Monday, 10 March 2014

Social Life in the 30s Suburbs

In the olden days, when you couldn't talk to anyone to whom you had not been introduced, how did you meet a partner? If you were lucky enough to live in the suburbs, you joined a club.

According to the Woman's Own Book of the Home, 1932:

"It is understood that fellow-members of a club are on speaking terms without an introduction, though introductions pave the way more swiftly to friendly intercourse. Thus a new member would be correct in exchanging a smile or word of greeting or a chance remark with any member in the club, though not personally known to her, but without an introduction she should not presume upon the fact that they are fellow-members.

One cannot, however, lay down any hard an fast rule concerning this matter, as custom varies in different clubs, so it is for the new member to discover for herself what is usual in her own club, but whether she has been introduced or not she should refrain from going up to any members who are conversing together and joining without waiting for any invitation to do so; in fact, a newcomer should not upon any occasion be too forward in making friendly overtures, that being the recognized prerogative of older members.

Visitors: Each club member is responsible for the conduct and moral character of any visitors she invites to the club, a point to be considered carefully when giving invitations...

All club accounts, such as dining, card-room, lecture, dance and other entertainment, or games fees or scores should be settled promptly."

That gives you some idea of what went on in these clubs. I expect you had to be put up for membership by one or two other members. The advice continues: don't borrow money from other members, ask them for free advice, or expect them to help you into a job. In mixed clubs "men and women meet on equal terms of good comradeship" and should not be "indiscreet". Furthermore, "ladies should rigidly obey any rules restricting their use of smoking, card or billiard-rooms, never invading any which may be intended for masculine members only".

More on how to get on and get off in the 30s.

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