These Vintage “Ideal Love Mate” Trading Cards From 1941 Are Delightfully Sexist

There’s a guy at the Brooklyn Flea Market who sells an impressive and ever-growing collection of vintage/retro kids toys and collectibles, including action figures, matchbox cars, wind-up toys, Garbage Pail Kids, the random remains of long forgotten rock collections and the like. It’s fun to sift through everything he’s got, either to get nostalgic about the toys of your own youth or to marvel at what older generations amused themselves with.

For example! The pack of “Your Ideal Love Mate” trading cards I snagged for $20. Produced in 1941, I’m not entirely sure if they were dispensed one at a time out of some “fortune telling” vending machine or if people purchased them in sets, but regardless, each card (there are 30) shows a photograph of a woman, usually glamorous but occasionally homely, alongside a personality description that makes her best suited for the card’s owner. (I presume these were made for men — or, you know, secret lesbians. Also, there was indeed dude versions of these trading cards for women to collect.) The personality descriptions for these “ideal love mates” are hilaaaariously archaic, noting such attributes as “knows when to be restful when you are tired,” “will devote her life to reforming you,” and “she’s a pal and a sport whether she can shop at Worth’s or Woolworth’s.” My plan is to frame a few of my favorites and put them by the toilet for guests to giggle at while they poop. But first, I have scanned a few for you to see! Which “Ideal Love Mate” would you be?