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If you were to take a time traveler from 1950 and plop her down in front of Monday night’s premiere of the 11th season of The Bachelorette, she’d likely notice a few key differences between the contestants’ lives and those of unmarried women in her day. The dresses are a little more risqué, the sexuality more overt and the plastic surgery comparatively rampant.
When LIFE featured a bachelorette in 1950 — or rather, a “bachelor girl,” as the term bachelorette hadn’t yet taken off — the story’s subject, 21-year-old Peggy Cross, unlike The Bachelorette’s bachelorette, had already found her betrothed. Until their wedding day, of course, she would formally remain a bachelorette, but she was busy making preparations.
By all appearances, these preparations did not include a bungee jumping expedition or a helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon, but something altogether more practical: an accounting of all the accoutrements of housewifery.
Liz Ronk, who edited this gallery, is the Photo Editor for LIFE.com. Follow her on Twitter at @LizabethRonk.