Don’t you remember the good ol’ days? Back in ‘56, when frankfurters were a nickel and Disneyland was brand-new? No, of course you don’t, because you’re probably not in your 80’s and reading this. Though if you are, congrats for being the coolest octogenarian around.
I’m glad I didn’t grow up in those days. ‘Cause I would probably not have any success with women back then. I know this because TIME magazine posted an article about how 20-year-old women described their ideal husband in 1956. It was part of a special issue about the “state of the American woman” and, for some reason, TIME thought it relevant to bring up now, since clearly nothing else newsworthy is happening. Personally, I think it’s just a scheme by the one person in the world who still really loves Perry Como (he was the “ideal celebrity husband” in the original article — and no, I don’t know who that is either).
In any case, since I’m basically the opposite of what a woman from ‘56 wants, I wanted to know what today’s women had in mind when they thought of an ideal husband. In a totally scientific survey (I wore a lab coat and everything!), I went to a bar and asked the first 12 women I saw who didn’t recoil at my approach.
The number-one thing you’ll learn when you ask today’s woman to describe her ideal husband… is that women don’t really think about that kind of sh*t anymore. Not surprisingly, the observation from the original article that “A basic occupation of virtually every woman is choosing a man to marry” did not in the remotest bit hold up (though the notion of it actually, legitimately being true of every woman in 1956 is dubious at best). Almost unanimously, the women told me that while a husband/family is something that they’d like at some point down the road, they’re not things at the forefront of their mind. And several women informed me that it’s an insensitive question to ask nowadays, since it presumes a woman actually wants a husband at all (they may want a wife, or nothing, or a bunch of cats). Granted I’m speaking for women in New York City, and only a dozen at that, but they totally assured me they could speak for all women.
The other major difference is that, nowadays, women look at broader emotional characteristics that make a potential husband wholesome and well-rounded. Basically, they want a good dude. The summary of what women in 1956 wanted was “tall and blue-eyed, honest and involved in civic affairs, athletic and helpful around the house, well-read with a steady profession.” In contrast, the women I talked to would described someone who’s smart, funny, confident, and a good listener as an ideal mate. They don’t care if you play sports (though being active is important), but they do want someone who’s thoughtful. Hell, physical characteristics didn’t really come up. The closest they’d get is saying they want someone who’s presentable. So looking like a bum = bad, although apparently you can actually be a bum and still get laid these days. Suave hobo outliers aside, that’s a far cry from the ‘56 women saying that their ideal husband be tall, blue-eyed, and athletic.
So, if you’ve come to this article looking for a clear-cut roadmap on how to land yourself a wife… you’re out luck, man. Sorry to disappoint. All I can tell you is that you’re living in the wrong decade. And maybe focus less on landing a wife and more on the following: Be a good person. Don’t be a dick. Take care of yourself and be confident. Listen to the ladies once in a while. Muster up some charm and some funny. Basically, what’s true for living a good life is true for being desirable to someone who’d want to share theirs with you. But hey, if that doesn’t work, you can always try to be the 1956 ideal and see if any women are interested.
Just be sure to start your search at the retirement home.