Cover of True Story, January 1954 (via the Really Big Vintage Junk Drawer)
Cover of True Story, January 1954 (via the Really Big Vintage Junk Drawer)

This post is a part of TMP’s Historical Context series, in which I share excerpts from my collection of vintage magazines and books.

From True Story’s “Family Feature” section comes the January 1954 etiquette column, “How to Behave in a Restaurant.” Here are the mag’s tips to keep in mind next time you decide to go on a time-traveling 1950s restaurant date!

  • Ladies, your date should walk behind you, and you behind the hostess/host while being led to your table.
  • Your escort should give both of your orders to the waiter. “When you  are dining with a man you never address the waiter yourself.” (Oh, how times have changed!)
  • You can, however, speak up if your date orders a dish you don’t like. Tell your date what you would rather have, and he will tell the waiter.
  • Don’t order the most expensive menu item unless your date suggests it.
  • If you’re unfamiliar with any dishes on the menu, ask your date to ask the waiter about them. (Sorry, you still can’t speak to the waiter!)

True Story also offers up some advice for dining with a friend:

  • If you’re splitting the bill, either friend may do the ordering… but only one of you may speak to the waiter.
  • If you aren’t splitting the bill, she who is paying the bill shall do all of the ordering.
  • Only order individually if you are in a particularly large group, to avoid confusion when serving the food or dividing the check. Otherwise, only one person should speak to the waiter.
Jaye P. Morgan dines with a friend in 1954. I hope she let her friend order those dills and kraut! (Image via Shorpy)
Jaye P. Morgan dines with a friend in 1954. I hope she let her date order those dills and kraut! (Image via Shorpy)