I was flipping through Vogue’s Book of Etiquette copyright 1948. This excerpt is from the section “A Girl On Her Own” subsection “Men” (page 39 in this edition) This mentions the strictest behavior rules and here they are, in their retro glory with my thoughts in parentheses.
- Never dine alone with a married man, unless his wife is your great friend. (Good advice, but be wary)
- Never accept an invitation through a man to the house of someone else. (Never accept an invitation from anyone except the house’s owner, in my opinion)
- If you have met a man and his wife together, and the man asks you to a party at his house, do not accept. His wife should invite you. If she is away, of course there is no discourtesy implied, and if he invites you to a party, you may accept. (I disagree with this, by the way. She would say no under any circumstances)
- Never drink anything alcoholic, except sherry, or a glass of wine with dinner. (I would say a margarita is also fine. Just don’t get drunk.)
- Never encourage stories that are risque. (I agree to a point. A little double entrendre is ok.)
- Never allow a man to come into your apartment if you are alone in it, or to stay on when other guests have left. (In our modern times, this is somewhat passé , but there is nothing wrong with not asking for trouble with a man you have not known for very long.)
- Never go alone with a man to his apartment, or stay on his apartment when other guests have gone. (Again, passé, but I stand my assertion that you shouldn’t risk it with a man you do not know well.)
- Never go alone with a man to his hotel room, even if he has a sitting room. (Agreed.)
- Never accept a valuable present from a beau or possible beau. (I agree that a bad impression can be made to others.)
What is very clear from the advice in this section is that, at least in 1948, a woman had to be vigilant and guard her reputation. Times have changed, yes, and the rules are more relaxed, but there is certainly nothing wrong with being old-fashioned and caring about these impressions. I would even dare say that some of these sound guidelines should come back into fashion.
Best Vintage Wishes,
The Lady Hooper-Brackett