Tuesday, November 5, 2013

For Men Lonely

A few weeks ago I was presented with this collection of booklets introducing students of the opposite sex to women’s or men’s colleges where they might be spending their weekends.  These are publications I thought only existed in movies, but, alas, they are real.  I’m constantly pinning pictures of Mohos from the 1950s and 60s (see the ASC Pinterest for details), fanaticizing about wearing their pretty dresses and going to dances with men in dapper suits.  I look around campus seeing everyone wearing leggings as pants and wish for a different era.  Reading these booklets promptly snapped me out of that.  These are truly a reflection of their times.  I must admit that I got a bit sassy while writing this—there’s nothing to get a girl fired up like Mount Holyoke bashing.

For Men Lonely
A Complete Guide to Twelve Women’s Colleges
William B. Jones and Richard H. O’Riley

This booklet includes tailored guides for college men traveling to Mount Holyoke, among eleven other schools.  It was apparently written because the author and his friends spent a night in the Northampton jail, and decided visiting the girls should be a little easier than that.  The Mount Holyoke section includes a map of the campus, as well as advice on college rules and local businesses.  One would find that Mohos in the late 1940s were allowed to stay out until 11pm Monday-Thursday, midnight on Friday, and 1am on Saturday (scandal!).  Evidently it was difficult to acquire alcohol as “the Drys got control of the town.”  Fret not—provided are the addresses of three local liquor stores, two florists, and a hotel (for $1.50 a night).

A Girl’s Guide to the College Weekend
William B. Jones and Richard H. O’Riley

From the authors of For Men Lonely comes the much-needed guide for college girls planning to visit a men’s school for the weekend.  The introduction includes a review of common courtesy.  A girl is expected to pay for her own travel, as the escort “has plenty to finance in paying for your room, your food, dance tickets” etc. and she is cautioned to remain in the ‘party spirit.’  However, “No man likes a prude, but it’s far worse to have a girl who laps up everything in sight.”  Be careful, ladies—there are a lot of rules to follow.  Similar to the guide for men, each chapter includes information on a different school and their specific expectations.

Where the Girls Are
A Social Guide to Women’s Colleges in the East
Peter Sandman

Written over fifteen years after the previous booklets, Where the Girls Are claims to be a man’s ‘seeing-eye dog’ for women’s colleges.  Again, it includes information on travel, an event calendar, and—“if she’s any good” and you’re planning on staying the night—a section on rules and hours.  Flip to the Mount Holyoke section to find plenty of bashing.  A paraphrase couldn’t do it justice: 
A car is essential so that you can get to . . . Northampton and pretend that you’re out with a Smithie.  That’s the great hang-up for Holyoke girls: they all want to be Smithies.  The Holyoke inferiority complex is difficult to comprehend . . . the neurosis is there.

Naturally, I flipped to the Smith section to see what kind of horrid review was there.  Apparently Smithies in the 60s made nice dates, however they were really into getting married (oh, how things change).
The seniors, however, are easily recognized as belonging to one of two categories: the smug, overly happy ones who are going to be married shortly after graduation; and the worried, nervous ones who haven’t even been pinned.  Always keep in mind that a Smithie is looking at you not only as her date, but also as the man who may some day be footing the bills to send her daughter to Smith.

So much for “Smith to bed, Mount Holyoke to wed.”

Where the Boys Are
Compiled by the Editors of the SMITH COLLEGE SOPHIAN and the MOUNT HOLYOKE NEWS
J. A. Latham and T. G. Plate

This is actually a hilarious book.  The chapter on Harvard talks about LSD the entire time and presents an intricate system for giving your date a ‘number’ based on where he lives and which lit mag he writes for (if his number is lower than 15 he’s likely to be doing LSD).  Princeton men are obsessed with their looks and like to talk about sex.  Yalies are ambitious and suave—they want a wife.  Wesleyan men are sloppy like Amherst men (but less pompous) and Williams men (but less lumberjack).  Williams men have pet dogs, but are gentlemen—who didn’t get into Princeton.  What Colombia men lack in character, they make up for in New York City.  Johns Hopkins: where boys are attentive listeners.  

Who the Girls Are
Peter Brown
As well as information about each of the women’s colleges, this magazine includes 1,488 photos of members classes of 1972 that come with instructions, “Browse, if you like.  Ogle, if you will.  Drool, if you must.”  In an article titled ‘feminine dissent’ the female assistant editor of The Daily Princetonian writes an open letter to the men portraying her disgust of this book.  But right along side that is her letter to the girls claiming “as long as we girls hang on to our trusty old feminine wiles, no harm can really come of this—though those boys do know our names, faces, telephone number, home addresses and curfew hours.”  Progress in the form of baby steps?  The chapter on Mount Holyoke speaks hopefully of a progressive future for MHC that no one there in 1972 would be there to see.  I think we’ve conquered this one.

These booklets reside in the Mount Holyoke College Archives and Special Collections.  We’re located in the basement of Dwight; come visit us to see the items in person or discover something interesting for yourself!

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