This Is What Online Dating Was Like in 1944

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Do you know how lucky we are to live in the age of online dating? Our desperately single grandmothers had to walk forty miles in the snow to get to what was called a Marriage Bureau if she wanted a date, as this newsreel from 1944 reminds us.

The video, set to the lovely, if slightly incongruous music of Lakme’s flower duet, walks us through the process of going to one such dating agency to find a date.¬†“You can’t walk in and pick yourself a man just like that!,” the narrator warns us. No, of course not: first you have to fill out a form which includes your height, “coloring” (??), interests in life, religion, and age.

Then, agency workers manually look through their files — physical ones! — to match clients up with the perfect mate, sending them written instructions of where and when to meet. (In this video, a park.)

It’s very sweet, and obviously very different from how dating works today. But the biggest sign that things have changed since the 1940s? The gentleman client makes sure to request a woman who’s “not too young.” Ah, simpler times!

Click through to watch the video below: