My next romance was inspired by a list of ways to find a husband that came out in McCall Magazine in the 1950s. You might have seen it since it went viral on the internet a couple of years ago. Once I read it, I started imagining a modern day woman trying out such antiquated dating advice, and a group of friends at the IDAhope Writer’s Conference helped me plot the story. (Read fun facts about it here.)
We took ideas like “cry softly in a corner” and joked about how it could become an insult/inside joke: “Go cry in a corner.”
I definitely wanted to start the novel out with my heroine trying to lasso men on a street corner.
And historical author Peter Leavell was particularly intrigued by the suggestion of carrying a hatbox. I responded, “Only you, Peter,” and thus had to write him into my novel as an actual character.
It wasn’t until after I wrote and sold the book to a publisher that I realized I couldn’t get the rights for the article from the magazine and would have to come up with my own list. This affected the whole story, and I was pretty bummed. But then I asked for help from my amazing readers, and you made the novel ever better! (See your ideas here.)
I kept track of everyone who offered an idea I used. (Find your name here.) Some of the ideas I needed to tweak. I had to do a lot of research and found all kinds of crazy advice from that time period. I even worked in some pop culture references, including Alfred Hitchcock and Grace Kelly.
Though I wasn’t able to use the actual article from McCall, it was referenced on Disney’s Wanda Vision. My editor messaged me about it before I saw the show, so that line was kind of fun to watch for.
Anyway, I wanted to thank you for your help, and I thought you might enjoy seeing the finished list to give you a peek at the kind of craziness Meri Newberg gets herself into in Husband Auditions. (Read an excerpt here.)
For the chance to win an Advanced Readers Copy (download) of Husband Auditions (coming out July 20th), read the list and let me know if you’ve actually tried any of these things. Bonus entries if you tell us how they worked!
101 Ways to Find a Husband
- Volunteer with shelter dogs.
- Fake a flat tire or pretend engine trouble.
- Offer to take your dad’s new car for an oil change. Have the cutest mechanic check your odometer, so he knows you’re not the type of girl who gets around.
- Move to a state with more men than women. We recommend Nevada.
- Attend funerals to check out widowers.
- Sit in front of him at church. You’re not trying to distract him from the good Lord. You just want to show him how bountiful God’s blessing can be.
- Learn to golf. It’s a great place to meet a man and also important to play with your man so you know he’s not playing around.
- Check out his grocery cart. If you like what he buys, you might like him as a person.
- Buy a lawnmower or power tool you don’t need just so you can ask his advice about the best one to get.
- Pretend to trip or fall in front of him so he has to help you up.
- If you learn to drink your coffee black, you’ll attract a higher quality man.
- Make friends with beautiful women. They usually have a cast of unwanted suitors.
- Ask your friends’ husbands to set you up with eligible bachelors they know.
- Join the local historical society.
- Plan an outdoor trip. That way if you get angry at him and accidentally tell him to “take a hike,” you won’t have to apologize.
- Work as a waitress or nurse. Men love being taken care of.
- Treat a bad guy like the hero you want him to be.
- Blind dates can be the best way to open a man’s eyes.
- Throw nothing but gutter balls at the local bowling alley the night the men’s league is playing. Soon, one of them will be sure to come by to offer helpful hints.
- Go to your local fishing pier and feign squeamishness about baiting your own hook. Chances are some handsome angler will happily skewer that worm for you, never realizing that you were the bait all along.
- Ask a man to take your photograph. Chances are, he’ll want his own copy.
- Work at a hardware store.
- Don’t be roommates with a wet rag.
- Get a job in a male-dominated field. You’ll stand out, gain respect, and up your odds.
- Change up your look. Try eyeglasses.
- Look over your whole ensemble in a mirror before ever answering the door for a date.
- Practice blowing kisses in front of a mirror to perfect your pout.
- Root for his baseball team. As you know, diamonds are a girl’s best friend.
- Let the sun kiss your skin for a rich and healthy glow.
- Advertise for a man to share ownership of a boat.
- Be sure to laugh at his jokes, but allow a light, airy chuckle. Nothing boisterous.
- Act in a play with him. Preferably as Romeo and Juliet, but if he turns out to be brainless like the Scarecrow in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, play the part of a tree and throw apples at him.
- Go to a rodeo. Rescue the Lone Ranger from himself.
- Wear dresses. If you dress casually, he’ll treat you casually.
- Be dangerous. Be well read.
- Why stop with a hat, when you could carry a hatbox? Be both charming and intriguing.
- If you have large feet, buy shoes one size too small. Beauty requires discomfort sometimes.
- A man should never see you without makeup.
- Never accept an invitation less than twenty-four hours in advance or he will think you’re undesirable to other men.
- Never outshine your man in any athletic activity. Men have sensitive egos and usurping their sportsmanlike prowess will lead to the demise of your relationship.
- Be the model of a glamorous housewife. Do calisthenics to keep your figure.
- Keep your hair perfectly coiffed, even if he’s completely bald. Bald men are more eager to please.
- Holiday at an adventurous location.
- Hang out near the entrance to the men’s room.
- Wear red shoes. They make you walk faster, and if you have pretty legs, people will notice.
- Become famous. Hollywood is golden, like a wedding ring.
- If he’s riding a train, he’s going places. Sit next to him and find out where.
- Don’t forget to wear gloves on your first date!
- Sit on a park bench and feed ducks.
Get Him to Commit
- Bake his favorite dessert. Bad cooking will drive your man to seedy saloons.
- Prudence is a virtue.
- Double date with a married couple so he can see what he’d be missing if he doesn’t marry you.
- If you are going out to dinner, eat beforehand so you can order something small. This will do two things: show him you don’t have a large appetite and save him money.
- Make a show of wearing any jewelry or accessory he gives you.
- Only let him see you cry if he has the power to cheer you up. Otherwise, you’re wasting your tears.
- Don’t tell him about the fun you’ve had on other dates. Men deserve and desire to be the center of your attention.
- Don’t let him see your age on your driver’s license. You are whatever age he wants you to be.
- Let your date do the ordering. Never directly ask the waiter for anything.
- Saying “I love you” is a relationship milestone. Let him be the first to take that step.
- Compliment his car. How he takes care of it will symbolize how he will take care of you.
- Be the glamorous single girl at your high school reunion. Show your old beau what he’s missing out on.
- Listen to your mother. Adam and Eve’s issues may have stemmed from the lack of a mother’s wisdom.
- The two of you should claim a song as your own so whenever he hears it, he thinks of you.
- Send anonymous roses to his house with poems. He may suspect they are from you but keeping it anonymous will keep you from looking too forward.
- Breathe as little as possible around him and make them shallow breaths. No man wants to see the full girth of a woman’s rib cage.
- Send a note to his pastor on why you’re a good candidate for marriage.
- Buy new furniture so he can help you move it.
- Keep him guessing. Learn the art of a poker face.
- For a proper courtship, have a chaperone.
- Find out what books, movies, and music he likes, then make them your favorite too.
- If he’s not friends with your brother, then become friends with his sisters. They can spy on him and tell you his secrets so you know how to best fulfill his every need.
- Your first kiss should last four seconds. Long enough to make him want more but not long enough to come across as well practiced.
- Have your father offer him extra season tickets to the local theater.
- Share recipes with his mother. If she knows her son will be well-fed, she’ll be more apt to encourage the romance.
- Educate him on the fact that married men live longer than single men.
- Never argue politics. Instead, ask him who to vote for to show how much you trust his judgment.
- If he asks what you want as a gift, tell him perfume. Then you’ll know you’re wearing a scent he likes.
- Have a nickname for your steady. He can be your Dreamboat, and you can be his Angel Face.
- Throw a house party to show him you’re not a bore and possess the skills required to plan a successful engagement event.
- Don’t be catty. Unless you’re purring like a kitten.
- To get your MRS degree, you have to let him think he’s more intelligent than you. Brilliant women never marry.
- If he wants to never grow up, like Peter Pan, don’t make him face his consequences the way Tinkerbell did. Be his mom, like Wendy.
- Don’t talk about having children.
- The wrong wife can break the right man. Let him be right, so he knows he won’t go wrong with you.
- Take dance classes together, so you’ll become a natural at following his lead.
- Parental approval is of utmost importance.
- Having your clothes pressed and mended and your shoes shined not only make you look good, they show him that you know how to make him look good too.
- Always sit like royalty, with your legs crossed at the ankle. It worked for Grace Kelly, and it can work for you.
- Earn the proposal. Get him to see that matrimony is key to his personal fulfillment.
- Wait until marriage to make him over. Once you’re his wife, you can worry about what kind of husband he’ll be.
Go for the Gold
- Rent an apartment in a rich area of town. You’ll meet men of greater means.
- Stow away on a cruise ship.
- Take a bicycle trip through Canada.
- Learn how to use a lasso and rope the cowboy of your dreams.
- Faint in front of him. Seeing a woman’s weakness awakens a man’s nature to take care of her.
- Using Christmas lights, decorate your roof with your phone number for curious pilots.
- There’s nothing more romantic than a view. Ask a Ferris wheel operator to leave you at the top of the ride for longer than usual.
- Wear a bandage in public and have a tale of daring to go with it.
- Create suspense like Alfred Hitchcock by buying a convertible to go with your headscarf and cat-eye glasses.
- Get your personal ad in front of as many eligible bachelors as possible. Like on a billboard.
- Make matrimony your career and live happily ever after.