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How to Get--and Keep--a Husband

September 3, 2007 |  7:12 am

1957_0903_constance

Aug, 31-Sept. 3, 1957
Los Angeles

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 Parts 6 and 7, Constance tells the fish where to meet bicycles and how to get dates!

How to meet a bicycle? Well, dear fish, the first challenge is to meet the right one, for there are many bad bicycles out there

The good news is that you needn't move to another city just to find a fresh crop of bikes. In fact, many fish make the mistake of moving around the country prospecting for the lode of marriage prospects. Constance says: Stop it! And here's why:

"Many women who have gone to strange cities have confided in me that their only means of meeting men is by pickups. These easy-come, easy-go encounters usually result in futile, unhappy associations.

1957_0903_girdle "The practice of the pickup has become increasingly prevalent in this country, even tried by 'nice' girls who are desperate for companionship. Almost any man who smiles at them across a bar or opens his car door at the corner is acceptable. The prestige of women generally has been lowered in the eyes of men by this practice.

"Frankly confused by the behavior of the opposite sex, men are often at a loss about what women want and expect in standards of conduct, for while they expect the treatment due a lady they nevertheless behave like immoral women."

(At right, a courtship ritual of the 1950s: wearing a girdle and playing the castanets).

So how does the fish meet a nice bicycle? You might try selling swank shirts in your spare time. We know one fish who did that and met a marvelous bike. Another fish sold pipes in her spare time and in no time was married to a wealthy tobacco grower. Still another used her vacation time volunteering in politics and is now married to the mayor! Two sisters volunteered with the local opera company. One of the fish bagged an operatic tenor, the other went on tour and netted an European nobleman!

You might also take up a trade that puts you in contact with lots of nice, eligible bikes, Constance says. You could be a manicurist, drugstore clerk or elevator operator. There's also secretarial work, bookkeeping and clerking.

Don't forget, dear fish, that it's the responsibility of married fish to help their single sisters. It's quite likely that you may become friends with a nice couple who will introduce you to one of their single bike friends.

One word of warning, dear fish: Do NOT flirt with your girlfriends' husbands or bad things will happen.

"No matter how trivial or how much in jest, abstain from familiarities of word or action with your friend's husband. There should be nothing to suggest even the slightest interest in the husband beyond what you might evince toward a business acquaintance in your office.

"I have seen single women after taking a couple of drinks make fools of themselves with silly, although perhaps meaningless, passes at the husbands of their friends. As a result, they were ostracized from those circles."

Oh my!

Now that you have met an eligible bicycle, how do you get him to ask you out? Certainly not with a pickup!

The secret, dear fish, is that bicycles crave the spotlight. If you put a bike at center stage he's already where you want him! Just don't let him know he's being hunted.

Here's a case study:

Over six months, a fish rode the elevator with an attractive bicycle. One rainy morning, when the two of them had the elevator to themselves, she noticed he was wearing a bright red tie and said: "Every man could brighten up these rainy days if he wore a good-looking tie like that. I'll bet your wife suggested that one."

This was a two-step process in which the shrewd fish could be cheerful and find out if the bicycle was married. 

 "Oh, I've got a jillion," said the unsuspecting bicycle. "A jillion ties and no wife. I have ties from many parts of the world. Sort of a hobby."

"Where did that one come from?" asked the fish. "Let me guess."

"Think about it," he suggested. "I'll see if you guess right when I come out for coffee at 10:30."

So at 10:30 he came by. They went to coffee and she made several guesses (wrong every time, can you believe it?).

OK, so they didn't get married but they had some nice dates and she eventually married his brother, who presumably didn't have a neckwear fetish.

Here are some of Constance's do's and don'ts for dating:

1. Use "sweet feminine mystery." Constance invokes the "Mona Lisa": "I dare you to come hither--but don't touch!"

2. Use moderation. Expensive looks and lavish talk frighten a bicycle.

3. Be nice, be reserved, be classy. Don't be a smart-mouthed fish and don't be too talkative or he'll think you're dumb or foolish.

4. Be gracious. Don't be a snob or he'll think you're judging him, too.

5. Look good. Femininity is more than classic features and expensive clothes, Constance says. "She who is womanly, dainty and clean and elegantly fragrant sums up the basic feminine appeal."

Hints for getting beyond the first date:

1957_0903_mocambo A bicycle asks a fish for a second date if she makes him feel comfortable and relaxed, she's understanding and sympathetic, she's considerate and she looks good.

And what about the bedroom?

Constance has some very 1957 advice for the fish:

"Any realistic view of the problem recognizes the element of sex. This stimulates and elevates the relationship if retained in proper proportion. But it cheapens and more often destroys the meaningful part of a friendship if allowed to get out of control.

" 'Sexual satisfaction' is omitted from this list because a man of good standards does not include free love in his dating requisites."

And what if a bicycle expects sex after several dates? Drop him and don't lose a bit of sleep over it, Constance says! Why? Because, dear fish, that's your marriage bait, she says.

"She should lure him with a certain amount of physical attractiveness but withhold all sexual compliance as the logical reward of marriage."

[Note: In case there is any doubt, let me add: As with the horoscopes, this is for entertainment purposes only.--lrh]

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