Our favorite retro blog Retronaut dug up this amazing tidbit of 1920s D.C. culture. It’s a list of rules from “The Anti-Flirt Club,” an organization designed protect women from the scabs of city living: oglers and jerks in trucks.
At least that was their stated purpose. The club encouraged women to follow this punchy little set of rules:
-Don’t flirt: those who flirt in haste oft repent in leisure.
-Don’t accept rides from flirting motorists—they don’t invite you in to save you a walk.
-Don’t use your eyes for ogling—they were made for worthier purposes.
-Don’t go out with men you don’t know—they may be married, and you may be in for a hair-pulling match.
-Don’t wink—a flutter of one eye may cause a tear in the other.
-Don’t smile at flirtatious strangers—save them for people you know.
-Don’t annex all the men you can get—by flirting with many, you may lose out on the one.
-Don’t fall for the slick, dandified cake eater—the unpolished gold of a real man is worth more than the gloss of a lounge lizard.
-Don’t let elderly men with an eye to a flirtation pat you on the shoulder and take a fatherly interest in you. Those are usually the kind who want to forget they are fathers.
-Don’t ignore the man you are sure of while you flirt with another. When you return to the first one you may find him gone.”
How dull, right? Protect yourselves from oglers by never talking or winking or flirting with older fellows? What a life!
By the way, here’s a photo of the club’s president, Alice Reighly:
Though Reighly’s intentions were surely noble, especially at a time when the women’s movement was just budding, we’re glad we live in a country now where “unwelcome attention from men in automobiles” isn’t called flirting anymore—and where no one’s bossing us around, telling us not to smile.
Big ups to progress.