This post is a part of TMP’s Historical Context series, where I share excerpts from my collection of vintage magazines.
Movie World’s July 1958 issue included a piece by teen country singer and actress Molly Bee, known for her roles in Summer Love, Going Steady and Tennessee Ernie’s The Ford Show. Titled “Molly Bee on the Dating Urge,” the piece lists Molly’s “Date Don’ts,” and how she deals with the fools who break her rules.
Romantic advice-giving of the midcentury will never cease to be a fascinating topic to me, so I’ve decided to share Molly Bee’s (or her ghostwriter’s) advice with you today!
- DON’T: ask a girl on a date two days or less in advance.
Bee says she likes to have a week to plan a date.
- DON’T: stay in the car and honk when picking up a girl.
- DO: open the car door for your date.
She calls her dating philosophy “old-fashioned,” which is why she hates the honking (“He can stay outside all night honking before I’ll dash out to meet him.”) and the unopened car doors.
- DON’T: be vague in describing the plans for the evening.
She hates being surprised on dates and prefers to now exactly where she’s going, so she can dress appropriately. (“Let’s go to a show” doesn’t tell her what type of show, and therefore doesn’t tell her what to wear to the show, for example.)
- DO: know your date well before dating them.
- DON’T: get “too amorous.”
Bee avoids dating older men because they’re prone to “wrestling.” (“Look, I’m 17 and that will get you 20,” she warns them.)
- DON’T: talk only about yourself, or only about cars.
Poor conversation is just as off-putting as “wrestling” to Molly Bee.
- DON’T: be too cocky, or too shy.
“I don’t want any dates trying to try to impress me with their importance, although I actually feel sorry for them. They are so lacking in confidence in themselves. As a rule, I don’t accept a second date from such boys but occasionally I’ll try again and will find, to my surprise, that they have talked about ‘I’ so much only because they are shy and don’t know what to talk about,” Bee writes.
- DON’T: use cheesy lines.
“Along with conversation, I can do without some of the usual lines, such as ‘I’m madly in love with you.’ This is on the second or third date. I feel like laughing because how can anybody be madly in love on the second or third date?” Wise words, Molly.
- DON’T: keep your date out too late.
According to Bee, this shows that you are inconsiderate to both your date and her mother.
Well, there you have it, folks. Relatively sound advice for the most part, if you remove the nitpicking about doors and clothing… at least, in comparison to some of the other Do/Don’t lists I’ve read. (Like this incredibly specific list of rules for speaking in restaurants.) If you can get a handle on all of those rules and are in possession of a time machine that will take you to the late 1950s, you just may have a chance with Ms. Molly Bee.