Back in the 1950s, everyone watched I Love Lucy; young men slicked back their hair and young women wore poodle skirts. Americans believed in and trusted their politicians, too.
Not everything from the ’50s has gone out of style, though. Take some of the common relationship advice. If you ignore the outdated gender stereotypes about men bringing home the bacon and women frying it up in the pan just the way their men like it, a lot of the ’50s relationship advice still applies.
Or so I learned as I read through How to Help Your Husband Get Ahead, written in 1953 by Dorothy Carnegie who, at the time, was better known as “Mrs. Dale Carnegie.”
Tangent #1: I don’t know what I would do if a publisher listed my byline as Mrs. Mark Bowman.
Tangent #2: Just in case you were wondering, Dorothy Carnegie’s more famous husband Dale penned the international bestseller How to Win Friends and Influence People. He died in 1955, two years after her book was published. It seems Dorothy might not have followed her own advice in the chapter titled “His Life Is in Your Hands.”
Not a tangent: Now, there are plenty of reasons to roll your eyes at Dorothy Carnegie’s advice. Dale was her second of three husbands, after all. She met Dale through work; she was his secretary, the very kind of secretary she tells housewives not to envy.
And, yes, a lot of her advice is just plain outdated for modern times. For instance, she suggests a wife put on a new dress if her husband doesn’t like the one she’s wearing. Who wears dresses anymore? If I were updating that book, I’d edit it to read “change to a different pair of yoga pants if your husband doesn’t like the color you are wearing.” Carnegie also suggests we all work for our husbands — for free — to help them get ahead. Yeah, I’ll get right on that, right after I finish my own 8-hour work day.
But much of it actually still holds true. See for yourself.
Read more of Alisa’s writing at ProjectHappilyEverAfter.com.
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