Historical Context: Love according to True Story, 1955 (Part II: Engaged Love)

Appropriately enough, the June 1955 issue of True Story features a woman wearing what appears to be a wedding veil. Inside, the issue gives advice to engaged couples. (Scanned for TMP from my personal collection)

(This post is the second in a two-part series featuring excerpts from two 1955 magazines from my personal collection. The first installment featured an article titled “Guide to Married Love.”)

In the last installment of Tales from the Crypt… of Lindsey’s Magazine Collection*, TMP shared True Story magazine’s views on keepin’ your man happy in a legally wedded relationship.

But advice ain’t only for the married folks. True Story also took it upon themselves, only a few issues later, to dole out advice to engaged couples.

“Love Before Marriage: Rules for Engaged Couples” is every bit as telling of its time as you’d expect it to be, based on the title. It outlines the differences between “going steady” and being engaged, while also warning against the evils of premarital sex.

“You have the boy, and the ring, and a wonderful world of dreams. But you are also tormented by the problems, temptations, and doubts only sweethearts know. True Story tells you how, during your engagement, you can insure your future happiness.”

(Way to toot your own horn, True Story.)

Such sound advice as this was given to magazine-reading teens across the nation:

  • Being in love means being impatient.
  • Your engagement should be at least six months long.
  • Your engagement is like a car brake. It lets you “slow down” and analyze the situation before jumping into marriage.
  • CAUTIONARY TALE: Barbara and Fred disagreed on everything, and their marriage was horrible! Beware of disagreements! (This article later states, like the married love article, that compromise is key.)
  • Things to consider:
    • Whether or not you like your fiance’s family
    • Money
    • Friends, and how much time you should spend with them after marrying
    • Religion
  • CAUTIONARY TALE: Carol and Hal married too soon (after committing the big no-no of getting frisky before the wedding), and their marriage was horrible! Don’t just rush into marriage just because you, as Olivia Newton-John would say, got “phy-si-cal, phy-si-cal.”
  • CAUTIONARY TALE: Helen and Bob achieved their ideal marriage, but only after “fac[ing] the sex problem.”
  • Double date for safety! With two friends around, you’re apparently less likely to give into peer pressure and temptation. It’s completely sound logic.
  • Your engagement will “grow the roots” for your marriage.

These cautionary tales – of Barbara and Fred, Carol and Hal, Helen and Bob – sound like they could be material for some pretty dramatic big-screen fare. I’ve never seen a film utilizing one of these exact plots, but engagements and problematic marriages were all over the movies in 1955. Ida Lupino is two steps away from walking out on on-screen husband Jack Palance in The Big Knife. A man on death row marries a prostitute after spending the night with her in Hold Back Tomorrow – a criminal twist on Carol and Hal’s tale. And of course, Richard Davalos and Julie Harris portrayed an engaged couple with extracurricular affections in Elia Kazan’s East of Eden.

*Not the official title of this magazine-sharing series

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One thought on “Historical Context: Love according to True Story, 1955 (Part II: Engaged Love)

  1. Fun as always, Lindsey…keep ’em coming! But once again, I think you have a more exciting story to discuss, based on what I’m seeing on the cover: “I Begged For Mercy: The Misery Of A Sinning Wife”. I know, I know, maybe for the NEXT installment…

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