"/> Tried and True Dating Etiquette, circa 1844-1960 — The Airship
By Kate Gavino
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How does one refuse a date politely? Are the days of the "stag line" really behind us? When is it appropriate to dip snuff? With February 14th finally here, allow us to pass along time-tested answers to these and other romantic quandaries, courtesy of some vintage etiquette guides we dug up at the New York Public Library's archive.

McCall's Book of Everyday Etiquette by Margaret Bevans (1960)

In short, lie. No one wants to hear, "I don't date vegans," or "I'd rather stick my head in the oven." A lackluster but simple "Sorry, I'm busy" will do the trick.


Etiquette by Emily Post (1945)

"Third wheel" is bad enough, but "barnacle"? Harsh, Ms. Post, harsh.


Etiquette: A Guide to the Usages of Society by Count Alfred D'Orsay (1844)

The only sin greater than getting too fresh with a woman is looking "too much at home." You might as well undo the top button of your pants and let out a Barney Gumble-grade belch. (Fun fact! Count Alfred D'Orsay, etiquette master and "elégant," was also the inspiration for Eustace Tilley.)


McCall's Book of Everyday Etiquette by Margaret Bevans (1960)

Something tells me giving a "lacy nightgown" on the first date might be a harbinger of disaster. I'd stick with a shrine made out of her hair.


Etiquette by Emily Post (1945)

This is why Facebook poking, OkCupid winking, and MySpace dry humping was invented. Women were tired of "catlike" stalking and needed something a little less subtle.


Etiquette & Protocol by I. Monte Radlovic (1957)

Don Draper obviously failed his etiquette classes. And I'm assuming everyone's Christian nickname is Beelzebub. 


McCall's Book of Everyday Etiquette by Margaret Bevans (1960)

This is the 1960 equivalent to gettin' sassy. Ms. Bevans claims you'd be "pretty old-fashioned" if you always followed these rules, which makes her the Sid Vicious of the etiquette crowd.


Etiquette by Emily Post (1945)

When Emily Post wrote this, things were already getting out of hand, manners-wise. No stag lines? Pinning? It's a good thing she wasn't around to witness the rise of matching tattoos.


Etiquette: A Guide to the Usages of Society by Count Alfred D'Orsay (1844)

You heard the man. Snuff is a dirty habit for "stupid people." Spittoons, on the other hand... 


McCall's Book of Everyday Etiquette by Margaret Bevans (1960)

We all have to draw the line somewhere. But if I have to light my own cigarette, it's over.


Etiquette by Emily Post (1945)

This is especially true in the age of sexting and Snapchat. And in this case, the "cynical, unromantic hands" happen to be the cover of the New York Post.


Manual of Modern Manners by Judith Listowel (1959)

 Finally, ladies, remember: emotions are for the weak.