© 2018 THE LONG ISLAND LITERARY JOURNAL

Rules for Good Jewish Girls c.1959

by Marian Kaplun Shapiro

 

Never act smarter than a boy 
    (or he won’t ask you out)
If he asks you out, say you’re busy, how about the next Saturday? 
    Play hard-to-get, but don’t discourage him.
Never kiss on the first date.
            Ditto.
Don’t lead him on. 
    If the milk is free, why buy the cow?
Ask a boy what he thinks; don’t tell him what you think. Don’t argue. Don’t disagree.
    You might hurt his feelings, and you’ll end up an old maid. 
Never wear more than three pieces of jewelry. 
    You will look cheap. Lucky you, earrings count as one piece.
And never wear high heels or dangling earrings with pants, or sequins in the daytime…
    Ditto.
And skirts above the knee.
    Ditto. You don’t want to look like ‘that’ kind of girl.
Go to college. No, you don’t have to graduate. You’d be  a catch for a dentist or accountant.  
Get your MRS degree, and move to the suburbs.
No,  no, not a doctor!
            Medical school takes forever, the hours are terrible, and he won’t have any money
            for at least five years.
If you have to work, be a teacher.
    That way you get summers off.
Have two children, five years apart, before you get divorced.

Try again: It’s ~1970: New Rules          
Don’t be shy - ask him out - or her!
             ( But then play hard to get)
 Wear as much jewelry as can fit on you. Good jewelry!  But cash in the wedding ring.
    Look expensive but available.
Wear high heels with everything.  Spikes are the best. Also short skirts.
    Makes your legs look longer.
 Don’t have sex on the first date. But almost is all right. 
               (Make sure he’s been tested for STDs. If you get one of those, you’re damaged goods.)
And if you’re set on a doctor, he’ll be all finished with medical school!
    Weren’t you clever!