In 1943, freshmen men didn’t have much to fear when it came to courting the opposite sex – that is, if they still had their trusty copy of Michiganetiquette safely tucked into their back pocket. The little booklet, published by and for male University students, comparable to Emily Post’s Etiquette, was designed to direct men on a smooth path to utter romance and to teach them fine manners with which to woo their co-eds.
An article published in the February issue of Michigan Today described the ins and outs of the booklet.
During the time of the handbook’s publication, the Union’s Coke Bar, open from 4 to 5:45 p.m., was the top destination for a first date. A “Coke Date” usually entailed getting to know one another over a glass of soda. Ladies drank free of charge and men dropped a dime for their bubbly drink.
Upon the date’s end, men escorted women through the alternate entrance on the side of the Union, as women weren’t officially allowed to roam the building unaccompanied until 1968.
“Remember to escort your girl through the side door, for there is an old Michigan tradition that the front door of the Union is for men only,’ the pamphlet read. “It may be that the gallantry of the Michigan man will not permit him to allow his fair lady to enter an uncanopied doorway.”
Other passages coached a strapping young “fellow” on the proper way to cut in between another couple during a mixer. And if a lad wished to know a girl’s phone number and address, the booklet advised forthright questioning – “there will be no frowning if he simply asks her.”
The Michiganetiquette included advice of sorts, and taught men to mind the strict visitation rules to the women’s dorms. There are even references made to the “art of walking with a girl.”
“You must not walk too fast, and you must not be oblivious to the things going on around you while keeping up a stimulating conversation with her,” the book read.
Women no longer needed the latest issue of Cosmo since they could also flip through guide and learn a thing or two about the male perspective on topics like smoking and the “giving of favors.”
Smoking, according to the male authors, would not increase a woman’s attractiveness and “may actually make [her] look cheap.”
A goodnight kiss, alluded to as a “favor” in the text, isn’t a guarantee.
“If a boy asks you when you are going to grow up and act like a college girl because you won’t kiss him good night, ignore him.”