How to Get--and Keep--a Husband
Sept. 4-6, 1957
If it's true that a woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle, then author Kate Constance wants every salmon to have a Schwinn. She's written a book on the subject, "How to Get and Keep a Husband," which is being serialized in the Mirror.
In the last three parts of her series, Kate Constance tells the aspiring fish how to get ready for the big date, what to do when you're out with an eligible bicycle and getting him to pop the question!
If you want to land a bicycle, dear fish, you must get into training. You can take 10 years off your age if you get plenty of sleep and rest, exercise and eat properly:
"Usually a woman's diet shows in her face. Unless you are planning your meals under a doctor's direction, you can be sure of a beauty diet if you eat plenty of fruit, vegetables (all colors), fish, fowl, beef, butter, eggs, whole grain breads and cereals and drink at least 1 1/2 pints of milk daily," Constance says.
Next, make a list of your best characteristics and worst flaws. Be brutal, dear fish. Now accentuate your positives and remember that your wardrobe can make all the difference because it combines smartness and illusion!
First of all, dress appropriately and for goodness' sake dress your age. "Nothing is so pitiful as the mature woman who seeks to turn back the calendar by taking the role of the schoolgirl!" Constance says.
"Suppose you are tall, slender, red-haired and past 40, possessing a pensive smile and a quiet manner. Vivid blues, full skirts and dramatically squared-out necklines should be good features for you."
On the other hand:
"If you have lovely gray hair and your figure is on the stoutish side, with average height, you can be exquisite in all black touched with white (not lace!!) to emphasize your hair."
Above all, Constance says, be neat and clean, don't wear too much makeup, choose the right perfume and wear tasteful jewelry. And do your hair!
Now that you're ready for your big date, here's some things to remember, Constance says:
A man is a hunter and wants to do his own seeking for a mate. He prefers not to be pursued.
He has a deep-seated ego for reproduction, which is his vulnerableness to marriage.
His natural sexual urge may trip him into untoward advances. You must know how to deal with his "proposition."
He likes to enjoy the benefits of marriage but is not eager for its responsibilities.
He does not crave marriage when his sexual appetite is satisfied.
He envisions his perfect woman as half mate, half mother, full of love and virtue.
He despises the woman who steps down from her higher standards, even for him.
Don't make the mistake of calling the bicycle, dear fish. Let him call you. Don't phone him unless it's necessary and above all, do NOT call him at work unless it is an emergency. When you're on the phone with your bike, don't say too much. Use your conversations to "stimulate curiosity and an aura of excitement," Constance says.
In dressing for your date, it's all right to show your shoulders and arms, but watch the neckline, dear fish! "Give him a chance to look at you and take in your total charm."
When he picks you up, invite him in for a few moments to see the fish tank. "This closeup view of your home environment will give him a better understanding of the kind of woman you are," Constance says.
Don't let anyone else answer the door. And for heaven's sake, don't let your family interrogate him while you're still getting ready as they are likely to ask all sorts of prying questions.
Keep calm, dear fish. "Maintain an air of composure, even if you are excited," Constance says. "If you are inclined to have romantic jitters, try holding a small, rough object such as a tiny comb clutched in the palm of your hand so tightly that it hurts."
When you're at dinner, don't order the most expensive thing on the menu--nor the cheapest. And do NOT flirt with other bikes!
Go for a walk with the bicycle and take his arm, but don't talk too much. Do NOT dawdle in front of store displays as you may "bore him with a touch of commercialism."
Don't be possessive around his mother and most important, don't do anything to make the bicycle think that you are "hopelessly tied at home," Constance says.
Now let's suppose, dear fish, that you have been dating for several months, keeping in mind your neckline, long walks and the firm rule that the route to the altar does NOT go through the bedroom (remember, the sexually satisfied bicycle has no interest in marriage!) But for some reason, your eligible bicycle is noncommittal.
First, indulge in quiet moments where the conversation grinds to an uncomfortable halt. When the bicycle asks what's wrong, be evasive and hesitant, maybe for an evening, a week or even longer.
Finally, tell your eligible bicycle that you are trying to make a decision--but do NOT tell him what it's about. Be wistfully distracted but still cheerful. Got that?
Usually, this will make a bicycle ask what's wrong. If he doesn't, take the next step and break a few dates. Tell him you're busy but mention ever so gently that you are afraid your friendship doesn't mean anything to him. Don't make a scene.
If he brings up his usual list of reasons for not getting married, listen in silence. "The less you say the more foolish he will seem to himself, for silence has a way of magnifying the important issues and minimizing the small ones," Constance says. Don't seem peeved or hurt!
If he still hasn't proposed, start making other plans, even if it's with your fishfriends. Give a few parties and don't invite him.
Unless he is an incredibly dim and obtuse bicycle, "when he discovers that you are leaving him out of your life, most likely he will ask questions," Constance says.
Here's where you've got him, dear fish. Tell him you're disappointed that he hasn't proposed. You don't want to see other bicycles, but you don't think he is too poor, too busy, too old, too young or too anything--whatever his feeble excuse is--to get married.
"Tell him that you like him above all men and that he has your first interest. You would prefer him above all others," Constance says. "But you want to be fair to him and to yourself, and also practical. Tell him that you want to know where the friendship is leading."
If he doesn't pop the question immediately--or very soon--dump him at any old bike shop, because this is the fish version of a marriage proposal.
"He is not for you," Constance says. "You should drop the whole so-called romance and work toward new opportunities!"
[Note: I have been unable to find any biographical information about Kate Constance. "How to Get and Keep a Husband" was published in 1957 by Dorrance and Co., a vanity press. The book has never been reissued, but is sometimes available from antiquarian book dealers and on Ebay. HTGAKAH apparently had the subtitle "A Christian Business Woman's Answer to One of the Most Perplexing Problems of Our Time," that the Mirror did not use.]
[And in case there is any doubt, let me add: As with the horoscopes, this is for entertainment purposes only.--lrh]