He's not an officer, so I let him open the door, right?
September 11, 2013 4:38 PM   Subscribe

The National Archives' Media Matters blog recently highlighted several newly digitized military etiquette training films from the late 60s and early 70s. These included a series of three films aimed at the difficult intersection of military service and gender dynamics for the members of the Women's Army Corps: The Pleasure of Your Company (background post), Mind Your Military Manners, and Look Like a Winner (background post). Bonus film for the guys: How to Succeed with Brunettes.
posted by Horace Rumpole (7 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
Thanks, Horace, I love this kind of stuff!

Only watched "Pleasure of Your Company" so far, but I feel practically ready to join the 1970 WAC's. Heck, I know I'd do better than Sandy. Ordering Russian dressing while wearing pink? Whay don't you just go out to dinner with Breszhnev, you big old Commie? And I'm pretty sure I've got the sartorial rules down: when on a date with a fellow servicemember, one person must be in uniform and the other in civvies.

The girl playing Sandy is incredibly familiar. Didn't she have a recurring role on Bewitched or The Bob Newhart Show or something? I can't seem to find a cast list.

Captain York's advice about clothes is wise and still spot-on today.
"They're all fine, in the right place and at the right time. Well, you might say that's the key to the whole thing: the right place and the right time. And I feel the same about makeup and jewelry because, well, you'd probably look a little dowdy if you didn't, you know, wear a little more dramatic makeup in the evening, something that would set off your costume, but, well, I really have no argument with any of it, so long as it's appropriate and worn at the right time."
Rock on, Captain York. You can be my Army Mom any day.

Yes, Frank, You go on, Frank. If your date doesn't tell you what she wants, just keep talking over her while she's trying to order. Because that's the whooole point of ettiquette, Frank, to make things MORE awkward. I bet if somebody doesn't formally introduce his wife to Frank, he studiously pretends she doesn't exist, too. Although, I guess in this case, he was probably trying to save Sandy's military career by keeping her desire for Russian dressing under wraps.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 6:31 PM on September 11, 2013 [2 favorites]

So was "How to Succeed with Brunettes" a satire? Now that Onion articles are more real than real articles, I really can't tell what's what any more.
posted by whatgorilla at 6:43 PM on September 11, 2013

That's some crazy awesome music at the beginning of "How to Succeed with Brunettes."
posted by drezdn at 7:18 PM on September 11, 2013

Just finished "Mind Your Military Manners." The obvious solution is to make Marilyn and Carol bunkmates in some isolated part of the camp where they've got nothing to do but give each other constant makeovers.

Then, we'll have plenty of time to figure out how many generations of "greats" are between the officer and her direct descendent Captain Janeway, while Susan gorges herself on Belgian chocolate, and the spelling in her messages goes all funny from downing a Trappist beer every time the phone rings.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 7:18 PM on September 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

Well, I was sure that after watching all three films, I'd be a fully-qualified 1970 WAC. Unfortunately, I seem to have washed out. The only area where I achieved true proficiency was Ruffled Pajama Bottoms, and let's face it, I was pretty good at that before I joined up. Not even the Fat and Ethnic Girls' Company would have me, and I did so long to wear their proud motto: "Each Woman is an Individual, and Represents an Individual Set of Problems."

Now, the best I can hope for is a menial job as shampoo girl for Jerry Lee Lewis: Army Beautician. Maybe then I can at least try to figure out why Sandy is trying so hard to eavesdrop on Jerry Lee and Susan. Maybe she's trying to figure out if she should bring Frank to the salon, tell him how she wants her hair done, and have him repeat it to Jerry Lee.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 9:00 PM on September 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

Somewhere - I should dig this out - I've got an American G.I.'s guide to learning how to speak Japanese, dating back to the 2nd World War, containing such useful phrases as "Hello", "Good Morning", "Where is the nearest military base" and "put down the gun or I will shoot you."

It's fantastically strange, tense reading, a helpful tourists guide for somebody who wants to be polite, civilized and respectful houseguest, but who may need to throw a grenade through a doorway or call in an airstrike at basically any moment.
posted by mhoye at 5:59 AM on September 12, 2013 [2 favorites]

As someone who doesn't know much about military culture, I found these pretty fascinating, especially the apparently common conundrum of what to do when chivalry and rank contradict each other.
posted by roll truck roll at 9:08 AM on September 12, 2013

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