A Newbie’s Guide to Badger Social Life
Students didn’t always arrive on campus clad in T-shirts and jeans, experienced in dating, and armed with smartphones and Snapchat.
In a simpler, less politically correct time starched with social conventions, freshmen needed tips on how to navigate the sophisticated college world.
For decades, campus newbies took their cue on dress, social graces, and classroom behavior from Wiscetiquette, a Miss Manners for the Badger set.
The fall-semester publication was published from at least 1936 to 1962, first by the Women’s Self-Government Association and later by the Associated Women Students.
On pitching woo, the 1936 issue offers: “Necking is when a boy and girl do things that a housemother frowns upon. … Necking requires a sort of mutual agreement that usually comes out of several dates, and often not at all. It can be done nicely, and is, but should not be done by the old adage that practice makes perfect.”
Other vices were also explored. “If you don’t like beer and are ashamed to ask for a Coke, don’t be. He will probably like you for being easy on his pocketbook — and a reputation as a hard liquor woman isn’t so good,” concludes the 1945 edition.
If you must attend a beer party, Wiscettiquette says: “If he says ‘beer party,’ don’t let him get away before he tells you what kind. A beer party can be anything from a dress-up affair to a costume party. That’s your cue, fellas — don’t slip up on the apparel info.”
In a tizzy over what to wear? Wiscetiquette had an abundance of guidance — including charts of what to wear for various occasions.
The 1936 edition tells men “there is nothing that detracts from your appearance more than a sweat shirt.” And the 1947 issue pleads with men to “puleeze keep a clean shave — the cave man look is definitely taboo.”
For scaling Bascom Hill, 1947’s advice: “Straighten up and fly right! Walking in a right angle position won’t help you get up the hill any faster, although it may draw laughter from numerous observers.”