Let’s Talk About Summer Romances
Romance is always in season, but like a marigold, it seems to thrive in the summertime. You have more free time, and there are the long weekends, the beach parties, picnics and outings ahead to make the summer one Big Whirl and the man involved a Big Wheel in your life. But summer romances sometimes seem to be a variety all their own, and so we asked several pertinent (and impertinent) questions of your favorite movie stars. Their answers were both helpful and very revealing.
Bob Wagner believes that summer romance has a good deal in common with romance at any other time of the year. “It has to have a beginning,” says Bob, and offers six words of advice for the girl who wants to begin it. “Be attractive, be active, be accessible.”
Be attractive: “Or maybe I mean attract-able.” adds Bob. “What registers with me is the girl with the well-brushed, well-scrubbed look. A casual type of beauty. Natural, neat, nicely groomed—you know the kind of look I mean. And I like it when a girl smells nice, too.”
Be active: “My type of girl is one who’s full of honest enthusiasms, whether it’s for golf, tennis, swimming or just sitting on a blanket enjoying a picnic lunch. I like a girl who likes to do things, and I’ll enjoy doing them with her.” (That’s sound advice, too, for the girl who wants to meet a man like Bob and what girl doesn’t? You’re much more likely to stumble upon each other when you’re out playing tennis, resting up between swims on the raft or waiting for the next tee on the golf links than you would if you were lying in the hammock, waiting for him to stumble on you.)
Be accessible: “I like a girl who has a warm, outgoing interest in people, and most of all,” adds Bob, “a little more than average interest in me.” Which should give you a clue to what Bob (and any other man) likes: a girl who’s vitally interested in him as a human being. Being friendly is half the secret of having friends, and what is romance but a deep feeling of friendship for someone of the opposite sex?
And it’s normal to want to have good relationships with people of both sexes. Aside from the fact that men like Bob dislike “girls who make cracks about other girls,” it’s wise to remember that it’s usually women who do the planning and inviting to group beach parties and picnics. Having girl friends not only rewards you as.a person, but helps you keep in the swing of things. (“Besides, they might have brothers or cousins,” Bob adds with a grin.)
When we asked him, Tab Hunter got right to the heart of the vacation problem by saying, “Maybe it’s obvious, but I’d say that if you want to meet men, go where the men are. Most men love sports—so when you’re picking a place look for good tennis courts, a nice place to swim and maybe some good horses. Any hotel that has top facilities for young people is much more likely to be stacked with eligible males than some place where he food and the bingo games out on the porch are the main attraction.
“It helps to know the kind of person you are, too. If you’re shy and find it hard to talk to strangers, look for a place that’s strong on group activities, where there are such things as square dancing and folk singing at night. It might be easier for you to make friends when you’re part of a group, rather than being somewhere where you feel uncomfortable if you don’t have a date every minute.
“On the other hand, it would take a real courageous-type girl to pair off with another girl and head for Mexico. But a man enjoys the freedom of traveling on his own or with another guy, and if that sounds good to you too—well, I hope you run into each other.
“But no matter where you go,” Tab sums up, “remember that it’s up to you to make your own fun. You can’t get much out of something you don’t put much into may be an overworked bit of advice, but it’s still true. So put a little bit of yourself into whatever you choose to do.”
But not too much, Lori Nelson seems to be saying when she cautions, “I think the important thing is not to try too hard to do everything. When you knock yourself out, people realize you’re trying too hard. Play it casual and easy and don’t push.”
There’s a fine line of distinction between trying too hard and taking things as they come—but it’s easy to distinguish. It’s a matter of self-confidence.
At this point an interesting question is raised from the floor. “I’m going to a beach resort on my vacation. Would it be all right to talk to strangers on the beach, or would that be considered a pick-up?”
And here the stars divide into two opposing schools of thought. “I’d never act any way different on vacation than I normally do at home,” chorus Piper Laurie and Ann Blyth, while Nick Adams forthrightly says, “The atmosphere in most resort places is different from what it is at home. Things are much more informal, and everyone is much more friendly, and less likely to follow the rules of etiquette to the letter. If you’re lucky enough to go some place and see a guy you’d like to know better, I’m all for it. But just saying ‘hello’ isn’t as important as what you say—and what you do—afterward. Just be yourself.”
All right, you say, suppose you meet a man, and you date, and you both like each other. What about necking? “I think a girl should act exactly as she would if she were at home or at school while she’s on vacation,’ says Piper Laurie. “Some people are inclined to think of ‘fun’ and she would at home—but aside from that, there is really very little difference.”
The mortality rate of summer romances is high, and probably because things happen too quickly to be comfortable. You want your man to remember the time he spent with you as being fun with a girl he’d like to get to know better, and not just a “fling.” Keep it gay, keep it light,” Lori Nelson’s motto might be a good one to follow . . . and saying “no” still has its advantages.
By way of having the last word on the subject, Ann Blyth sums it up this way: “I think a girl should never do anything that she’ll be ashamed of herself for—then no one need be ashamed for her.”
If one could listen in on the conversations of girls as they’re packing to go home after a vacation, the question most often asked would be, “Will I hear from him?”
Time, and your man, will have to answer that one. But there’s the question of being able to help Cupid along a bit. Bill Campbell (who never had a summer romance, but who has managed to make lifelong friends on vacation) says his trusty camera is a “friendship-maker.” “I usually take my camera along, my wife Judy and I take pictures of the gang, plus their names and addresses. When we get home, I’ll mail the pictures back to them, together with a funny note like ‘and after I repaired the camera, this came out,’ or a sentimental one like ‘I look at this, and wish I were back there now.’ You have no idea how many friendships have started that way.”
If you can manage to take the initiative without seeming to be aggressive (and it’s a neat trick!), it’s occasionally a good idea. But you’d have to be the judge as to whether your man would like it, or be frightened away by it. “I don’t mind a girl getting in touch with me,” said Tab Hunter once, “provided she has something simple to say. Like ‘Joe Smith is giving a party next week. Would you like to go with me?’ That’s simple. But ‘why don’t I hear from you, and why don’t you call me sometime?’, that’s not simple, it’s aggressive. And I’d like to do the pursuing.”
So if yours is the pursuit of fun and happiness this summer, take your tips from these young and popular stars, and men will be pursuing you.
—BY ELLIN THOMPSON
It is a quote. PHOTOPLAY MAGAZINE AUGUST 1957