“The Anti-Flirt Club was an American club active in Washington, D.C., during the early 1920s. The purpose of the club was to protect young women and girls who received unwelcome attention from men in automobiles and on street corners. The Anti-Flirt Club launched an “Anti-Flirt” week, which began on March 4, 1923.”

“The club had a series of rules, which were intended as sound and serious advice. These were:

  1. Don’t flirt: those who flirt in haste oft repent in leisure.
  2. Don’t accept rides from flirting motorists—they don’t invite you in to save you a walk.
  3. Don’t use your eyes for ogling—they were made for worthier purposes.
  4. Don’t go out with men you don’t know—they may be married, and you may be in for a hair-pulling match.
  5. Don’t wink—a flutter of one eye may cause a tear in the other.
  6. Don’t smile at flirtatious strangers—save them for people you know.
  7. Don’t annex all the men you can get—by flirting with many, you may lose out on the one.
  8. Don’t fall for the slick, dandified cake eater—the unpolished gold of a real man is worth more than the gloss of a lounge lizard.
  9. Don’t let elderly men with an eye to a flirtation pat you on the shoulder and take a fatherly interest in you. Those are usually the kind who want to forget they are fathers.
  10. Don’t ignore the man you are sure of while you flirt with another. When you return to the first one you may find him gone.”

Source: 1. Ghosts of DC, 2. 4. Library of Congress, 3. Fred Schiller

13 Responses

  1. Gidion

    Looking at the pictures, most of these girls really don’t have anything to worry about:(

    • The _Yazata

      Street harassment happened and still happens to women of all shapes, sizes, and appearances. If it’s not inappropriate catcalling and whistling, then it’s cries of ‘lose some weight, you cow’ or barking and laughing at women who aren’t model pretty. So yes, these women did have tons to worry about. And street harassment is still an issue all around the world. The fact that plenty of commenters (here and on the retronaut FB page) felt it necessary to mock their appearance is pretty sad…

  2. Allie

    Just what I was thinking, @Laura, @Lorena, and @Yazata. And trust me, @Gidion, a female (or male for that matter) doesn’t have to be conventionally “pretty” to be harrassed– it’s a power play, which you’re obviously familiar with, judging by your comment.

  3. eydie

    actually, it’s pretty good advice. unfortunately this still goes on today. friendliness is often mistaken for flirting, so a woman really can’t be too careful. and if you are married or in a relationship, flirting with someone else is just disrespectful, no matter your gender.

  4. Gidion

    I see you were all in such a rush to jump all over me you forgot to actually read the rules these women actually wrote.if you had you might have understood where I was coming from.there rules say its OK for men to flirt but not for women to flirt back. There is no actual criticism of the men in their rules just rules about not responding to it.The RESPONSE is there real bugbear,what they REALLY don’t like. In my opinion they are a bunch of not very popular girls who are trying to “shame” the popular ones in to being less flirtatious because they don’t like the attention they are getting and the lack of attention they themselves are getting.They set up this “club” not because they where being harassed but because they where rather pathetically jealous of those who where:(They are passive aggressive and sexist against there own sex. They are about as “women’s lib” as a cave man:( But I am just a man so what do I know:(

  5. Opusv5

    “Some Like It Hot.” (1959)
    Jack Lemmon (upset,in drag):”Some strange man just pinched me in the elevator.”
    Tony Curtis (also in drag): “Now you know how the other half lives.”

  6. Yep

    This whole thing was definitely driven by jealousy. Remember that feminism all started from a group of ugly women who wanted more “power” in society. If you don’t believe me look up Betty Friedan and see what a knock out she was back in the days LOL. Even today it’s usually the ugly or rejected girls who resent their femininity and demand more masculine power. Pretty girls know full well the power their femininity have over boys.

  7. PunkyGoldfish

    Some of those rules are pretty good advice: Don’t take rides from strangers, be careful of older guys who seem too friendly then try to hit on you!
    Also folks who are dissing these girls for not being pretty and being jealous: it was a different time, where women actually had to be careful with their reputations, and they look normal pretty normal for that time, not ugly.
    Also as someone who has been harassed in that way, it is not pleasant. Even if it is meant as a compliment, it can feel threatening.


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