18-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today:
Wednesday, June 4, 1913: Nothing doing, therefore not worth writing about.
Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:
Since Grandma didn’t write much a hundred years ago today, I’ll share some advice an advice columnist named Aunt Harriet gave a young man in the April, 1913 issue of Farm Journal.
(An aside—I’m amazed that Farm Journal had an advice columnist years ago.)
“How much should I spend on a day’s outing with a young lady I hope to win for my wife?”
When it comes to saying just how much a man should spend on amusements, no stranger can advise. The young man who lives in a scenic district of the United States, writes me, “How much should I spend of a day’s outing when we take a trip over one of our mountain railroads?”
Having invited a young lady to accompany him on such a trip, he should pay all of the necessary expenses, such as carfare, carriage hire, fees, etc.
If the luncheon is not carried along, he pays for this, at a convenient café, and to these necessary outlays, he may add any extra which appeals to their tastes, –a box of candy, a package of picture post cards, a glass of soda water, or any pretty souvenir, which might serve as a memento of a pleasant day’s outing.
Take along enough money to provide for emergencies. The unexpected will sometimes happen, –an accident, a storm, perhaps, something to prevent the carrying out of your plans. Of course your first thought will be the comfort and safety of your companion, and the extra money will ease your way.
In attending a place of amusement, the legitimate expenses are the price of admission and transportation to and from the building. Select as good seats as you can afford; they need not be the most expensive in the house. You can, if you choose, send flowers to the young lady on the day of the entertainment; the florist will help you decide, and the young lady will wear them.
There may be a supper afterwards, but this is not in good taste unless you are in a party. A girl and a man, alone in a restaurant late at night are subject to criticism. As prices vary in different localities, I am sure my young men friends will understand that is impossible for me to state definitely how much they should spend.