By Pickup Culture
During the 1940s many marriageable men endured the cruel world of war, if they survived. Rollo’s excellent account of the War Brides phenomenon reminds us that feminine solipsism in such times can be another uncomfortable burden to bear when they return home, when the masculine hardware of war has been put away. After such devastation in the 1940s Western societies were generally intent on rebuilding – not just actual buildings, but societies at large. Necessity often ensured a more urgent focus on the family.
Given the uncertainty of the times, many dating advice books sought to help young suitors find partners in very scientific ways. Books like How to Choose a Mate Scientifically (1943) gave women the latest social science surveys to help them find the right mates, to hasten their choosing of a man at a time when there were fewer of them around.
This was a time when a more red pill approach to relationships served women and society well, leading to the prosperity of the 1950s and 1960s. During this period there were two very good pickup books, both contain a mix of somewhat blue pill advice on social etiquette with the right red pill tips about seduction, or how to make the right moves during tea room dates.
How to Get Along with Girls (1944) – The Gentleman’s Inner Game
A good deal of the advice in Pietro Ramirez’s book (later reprinted by Ramirez Jr.) focuses on etiquette, but draws attention to the stuffiness of these conventions to show what was really important in attracting women. The convention of hat-tipping was very elaborate way of signalling your interest in a woman, but by the 1940s it was a custom that was more cumbersome than stylish. In the past, this typically involved the man being able to:
(1) transfer his cane from right hand to left; (2) get his cigarette out of his mouth and into his left hand; (3) remove his hat and put it in his left hand; (4) use his left hand to take off his right hand glove – all this so as to be able to offer the lady his hand!
Encouraging his reader to leave this stifling world of conventions behind, Ramirez focuses more on the emotional content of the interactions with women. Some of the advice starts with mundane tips for dates, such as not cutting your steak into smaller pieces during dinner or talking with your mouthful; other instructions are much more in line with today’s self-improvement ethos in certain parts of the seduction community. If you have physical problems, see a doctor; if you’re overweight, do some exercise; feeling lonely and socially awkward, join a canasta club. Well, perhaps the last one is not something you’ll hear from Ross Jeffries.
The section on ‘How to Win Her Love’ is decidedly more red pill, particularly in relation to the issue of attraction in the relationship. Women’s optimized Alpha-Beta mating strategy was somewhat constrained in the 1940s (compared to now), but the book still points out an inconvenient fact about female biology. Some women will ‘seek more difficult game. Only when they have brought low some proud, inaccessible male, do they appreciate his charms’.
In classic game advice, the man of the 1940s should never let himself become jealous or scorned by such women. The solution: ignore her, withdraw your beta-provisioning interest. By controlling your emotions in this way, more rational strategies such as dread game can be pursued. Be careful not to overdo things, though; creating the impression of abundance with other women is a matter of habit to be calibrated through practice. For the woman who likes such drama, the results are clear:
Now that you are no longer ‘easy’, you become desirable in her eyes. What was once taken for granted acquires new charm … Let her work to get you. That is how she wants it.
During a time when women’s roles in society were changing, many taking on jobs in munitions factories then later office work in the new post-war economy, Ramirez encourages men to be realistic about relationships. ‘There is no doubt that she has a mind and is capable of using it like a man … Do you find these changes make her less desirable as a girl?’ If you do, the message is clear: learn game, and become a better man.
Guide Book for the Young Man about Town (1948) – Taking Life in His Stride
Popularity, style and confidence are the main topics covered in The Guide Book but, unlike How to Get Along with Girls, the book includes some useful techniques for escalating with women. There is no discussion of sex though, and the issue of physical intimacy is covered more as a matter of logistics and timing – going to the best tea shops in the afternoon and driving the right distances to build rapport, for instance. The emphasis is on style and charisma, reflecting the class-conscious expectations of the day.
Never explicit in defining what women want, it’s clear that the attractive elements of a masculine identity centres on confidence. Wealthy or not, a man needs to cultivate a sense of abundance – not just towards women, but to life itself:
Living well, enjoying fully each moment in life, and taking the bad with the good, in stride, is a rich experience no one should miss. Money and position and geography have nothing to do with it. It’s all simply a matter of making the most of what you have and doing your best to increase that bounty.
The Guidebook is the first manual for helping men to progress sexually during dates with women, starting with the nuts and bolts and explaining how these actions are underpinned by basic principles of ‘inner game’. Assuming the man has a strong frame in the relationship, The Guidebook extols the virtues of being honourable and unaffected by negative emotions; being confident, but ‘never domineering’.
The Guidebook includes a section on seduction that mirrors the Mystery Method’s three phase model (the approach, building rapport and the closure). The first phase begins with the man approaching – in Jonathan’s book he suggests calling or asking a girl out on the spot. The next step is about building rapport – this typically can take place by arranging a tea room date before watching a movie, giving her time to open up, feel comfortable and talk with you about whatever interests her.
Finally the drive home, particularly on a clear, moon-light evening, provides the best pretext for a romantic kiss to close the encounter. In true pick up form, Jonathan suggests that the man never asks the girl for a kiss: ‘For the most part, romance is up to the girl. You follow her wishes. The right girl kissed at the wrong moment often means the right girl lost.’ Just like Mystery Method’s seduction model, the man plans the evening in such a way that the woman can submit to the man romantically – when, and if, she is interested.
The Guide Book for the Young Man About Town is a book that emphasises style as a marker of class, rather than class as an attribute of social status per se. It’s refreshing to read such a book, with its primary insistence on cultivating feelings of gratitude for life itself – the well-spring of masculine attractiveness.
The Art of Dating – 1960s Style
Some dating advice books in the 1960s and 1970s developed this theme of self-development – the subject of a future blog post. Teenagers were the main focus back then, with few focusing entirely on the art of pickup. Books like The Art of Dating (1969) and Ann Landers Talks to Teenagers about Sex (1963) explored topics more relevant to teenagers, both boys and girls. Dating a girl from the country or the city; the pros and cons of relationships with a college guy as opposed to a military man; dating older teenage boys; and having to pay for expensive dates; these are many of the many issues that young people in the 1960s wanted to know about.
It was only in the 1970s when the art of pickup became more popular, and the term itself used in classics like Eric Webber’s How to Pick Up Girls (1970) and Nicole Ariana’s How to Pick Up Men (1972). This is where part 2 in the history of pickup ends, and part 3 begins…