From BrainPickings.org:

How Attractive Are You To The Opposite Sex? Esquire’s 1949 Questionnaire – by Maria Popova

“Almost any man can stand almost any amount of flattery.”

“How many comfortable chairs are there in your living room? At least two, I hope.
No man can fall in love unless he has a chance to relax and he can’t if either of you sits bolt upright.”

Somewhere between the time women stopped being chastised for wearing pants and riding bicycles and the time they began hacking their way to true love, women were building the atomic bomb in secret, but mainstream society had cut the ribbon on the era of the arm-candy babe. From Esquire’s Handbook for Hosts: A Time-Honored Guide to the Perfect Party (public library), originally published in 1949 and brimming with the era’s most flagrantly preposterous gender stereotypes, comes a set of questionnaires designed to help the ladies and bachelors make themselves more attractive to each other. And though at first glance the lists might appear to reveal the era’s appalling standards of good womanhood, encrusted with all kinds of superficial qualities and completely vacant of intellectual merit, they in fact reveal far more about the Esquire man and his own sensibilities in what he desires in a mate. (Also of note: The disparity in agreeableness of appearance between the male and female illustrations.)

 

  1. Do you bring the names of other men into the conversation to give yourself a sought-after appearance? Don’t. This may give a man a sense of inferiority — he is uncomfortable with you, and soon drifts away to someone else. It may make him wonder how much talking you do about him.
  2. Do you wear clothes that make you a little more up-to-the-minute than the other women in your set?Good — provided your taste is reliable and that the clothes suit you. Men may rant about the “crazy hat” but they swell with pride when their lady companions arouse admiring stares.
  3. If you are asked to get another girl for a foursome, do you pick one obviously less attractive than you are?You are unwise to do so. Get the most glamorous girl you know, and both men will be pleased.
  4. Do you make a point of building up other women, even those you dislike, in discussing them with a man?This is sound practice. But don’t put it on so thick that it sounds like a line.
  5. Do men marvel at your capacity for holding liquor?A great mistake: it gives you a fast reputation and runs into money — the man’s money — besides.


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