WASP Lessons

gentlemen aren't sissies book
Gentlemen Aren’t Sissies
A Modern Guidebook for the Young Man about Town

This book is another blast from the past. Is it current? Nope. Is it useful? Maybe if you are stuck in a Nick and Nora Charles movie and need to “blend”.

Aside from any collection discussions, this book is a lot of fun to read and of course it should be retained somewhere as a real glimpse into etiquette of the rich, upper crust WASP of pre-war United States. Need advice on dating ladies of quality? Attending the theater? Etiquette at a bridge party? Pitching woo? This is your manual.




popularity and confidence

advice about women

more advice about women

athletics and popularity

romance and athletics






  1. I’m relieved that neither my lack of football prowess nor my choice of toothpaste will prevent me from landing a beautiful young woman of good character.

  2. I suspect “it’s old enough to have grandchildren” is a good criteria to consider weeding nonfiction.

  3. I believe popularity is highly overrated, you should be yourself and not try to blend in, although that last one sure isn’t going to happen now if you actually follow this book.

  4. Yes, this deserves leaving in a collection for historical interest! Or hysterical…”luscious lovelies”…? 😀

  5. It’s easy to make fun of this advice as outdated and sexist, but the world would be a better place if more people followed these common-sense guidelines. Moms, wouldn’t you give points to a teen who brought you flowers when taking your daughter out for a date — or even came inside the house! And we all need to keep our eyes on the road — not our cells. Being friendly will always make you popular. Someone should update this book for 2010 but keep stressing that we all should act civilized!

  6. Not gonna lie, I wanna see one of those “rotogravure sections.”
    Also, toward the bottom of the first paragraph on page 8: “Human beings seem strangely attracted to members of the opposite sex who snub them, hurt them, or frankly have no use for them.” Some things never change… (Also, leaving out gender in this was a nice touch as I’ve seen this one go both ways- and, now that you can get away with it in public, I’ve seen it happen in same-sex attraction too.)

  7. Let’s be clear: this book was not written for the “rich, upper-crust WASP,” but rather for the depression-era middle class, which spent its evenings watching Hollywood fantasies of wealth and listening to “refined” music on the radio set. Those who were lucky enough to have money in 1938 didn’t need ettiquette – they could get away with anything.

    1. I’d disagree slightly—etiquette was a very big deal for the upper crust, one of the ways they could mark the parvenus out. But yeah, they’d pick it up from family and teachers, not a how-to book.

  8. I love books like this — I once read an Emily Post from the 1950s cover to cover for the amazing similarities and changes. Her advice as to how to give a formal dinner party when you don’t have servants was the biggest gem, but smaller sparkles were everywhere.

    But I’d much rather deal with a simple and genuine person than someone who’s always looking for the “smooth, clever” way.

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