Romance Advice - How to Get Your Man
I am happy to announce that my book How to Go Steady is finally available!
Many of you on my mailing list and those who backed the Kickstarter campaign have already picked it up (thank you!!!), but if not, I'd love for you to read it! Currently, you can buy How to Go Steady as an Ebook for Kindle (which you don't actually need a Kindle for... you can read on your computer, tablet, or even phone with the Kindle app.) For those who don't read digital books, I hope to put out a paperback version in the coming months. If you read it, please feel free to share your thoughts either here at the blog or better yet, in an Amazon review! Thank you again to all of you who supported me in one way or another while I was researching, writing, Kickstarting, and now, spreading the word on How to Go Steady! Go out and scoop it up if you haven't already!
One of my favorite things about researching for How to Go Steady was reading other advice books from the 1960s and '70s. What I learned from exploring those other texts was that romance comics as a whole were leaps and bounds ahead of other sources of advice when it came to being easy going and suggesting readers be true to oneself. Interestingly enough, this (not so good) advice from other sources crept into the romance comics as you'll see in Girls' Romances #139 (March 1969). Even the romance comic characters weren't buying the advice!
Eloise has been unlucky in love from the time she was fourteen years old when Jimmy broke things off with her for no apparent reason. It was then and there that Eloise lost her confidence.
Eloise's lack of self-esteem around boys results in awkwardness and stilted conversation. Worse yet, her unease around dates doesn't yield a lot of second dates.
Fast forward five years and nineteen-year-old Eloise is still having trouble keeping her cool around boys. She clams up when they ask her questions and she doesn't come off like the person she knows she is. Eloise is grateful that she so far hasn't been in love with any of the guys she lost, but she fears that her pattern bodes ill for the future. Susan (Eloise's well-meaning friend) presents her with a book titled "How to Get Your Man." Eloise doesn't take Susan's gift too well and winds up chucking it in the trash.
Later that day, Eloise sees that a new family is moving in next door to her family. Moving a piece of furniture is a young, very blond, and very cute young man. Stopped in her tracks, Eloise suddenly feels those "love at first sight" butterflies. Not wanting to lose the mysterious new neighbor should she get the opportunity to date him, Eloise desperately plucks the book out of the garbage.
Eloise reads the book with an open mind and decides to follow its advice to a T. And as you probably guessed... it's not very good advice! Nevertheless, Eloise feels emboldened by her newly acquired knowledge and decides to test it out on her latest crush - the cute blond next door.
The two ride downtown together and eventually get lunch. As Eloise hangs on her date's every word, she puts what she learned in the book into practice. Her date is impressed that they have so much in common.
Despite their promising beginning, Eloise doesn't see or hear from the young man for almost a week. Just as she begins to fear that she's lost him like so many others from her past (despite being equipped with the advice from "How to Get Your Man") she sees him drive past. The young man stares at her for a while and then walks up to Eloise's porch and declares that she is the loveliest girl he's ever seen in his life. Bewildered, Eloise asks him that if he feels that way, why didn't he call her? The young man declares that he just moved next door. Huh?!
The two sit down on her porch and the yellow-haired hunk goes on to tell Eloise that he feels like he's fallen in love with her at first sight. Feeling like she's just purchased a one-way ticket to crazy town, Eloise starts to voice her confusion. Before she can wrap her head around what's going on, she realizes she has actually taken a trip to twinsville! The whole encounter makes her realize it was her all along that had the power to make a guy fall in love with her and not some bad advice in a silly book. Eloise retires the book to where it belongs!
This story does a good job of showing how advice books of the time preyed on fear and insecurities to sell their products. What do you think? Did the romance comics use the same fear-mongering present in other books?
To find out more info on what romance comics and other books of the time were telling young daters, read How to Go Steady!