Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Our 50 Years: Rules for Dating in Pittsburgh in 1984

We took a serious look at romance. But with advice ranging from making sure restaurants have seductive lighting to the benefits of owning your own mansion, was it really meant to be serious?



The opening salvo in a story called “Romance in Pittsburgh” is somewhat discouraging. In evaluating the potential for love and enchantment near the three rivers, writer Sally Dewald Siegel quickly establishes that, “Pittsburgh is not a romantic place — ‘Flashdance’ notwithstanding.” (We were really proud of “Flashdance” back then.)

The piece, a cover feature from February 1984, is meant as an aide to the poor lovers of the Steel City, who pine for magical evenings but find them difficult to locate. “If you live in Pittsburgh and cannot fly off frequently for romantic weekends, you will have to make the most of what you have,” Siegel writes. But there’s hope! “You may be surprised to find that Pittsburgh has more to offer the romantic than you realize.”

Having read the story several times, I cannot determine whether or not Siegel, who died in 2002, was being tongue-in-cheek. I think she was. I can’t imagine that some of the sentences in this feature are utterly serious. Of restaurants: “There should be fresh flowers — if not fresh, then none at all. Service should be sensitive and subdued.” That can’t be serious advice.

Can it?

The rules of romantic dining hardly stopped there; in fact, they were exhaustively catalogued. “To be romantic, a restaurant must have high drama or a sense of intimacy. Lighting should be discreet and seductive, music, live or otherwise, soft.” (No one tell the romantics of 1984 that eventually we’re going to invent something called Tequila Cowboy, OK?)

Few of the recommended restaurants persist today — although, obviously, Le Mont is endorsed. As is the Terrace Room of the William Penn, after Siegel states, “Going out for breakfast offers tremendous romantic possibilities.”

Further recommendations detail the sorts of shops — bookstores, galleries and (of course) flower shops — one should browse on a date. This is how I learned that the West End was once home to a thrift store called “West Side Store-Y,” quite possibly the best name for a place in the history of both names and places.

Siegel also has some very decisive thoughts on date-night transportation: “Well engineered cars that conserve gasoline are not romantic. Limousines, vintage Mustangs and all Cadillacs but the Cimmeron [sic] are romantic. The Rolls Royce is the most romantic car. Trains are more romantic than planes, but it’s hard to say Amtrak and live the fantasy.”

Please keep these facts in mind when ordering your next Lyft.

Of course, there is one bit of advice which rings true across eras and in spite of any modern cynicism: Given the opportunity, you should probably be fabulously wealthy. It’ll make things easier for you. “Pittsburgh has many stately mansions. Should you be fortunate enough to be the lord or lady of one, use it.”

See, that confirms it: This cannot be an utterly earnest piece of writing. I know 1984 was a bit different, but I’m pretty sure we weren’t awash in lords and ladies.

And yet ... this is just plain good advice:

“If your companion suggests a trip to the zoo, resist. Perhaps the movies are responsible for nurturing the idea that zoos are romantic. For filmmaking purposes they may be, but the non-celluloid reality is lots of children, all of whom appear to be not so much interested as distracted.”

Yeah, I still can’t get a read on this story.

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Edit Module Edit ModuleShow TagsEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

The Latest

Top 10 Things to Do in Pittsburgh in June

Your 10 best bets for this month include WizardVue, rooftop yoga and Spamilton.

The Summer Movies in the Park Are Awesome This Year

The City of Pittsburgh's annual Cinema in the Park series returns with another summer of free outdoor movies for all.

7 Storylines Which Will Define and Determine Steelers' Season

An unfamiliar underdog status may help the Steelers get back to the playoffs and beyond.

Can't Miss Concerts in Pittsburgh in June

This month's lineup includes Ariana Grande, Hiss Golden Messenger and a full slate at the Three Rivers Arts Festival.

June 2019: Best of Culture in Pittsburgh

Check out some of the finest plays, dance performances and exhibits taking place this month in Pittsburgh.

Joe Morrison Takes the Director's Chair at Pittsburgh Filmmakers

After years of uncertainty, the cinemas of Pittsburgh Filmmakers now have a leader with experience building and engaging audiences.

Unlock Special View of Pittsburgh for a Limited Time

Attention all boaters! The locks on the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers will open most summer weekends, allowing you to visit sights you couldn’t get to before.

Get To Liberty Magic to See the Excellent Billy Kidd

The British magician's new show, "Bridging the Gap," brings theatricality and surprising performance to the parlour-magic stage.

The 400-Word Review: The Perfection

Netflix's troubling new thriller stars Allison Williams and Logan Browning.

Undercover: What We're Reading in June

Reviews of “I”: New and Selected Poems by Toi Derricotte and Regular Hauntings: New and Previous Poems by Gerald Costanzo.

What Are You Doing to be Like Mister Rogers on 1-4-3 Day?

Pennsylvania names May 23 as 1-4-3 Day to celebrate its favorite neighbor.

The 400-Word Review: Aladdin

Disney's live-action remake of the '90s hit stars Will Smith as the iconic Genie.

Sharing Knives Grows into Sharing Farms

For its third season, the collaborative dinner series at Ace Hotel will celebrate the region’s growers.

A Slice of Pizza Kept Sean McDowell Going in the Early Days

After 41 years in the business, the legendary rock DJ on WDVE has announced his retirement.

This New App Will Help You Track Upcoming Cicada Swarm

Follow Brood VIII, which is expected to have three species of periodical cicadas emerging from the soil as early as this month, on the Cicada Safari App.
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags


The Summer Movies in the Park Are Awesome This Year

The Summer Movies in the Park Are Awesome This Year

The City of Pittsburgh's annual Cinema in the Park series returns with another summer of free outdoor movies for all.

Comments

Unlock Special View of Pittsburgh for a Limited Time

Unlock Special View of Pittsburgh for a Limited Time

Attention all boaters! The locks on the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers will open most summer weekends, allowing you to visit sights you couldn’t get to before.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
Sharing Knives Grows into Sharing Farms

Sharing Knives Grows into Sharing Farms

For its third season, the collaborative dinner series at Ace Hotel will celebrate the region’s growers.

Comments

A Look at the Latest Restaurant Openings in Pittsburgh

A Look at the Latest Restaurant Openings in Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh says hello (again) to Dish Osteria, Cinderlands Warehouse, Pizzeria Davide and more.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
5 Best Spots to Hang Out with Your Dog

5 Best Spots to Hang Out with Your Dog

For those who can’t stand the idea of leaving their dogs home alone on a beautiful day, these dog-friendly stores, restaurants and bars in the Pittsburgh area welcome humans and canines alike.

Comments

5 Races You (Yes, You) Can Run This Year

5 Races You (Yes, You) Can Run This Year

Even novice runners can work their way up to these fun and (mildly) challenging races.

Comments


Get To Liberty Magic to See the Excellent Billy Kidd

Get To Liberty Magic to See the Excellent Billy Kidd

The British magician's new show, "Bridging the Gap," brings theatricality and surprising performance to the parlour-magic stage.

Comments

The Funhouse at Mr. Smalls is a Treasure

The Funhouse at Mr. Smalls is a Treasure

The small, second venue above the Millvale hall is one of the city's best rooms for live music.

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
7 Storylines Which Will Define and Determine Steelers' Season

7 Storylines Which Will Define and Determine Steelers' Season

An unfamiliar underdog status may help the Steelers get back to the playoffs and beyond.

Comments

Pirates’ First Quarter Record Defies Logic if Not Description

Pirates’ First Quarter Record Defies Logic if Not Description

The 21-19 record the Bucs took to San Diego doesn’t add up given all they’ve had to overcome. Perhaps there’s more to this team than meets the eye.

Comments


The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
The 400-Word Review: The Perfection

The 400-Word Review: The Perfection

Netflix's troubling new thriller stars Allison Williams and Logan Browning.

Comments

The 400-Word Review: Aladdin

The 400-Word Review: Aladdin

Disney's live-action remake of the '90s hit stars Will Smith as the iconic Genie.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
This Wedding Had a Guest List Unlike Any Other

This Wedding Had a Guest List Unlike Any Other

Brendan Renne and Thais Canedo wanted a penguin at their wedding. They ended up with a menagerie.

Comments

You’ll #ShalieveInLove After Seeing Ryan Shazier's Wedding Photos

You’ll #ShalieveInLove After Seeing Ryan Shazier's Wedding Photos

Pittsburgh Steeler Ryan Shazier danced at his wedding Friday 18 months after a serious spinal injury.

Comments


Weekly inspiration for your home from the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine
New Tour Gives Insider Look at Pittsburgh’s Ethnic Neighborhoods

New Tour Gives Insider Look at Pittsburgh’s Ethnic Neighborhoods

With stops in Bloomfield and Polish Hill, the event from DOORS OPEN Pittsburgh celebrates the contributions immigrants made when they settled here more than a century ago.

Comments

Three North Side Garden Tours (And One on the South Side) You'll Want to Explore

Three North Side Garden Tours (And One on the South Side) You'll Want to Explore

Here’s your chance to explore some the city’s most beautiful historic (and new) homes and outdoor spaces.

Comments