping the handkerchief still works.
39. Have your father buy some theater tickets that have to be got rid of.
40. Stand in a corner and cry softly. Chances are good that he’ll come over to find out what’s wrong.
41. Don’t let him fish for your name the next time you meet. None of this “guess who” stuff.
42. If you’re at a resort, have the bell-boy page you.
43. Buy a convertible. Men like to ride in them.
44. Learn how to bake tasty apple pies. Bring one in to the office and let the eligible bachelors taste it.
45. Laugh at his jokes.
46. If there’s a wallflower among the men you know, why not cultivate him? For all you know, he may be a diamond in the rough.
47. “Accidentally” have your purse fly open, scattering its contents all over the street.

How to Look Good to Him

48. Men like to think they’re the authorities on perfume. Ask his advice on what kind you should wear.
49. Get better-looking glasses – men still make passes at girls who wear glasses – or try contact lenses.
50. Practice your drinking with your women friends first.
51. If you dye your hair, pick a shade and stick to it.
52. Wear high heels most of the time – they’re sexier!
53. Unless he happens to be shorter than you are!
54. Tell him he’s handsome.
55. Take good care of your health. Men don’t like girls who are ill.
56. If you look good in sweaters, wear one on every third date.
57. Dress differently from the other girls in the office.
58. Get a sunburn.
59. Watch your vocabulary.
60. Go on a diet if you need to.
61. When you are with him, order your steak rare.
62. Don’t tell him about your allergies.
63. European women use their eyes to good advantage. Practice in front of a mirror.
64. Buy a full-length mirror and take a good look before you go to greet him.
65. Change the shade of your stockings and be sure to keep the seams straight!
66. Get that fresh-scrubbed look by scrubbing!
67. If he has bought you any trinket or accessory, wear it.
68. Use the ashtray; don’t crush out cigarettes in coffee cups!
69. Polish up on making introductions; learn to do them gracefully.
70. Don’t be too fussy.
71. Stick to your moral standards.
72. Don’t whine – girls who whine stay on the vine!

How to Land Him

73. Show him you can have fun on a cheap date – but don’t overdo it!
74. Don’t let your parents treat him like a potential husband.
75. Ask your parents to disappear when you’re entertaining!
76. Double-date with a gay, happily married couple – let him see what it’s like!
77. Tell his friends nice things about him.
78. Send his mother a birthday card.
79. Ask his mother for her recipes.
80. Talk to his father about business and agree that taxes are too high!
81. Buy his sister’s children an occasional present.
82. On the first date tell him you aren’t thinking of getting married!
83. Don’t talk about how many children you want.
84. If he’s a fisherman, learn to scale and clean fish.
85. Don’t tell him everything about yourself at the start. Hold something in reserve.
86. When you’re out strolling with him, don’t insist on stopping at every shop window.
87. Don’t tell him how much your clothes cost.
88. Learn to sew and wear something you have made yourself.
89. Don’t gossip about him.
90. Never let him know he’s the only one, even if you have to stay home one or two nights a week!
91. Don’t be a pushover when he’s trying to make a date.
92. Very early in your dating, why not get a favorite song that you both regard as your own?
93. Find out about the girls he hasn’t married. Don’t repeat the mistakes they made.
94. Don’t discuss your former boyfriends.
95. If you are widowed or divorced, don’t constantly discuss your former husband.
96. Be flexible. If he decides to skip the dance and go rowing on the lake, go – even if you are wearing your best evening gown.
97. Hide your Phi Beta Kappa key if you own one – later on junior can play with it.
98. Turn wolves into husband material by assuming they have honor.
99. Resist the urge to make him over – before marriage, that is!
100. Learn where to draw the line – but do it gracefully.
101. Remain innocent but not ignorant.
102. Make your home comfortable when he calls – large ashtrays, comfortable chairs.
103. Learn to play poker.
104. If he’s rich, tell him you like his money – the honesty will intrigue him!
105. Never let him believe your career is more important to him than marriage.
106. Buy him an amusing or particularly appropriate present everyone once in a while. But don’t make it too expensive.
107. Clip and mail him a funny cartoon that means something to both of you.
108. Don’t tell dirty stories.
109. Stop being a mama’s girl – don’t let him think he’ll have in-law trouble, even if you know he will!
110. Point out to him that the death rate of single men is twice that of married men.

Wild Ideas – Anything Goes

111. Go to Yale.
112. Get a hunting license.
113. If your mother is fat, tell him you take after your father. If he’s fat too, tell him you’re adopted!
114. Stow away on a battleship.
115. Rent a billboard and post your picture and telephone number on it.
116. Paint your name and number on your roof and say, “Give me a buzz, pilots.”
117. Start a whispering campaign on how sought-after you are.
118. Sink at a fashionable beach at high noon!
119. Ride the airport bus back and forth from the airport.
120. Bribe Ferris-wheel operator to get you stuck on the top of a Ferris wheel.
121. Stand on a busy street corner with a lasso.
122. Carry a camera and ask strange, handsome men if they would mind snapping your picture.
123. Ask your mother to take in male borders.
124. Make and sell toupees – bald men are easy catches!
125. Advertise for male co-owner of a boat.
126. If you see a man with a flat, offer to fix it.
127. Carry a tow chain in the trunk of your automobile.
128. Let it be known in your office that you have a button box and will sew on bachelors’ loose buttons.
129. Don’t marry him if he has too many loose buttons!

What do you think McCall’s got right?

About McCall’s Magazine

McCall’s was a women’s magazine published by the McCall Corporation that ran from 1873 until its final issue in 2002. McCall’s enjoyed great popularity through much of the 20th century, peaking at a readership of 8.4 million subscribers in the early 1960’s.

About the Author: Ammie-Marie Littke

Minimalist. Adventure seeker. Prefer experiences over things. Scientifically curious. Technological enthusiast. Independent voter. Songwriter. Avid music fan (80's music trivia whiz). Active concert goer. Michigan Wolverines fan. Beach snob. Borderline fashionista, but also in love with flare jeans.

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