. . . Make Him Feel Like Something Special
A few weeks ago, we had waved a “see-you-soon” to our own special corner in the Photoplay offices and were scooting along above the clouds heading for a personal appearance. Naturally enough, the conversational ball was being batted over all the topics. When it finally stopped rolling it was dead center on u subject that comes up every time you get a group of fellows around—the subject? Girls.
That is, girls in general and girls in particular.
A particular young lady was giving fits to one of our popular young recording artists, and to spare them both we’ll just leave out the names and initials. This p.y.l. was a friend of long-standing, but the boy-—no matter what couldn’t get it across to her that he thought she was something extra-extra special. “l can’t quite reach her,” was the way he put it. All through high school they had danced together whenever the school was having a social, and he had hoped that these pleasant moments would grow into special dates, maybe an engagement ring, and then some wedding music. But no. She was always just a little bit distant after the dance ended, or the party broke up, or they had reached her front door after the walk home from school.
Now that he has waxed some fast-moving discs, and put several into albums, he has a mutual friend make sure that she “just happens” to get a copy each time. He always gets a short note wherever he is appearing telling him how much she enjoyed his work . . . and then silence. “Shattering silence,” if I can quote him again.
We were all very sympathetic to this tale of woe, and we were all getting ready to give our opinion when the topper came. “You know,” our boy told us, “I was all set to forget her as much as I could when her mother told my mother that her daughter thought I was the greatest, and that she dreamed, talked, and pestered everybody about me constantly.”
This was a real curve ball but it didn’t stop us, and as it developed we all had our own opinions on what was wrong. This young Miss evidently hadn’t the vaguest notion of how to make a fellow understand he’s not just one of the crowd, but is really something special. Sure she had told her mother, father, brother, sister, and I guess her classmates, too, that she had flipped over our young disc star, but the really important person didn’t even have an inkling that she knew he existed.
“I imagine it’s a pretty tough situation for a lot of girls,” my fabulous friend Fabian thought out loud, “but there are ways to let Him in on your secret.”
“You don’t have to fall all over a guy to do it, either,” Bobby Darin added. “If a girl wants me to know she likes me she can do it just by the way she listens to what I have to say and tries to add something of her own to the conversation,” he pointed out.
Fabian recalled, “One of the most popular girls in my neighborhood had all of the fellows doing dance steps round her just because she made it a point to devote all her attention to the fellow she was talking to. It seemed to come naturally to her, but I found out she had been real shy when she was younger and had worked hard to overcome it.”
That’s a situation that often affects fellows as much as it does girls. I know that from personal experience. You may be just on pins and needles with anxiety that you will hold up your end of the banter when you are with someone you like, and want to like you. In fact you get so excited you can’t think of anything to say, and you start feeling like a big drip besides. Relax! Just be yourself and don’t try to imitate that girl down the road you envy so much. Remember he asked you out—not her!
Connie Francis backs us up on that. “It’s when you’re trying hardest to be at your best that you can fall flat on your face,” Connie predicts. The idea terrifies you when you think of it later, but the important thing is not to let it throw you entirely. Connie told us, “You could almost compare it to going out in front of an audience. You want to put on your best show, and you want the audience to like it. If you are strained or nervous, then the audience catches some of that tension and the show comes out pretty flat. On the other hand, if you relax, tell yourself you are going out to do your best, the audience cooperates and accepts you instead of getting behind a barrier.”
That seems to me as true for just talking to one fellow or girl as it does for performing before thousands. Relax, be natural, and concentrate on the person you are with and he or she will realize you consider the companionship something special. Try to find out what special interests the boy has and see if you can’t learn something about them before the date so you won’t feel a fool and can chat with him more easily. “But don’t be a clinging vine,” Travis of Travis & Bob warns. “Fellows like to feel you are interested in them as individuals,” Bob added, “but they start getting nervous if you make them feel they’ve got your lasso around their necks and you’re tightening the noose.”
Amen to that. You probably know what Travis and Bob mean. You see a fellow at a dance with his honey’s fingers wrapped around his arm in a clutch that says, “He’s mine and he’s not getting away.”
That doesn’t make a fellow feel special. It makes him feel trapped.
A few hours later, back on land again, we took a break from rehearsal. Between sandwiches and sodas we drifted back to our airborne subject.
Connie put us back on the track saying, “Don’t make the mistake of thinking all girls know exactly what to do to make a fellow feel she is thinking only of him.”
She really got us thinking with the next part. “For most of us, it’s the result of hours of worrying and planning about things like ‘Will he like, or even notice, my new hairdo?’ ‘Am I making him take me home too early?’ and hundreds of questions like that.”
Well, it seemed that everybody started to answer at once, and then everybody just stopped at once. After a few minutes, while we thought over what Connie had said, the ball started rolling fast again with everyone having various ideas they wanted to express.
While each fellow, on the surface, had a different “ideal girl” it soon became apparent that there were little threads that tied most of them together.
For instance, a friendly personality rather than looks or even clothes was considered most important by the fellows. “A girl can look like a million dollars,” Fabian commented, “but if she doesn’t have a nice personality the looks won’t be enough to carry her through on a date. I don’t mean that I want her to agree with everything I say or show an interest in, say, something like auto mechanics, when I know she can’t really mean it. I’d much ged her to say what she thinks, to have her own opinions. It’s more interesting.”
Duane Eddy sided with Fabian and added, “The same is true for clothes. If a girl pays so much attention to her clothes that she forgets everything else, it can turn into a mighty dull date.” All agreed that while girls can err in concentrating on how they look, the guys can be just as bad by not paying any attention at all when a girl is wearing something special or something new.
He feels you consider him a prize catch when you put him completely at ease. This can vary from boy to boy, and from crowd to crowd. If your crowd are conservative dressers, the boys staying with the Ivy look, you can well imagine hat if you came waltzing out in something way out of the ordinary he would think that you are just using him to show off. If, on the other hand, the fellows you are most often with, are the first into a new fad or style, then they’ll consider it natural that you’ll dress that way too.
In your contacts with a fellow there are many areas where you can show him that he is not just an ordinary chapter in your date book.
Bobby Darin illustrated one way. “It might be because I’m used to being on a tight schedule, but I always appreciate a girl being almost ready when I stop by for a date.” Sure, girls, it’s okay to have him wait for a few minutes, but no half-hour delay, please. You know in five minutes, while he’s waiting below, your parents can chat with him and get an idea of the type of fellow he is. That’s always good home-politics, and most boys understand and go along with it.
Another idea was advanced by Fabian. “We have a curfew in Philadelphia, so we are used to the idea of getting home at a certain time,” he said, “but some girls think fellows get sore if you tell them their parents want them home at, say, eleven or eleven-thirty.” The boys agreed that a girl can get off on the right foot by telling the fellow at the start that she has to be home at such-and-such a time. Most of them would prefer that, rather than to be out really enjoying themselves and have the curfew pulled unexpectedly. They don’t want you to have trouble with your parents on their account, and most of them feel that they’ll get the blame anyway, so let them know right off when you have to head for that front door.
When you get there don’t gush all over the place about your “having a wonderful time, just grand, oh it was great” and on and on. A few words about how much fun you had, and perhaps mention one or two amusing or interesting incidents that took place, and then a polite “Thank you” is enough. Much more, and he’ll believe you are either pulling his leg or haven’t been on many dates before. Don’t force your gratitude—or a compliment—let it come naturally. He’ll appreciate it, because there’s nothing worse than hearing a girl say something you know for sure she doesn’t mean—because, how can he be sure when you do mean it.
While you’re standing in the doorway, or maybe parked at the curb for a few minutes, the idea might dawn that there is a hint of romance in the air. If there is, don’t force it. You don’t make him feel special by awarding your goodnight kisses too easily or too generously. On the contrary, he’s liable to get several wrong ideas again. If you, in your anxiety to please him, throw yourself at him, he’ll get the idea you’re that way with every boy. Can you blame him if he tries to go a little beyond what you intended? Then you lose that “something special” you wanted to impress him with, and rather than helping your cause you hurt it.
Well, at just about this time we got the call for us to continue rehearsing, and we headed back for the stage and more work. Our round-table conference had covered thousands of ideas, and maybe a few topics you’ve been thinking about. I think we’ll get back together again real soon and give the once-over to some others that may have been giving us all a few sleepless hours during these summer nights.
YOU CAN WRITE DICK C/O PHOTOPLAY, 205 E. 42ND ST., NEW YORK 17, N.Y. DONT MISS HIS ABC-TV “AMERICAN BANDSTAND,” 4-5:30 P.M. EDT MONDAY-FRIDAY AND “THE DICK CLARK SHOW,” 7:30-8:30 P.M. EDT SATURDAY
It is a quote. PHOTOPLAY MAGAZINE AUGUST 1959