Pop Quiz: True Love, or About To End in Tears (or Worse)?

My friend Christina sent me this lovely link to choice excerpts from a 1962 high school-age textbook meant to prepare the young for marriage. It is impressive, if nothing else, for its ability to vacillate between making perfect logical sense, and making the young seem like improbably dim, emotional nutcases.

My favorite part is this quiz to test your ability to identify potentially problematic engagements. Hint: All of them are problematic.

My key questions here: "What the heck happened to Jim in the 'interior of Brazil'? Did he meet Colonel Kurtz?" and "Dear lord, why has someone not sent Eunice to a grief counselor?"

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  1. So. Completely. Awesome.

    The next time someone tells me how great the 50’s or 60’s were, I’m going to send them this link…

  2. I just about wet my pants reading the last sentence on the 5th screen, “Just a sheared beaver would satisfy little me.”

    :) I can think of many people it would satisfy.

  3. I disagree!

    In #4 it’s clear that the problem is Jack’s “doting” mother. She’s sabotaged 3 perfectly wonderful relationships for Jack and she’s about to do it again! Cut the cord Peter Pan!

    In #5 we should totally give Frank another chance – dude has to remain celibate forever because he made the mistake of marrying his first sex partner? That’s not fair! He’s eighteen now, and things *are* different!

  4. Is the John in #6 the same one who was in the service? Is that where he got the revolver? Does Eunice know about Dorothy? Is John really missing in action? Was Jim a member of John’s platoon? Was Frank? And if so, what did his ex tell Susan? What happened in Minas Gerais and why do people try to change the subject whenever anyone brings it up? Is Jack’s mother the key to the mystery, and what does she have planned for Thanksgiving dinner?

  5. I just bought this book on Amazon a couple of months ago — it’s called “When You Marry” by Evelyn Millis Duvall, et al. (There’s a copy available now for only $4.00.)

    The quiz above is just for starters — there are some *amazing* gems in the book.

    It’s startling to see what kind of advice the kids were given back in the late 50s / early 60s about the harms of “heavy petting” and the role women were expected to play during the courtship process.

  6. I esp. love how #5 goes out of it’s way to defend Frank. Firebus is right! Give Frank a second chance to impregnate someone else who doesn’t want to keep the baby.

  7. Clearly Jack and Frank belong together. Frank’s ex obviously told Susan that she caught him in bed with another man.

  8. To be fair, romantic entanglement also has in impressive “ability to vacillate between making perfect logical sense, and making the young seem like improbably dim, emotional nutcases” so the tone might be entirely appropriate…

  9. I can’t speak for kid today, but when I was 16 in the 80’s I was without a doubt an “improbably dim, emotional nutcase.”

  10. Shame we don’t get more of this– romantic love evolved to keep two people infatuated long enough to have one or two offspring. If you plan on anything longer than about three years or so, you’d better have an unblinking, unsympathetic analysis of the relationship as a foundation.

  11. This is the greatest thing ever! I HAVE to own this book.

    But, please…don’t ask me about Brazil. I had to change my name and everything. If the Yanomamo ever find out….

  12. I don’t know if I agree that it assumes teenagers to be “improbably dim”; unfortunately, I see these sorts of dilemmas set before advice columnists all the time, often by people much older than teenagers.

  13. As the father of a 17 year old girl, I can say, absolutely and without question, that teenagers are, especially in the area of romantic entanglements, improbably dim, emotional nutcases.

    MOST of them get better over time.

    The rest of them, er, vie for attention by posting comments on blogs, I guess…

    *sigh*

    I miss Eunice.

  14. Eunice,
    Sell the house. Sell the car. Sell the kids. Find someone else. Forget it. I’m never coming back. Forget it!
    -Jim

  15. I’m fascinated by the margin notes on this pamphlet! The black Zion and white Brenda and the most recent page implies a pregnancy. I’ll certainly return to this to boggle at the propaganda and read more of Brenda’s notes.

  16. Reminds me of the ‘Duck and Cover’ movies that said you could survive a nuke attack under your desk.

    Those poor kids had no idea what they were in for.

  17. John swears he will commit suicide if Dorothy breaks their engagement. He waves a revolver to prove it.

    He steadies. Focus and purpose return, but the look in his eyes hints at menace. He slowly raises the gun. “and I can’t have you Dorothy, NO ONE CAN!”

  18. I actually cried from reading the pencil notes from Brenda. And the laughable parts of the book make it worse, to think that this was the sort of thing she had to turn to for help.

  19. @mdh, The problem with that kind of statement, is that you are assuming the school to be at or near ground zero, which, while some schools certainly would be, many more would not. A school desk could certainly make the difference in saving you from injury in the case of falling debris from the ceiling caused by a somewhat distant blast. In any case, it’s better than nothing.

    P.S. Anachronism aside, John #1 is totally John McCain, Eunice is missing out, her girlfriend Cindy is going to snatch up an attractive young (albeit injured) naval officer with a promising political career. Who’s the improbably dim emotional nutcase now, Eunice?

    1. the problem, seriously, is your demonstrated inability to spot a simile.

      as in, this bad advice is awful similar to that bad advice.

      less cameron, more ferris, k?

    2. further, since you’ve obviously never seen the film, i’d recommend looking it up before calling someone else up short.

      ur doing it wrong.

  20. Also, how does a butler go missing in action? (“In service” means you’re a domestic servant; serving in the armed forces would be “in the service”).

  21. Personally I would immediately break off an engagement to someone merely for being named Georgene.

    I thought the same thing until I met a AF 2nd Lt. with that I became infatuated with and even then I still had a hard time reconciling my feeling with her name. It didn’t help that she drove a cool car, a TT, graduated from MIT, and 30 years separated us in age. As always, life sucks!

  22. I thought the same thing until I met a AF 2nd Lt. with that I became infatuated with and even then I still had a hard time reconciling my feeling with her name.

    I thought I had enough sleep, but apparently not!

    The correct line is as follows;

    I thought the same thing until I met a AF 2nd Lt. with that name that I became infatuated with and even then I still had a hard time reconciling my feeling for her with her name.

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