Handy Dating Tips for Teens From 1946

An archival film reveals what junior prom looked like in postwar America

Going on a date in 1946 was quite the stressful experience, according to this instructional film from the Prelinger Archives. The film follows Jerry, Frank, Margaret, and Helen as they traverse the treacherous social terrain of junior prom. The youngsters make mistakes along the way, but they learn all about proper manners in the process.

Though the stifling minutiae of postwar etiquette are comically outdated, a few of the suggestions are still applicable to modern human interactions. And if you close your eyes, you might even find the narrator's syntax strangely poetic. Watch the video for the full treatment (the actual prom starts around 10:00) or read on for the top ten most important lessons from Junior Prom.

1. Getting dates is not hard if one will act with a bit of courage and show himself to be sincere.
2. Fear of not being asked or fear of being refused can ruin our social lives if we let them.
3. Girls have their problems, just as fellows do.
4. A dignified occasion requires dignified clothes.
5. Good manners never interfere with fun.
6. Relax. Be natural. Talk.
7. It’s foolish to be jealous. It’s your own fun you’re spoiling.
8. People never like to blame themselves so they blame others.
9. Simplicity is always the safest policy.
10. Keep trying. Be sensible.

For more from the Prelinger Archives, visit their site.

Katherine Wells is a video and radio producer based in New York, and a former senior video producer at The Atlantic.

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