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This classic video – originally titled as “How to Succeed with Brunettes” – is an instructional film produced by Film Graphics Inc. for the United States Navy. It was released in 1967 and used as a training material.
The film demonstrates proper dating etiquette for young naval officers. Each segment shows a different social situation – picking up a date for dinner, taking a girl to the cinema, attending a small gathering at a private home, or meeting senior officers at a formal affair, for example. But the segments start with an exhibition of how not to behave, with a sarcastic voiceover offering mock congratulations to the blundering seaman.
Though vintage and archaic by today’s standards, the film is surprisingly relevant even today. Some of the tips that are sure to impress any woman even today include treating her as an equal, sitting her down first before taking a seat yourself, offering your date a “helping hand” whenever possible, opening doors for her, and in general showing respect. Surprisingly, one of the simplest, but oft-forgotten precautions the video advices you take, is to ensure your date’s hair stays impeccable and that she gets the best view of the restaurant.
Despite its title, the film concludes with a broader message: “Show respect for your date and her reputation and she will respect you. Success with brunettes or blondes, or just about anybody is built upon respect. And being a gentleman is to command respect. How to succeed with brunettes? Be a gentleman.”
It may seem strange that the U.S. Navy was busy making a dating advice video at the height of the Vietnam War, but the military was clearly intent on forging gentlemen as well as officers. This film is one of nearly 3000 instructional and training films produced by the U.S. Navy during the 1960s that were intended to contribute to overall health and well-being of naval officers and seamen.
In 1968, How to Succeed with Brunettes, along with its companion film Blondes Prefer Gentlemen, was awarded the 60 Minutes “Oscar” for the “most unnecessary and fiscally wasteful” film, at a cost of $64,000 to taxpayers (approximately $446,000 in today’s dollars).
The film features wonderful music, evocative of its era, and a fair bit of comedy, both intentional and unintentional.
BACKGROUND / CONTEXT
Dating is a stage of romantic relationships in humans whereby two people meet socially with the aim of each assessing the other’s suitability as a prospective partner in an intimate relationship or marriage. It is a form of courtship, consisting of social activities done by the couple, either alone or with others. The protocols and practices of dating, and the terms used to describe it, vary considerably from country to country and over time. While the term has several meanings, the most frequent usage refers to two people exploring whether they are romantically compatible by participating in dates with the other. Dating may also involve two or more people who have already decided that they share romantic feelings toward each other. These people will have dates on a regular basis. This period of courtship is sometimes seen as a precursor to engagement.
In many cultures around the world, dating is a serious family matter, which is based on its culture and social values. Parents in said cultures believe in arranged marriage, or at least make sure that their children get married at a certain age. However, in the United States, independency plays an important role in how singles value and date others. In America, dating is mostly a personal decision rather than based off the influence of parents. However, parents still usually expect their children to get married, but is still their son or daughter’s choice between whom they want to date or marry. Middle class tend to prioritize other things that are more important to them, such as get a college degree, a job, and then date their future spouse to settle down. Before the internet era, some Americans would meet their prospective husband or wife in college, through friends, at work, etc. But now is very popular that singles are trying to meet people on websites and from cell phone applications.
For more information about dating, see:
Retro Dating Tips: How to Succeed with Brunettes | US Navy Instructional Film | 1967
NOTE: THIS VIDEO REPRESENTS HISTORY. THE VIDEO HAS BEEN UPLOADED WITH EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES. ITS TOPIC IS REPRESENTED WITHIN CONTEXT.