Campus Life 60 Years Ago

Today we have some guest writers at Just Humor Me. Namely, three old guys who were at Youngstown College in 1949 and had the misfortune of being interviewed for a man-on-the-street story in their college newspaper.

I came across a PDF file of an old Jambar, the college newspaper at Youngstown State University, which was then called Youngstown College, or “YoCo” as you’ll see later in this post.

The year was 1949. Wiener bangs, bobby sox and crew cuts were all the rave. Homecoming, sorority dances, the big game, and the first television’s arrival in the Student Center were the big stories. And from what I can get from this Oct. 7 issue, college kids were smoking their freaking brains out.

There were more cigarette ads in this paper than any other single product. To warrant this level of advertising, these kids must’ve been lighting up before, during and after every class and filling the Sigma Sigma Sigma Harvest Moon Dance with enough second hand smoke to give Pete the Penguin a nasty smoker's cough.

My favorite cigarette ad is the one that reveals super secret details about Lucky Strike’s laboratory, where they tested not what the arsenic was doing to lab rats or whether the filters were doing anything other than doubling as handy, emergency earplugs, but to make sure the cigs were “free and easy on the draw” and that when you inhaled, you were getting enough of the little pieces of shit in your lungs.

Another half page ad has movie star Betty Hutton saying, “Chesterfield sure is my cigarette.” Chesterfields were milder. They also held the title as tops in America’s colleges, with the top men in sports, and with the Hollywood stars. So sayeth Betty.

“So round . . . so firm . . .”.

Oh, yeah. And the YoCo kids were having sex like rabbits, too. Or at least they thought of nothing else. In the space between the cigarette ads, the news hole was filled with much commentary about a) how the fellows were salivating over anything in a poodle skirt and b) how the gals were looking for husbands.

On the editorial page, the Photopinions question was: What do you look for in your ideal girl or man? Three girls answered, in a nutshell, great sense of humor, smart, ambitious, polite, good personality, decent dancer - basically the same stuff you’d hear now.

Now for the gentlemen. Here’s what Robert Clayton wrote:

Ideal girl! Hm, I suppose there could be such a thing, maybe even at YoCo. Right here, instead of buying more life insurance, I might add that I know a couple.

An ideal girl need not be pretty or stacked - with an IQ of 130, that is. With modern cosmetics, fashions and beauty aids any Gravel Gertie can put up a good front. Smoking or drinking don’t interfere as long as they are done in a moderate feminine way. This girl must know how to handle embarrassing situations tactfully and put her acquaintance at ease. Then if she shows interest instead of boredom, she is set.

There must be some ideal girls, because every day some 6,000 innocent, unsuspecting fellows are dragged to the altar by girls they once thought were ideal.


Good job, Robert! Way to offend every woman who could be your future waitress or nurse.

Now here’s what Bob Watson had to say:

In my estimation, the ideal girl for college fellows should possess these four qualities: First all fellows like their female friends to be perfect specimens of anatomy, easy to look at and gracefully attired.

Secondly, I like a girl who is fun-loving and someone you are at ease with on a date. She should also be a good dancer - able to cope with stumbling males.

My ideal girl would be sincere and have much in common with me. She should have some intelligence, but not too much, and a large store of common sense.

Finally, since ALL girls have matrimony lurking in their minds, the ideal girl should be a good cook, or at least be someone domesticated.


Bob! Give yourself a nice crotch grab! Excellent!

I hesitate to even tell you what Elliott Cowen wrote. Here are some excerpts:

My idea of the ideal girl is one with protruding teeth and two different colored eyes, preferably the right one blue and the left brown. She should be slightly bowlegged to steady her weight, which must be at least 180 pounds. This girl will have to be interested in athletics, both indoor and outdoor, for the convenience of her date.

Good luck getting a date to the Snowflake Frolic with that sarcastic attitude, mister.

These guys are roughly 80 now. A lot of years have passed since then. I hope they found their Mrs. Right and that she was not too intelligent, was a feminine enough smoker, and was stacked enough. Although, that’s probably moot now, eh fellas?

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