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The Lady Says “No!”—Vera-Ellen

Being one of Hollywood’s most-dated bachelor girls, Vera-Ellen is an authority on the typical approaches men use. You can spot the man by his approach long before he’s really begun it, she says—furthermore, if you want to get technical about it, there are seven approaches—all deadly!

“What are deadly approaches to me may not be for you,” she says, “but I’ll bet you recognize each and every one in your own life. For instance, there’s the considerate type who leads off with, ‘You poor thing, how tired you must be! Why not come to my place tonight for a quiet dinner?’ Consideration for you is his bait. He also collects records and if you’re not too tired, you must hear his collection. He just happens to have an unreleased album that would make a great ballet. He wants you to hear it—at his place. He’s so considerate he points out that you won’t have to dress to come to his apartment and he also has his own ‘massaging of the aching dancers’ feet’ technique, his own special home-made remedy for sore muscles. And to top it off, he can cook! The boy usually learns to cook at least one good meal to bolster his routine. In my case, he has read the publicity on my being too thin, so I have to try his special out-of-this-world spaghetti sauce.

“Of course,” grins Vera, “you don’t always resent this considerate character, because under proper conditions this can sound like heaven after a hard day of dance routines. It would to me after a day of rehearsal for my dances in ‘White Christmas.’

“The crown for consideration, of course, goes to the boy who just has to stop by his place for one reason or another—and after he has you inside he just happens to have a seven-course dinner going begging in the deep freeze. Then the real freeze is up to you!”

So much for the first approach. But the others?

“Another approach,” Vera points out, “is that of the man who combines business with pleasure at all times. He starts out by inviting you to a party—but he never asks you to any place that is not filled with important names and sizable business contacts. When he saw the small print in the income-tax law his life began, for he sees no reason not to take his social life off his expenses as business—because he’s working all the time. He estimates the qualitative value of each party’s invitation. When he decides it’s worth its weight he then plans to take the proper date and work his way through the evening, systematically picking up business contracts. He has a little black book. It is not filled with names of dames—it is filled with likely prospects for whatever business he is engaged in at the moment. This boy would ask for the guest list before accepting an invitation. He makes little written notes on witticisms and conversations for later use, and he really doesn’t enjoy the party until the next day when he can start dropping names casually to all and sundry. One date with this social worker can make a girl feel like a business asset!

“But the boy who can make any gal go home and wonder if she’s lost her knack is the career boy. He approaches you with vehement admiration for your talent and then asks to have lunch with you at the studio, of course, and maybe ‘I could meet your agent too.’ He sees you only as a rung on his ladder of success. He is smooth, believable, and shows great concern for your career. He invariably wants to be in the same business you are. Private secretaries will know what I mean. The up-and-coming salesman is one who suddenly finds you irresistible until you just can’t help giving him a build-up to the boss. Then if the boss has a daughter, watch out—you’ve had it.

“Unless you’re strictly a clinging vine, the aggressive male can drive you mad. His approach is, ‘You need someone to look after you.’ Look after you? He takes over. He completely dominates any and every phase of your life. If you have a modicum of confidence you’ll find yourself quivering like jelly over the simplest of decisions. This boy will leave you muttering reassurances to yourself, ‘I do have an IQ of 103—I really do have an IQ of 103.’

“The other extreme is the shy one. He’ll always say, ‘Whatever you want is fine with me.’ He doesn’t have an opinion of his own on anything. You even have to supply the conversation. He’s more like a sponge—a dripping sponge. He absorbs every little thing you say and do and agrees. He always leaves the evening up to you. Where would you like to go? Where would you like to eat? And when ‘the menu comes he waits for your order.

“I would like to explain,’ Vera adds, “that in regard to the next character—I am a great admirer of a good-sized bicep. However, the perennial athlete carries the whole thing too far. He starts out by saying, ‘I like you because you’re the outdoor type like me.’ He hasn’t an ounce of romance in his soul—only old baseball scores. This is the boy who thinks up a night tennis game followed by a little badminton for a good night out on the town. He always plans this after I’ve had a full day in dance rehearsal. He isn’t interested in theatre, movies, or clubs. He is quite sporty when forced to dance—he dances like a two-year-old filly coming down the home stretch. If you’re smart you will not suggest dancing. He likes you only in jeans, a horse’s tail hair-do and no make-up. With him you’d have quite a honeymoon! In Hawaii he’d ride the surf all day and you’d have to swim out with his lunch. If you want mountain climbing you’d have to reach the top. You can’t stop half way, or you’re not a good sport. Married to this sport would be, to say the least, a frustrating life.

“But the one who can really wiggle in before you realize it is the intellectual. His approach is to let you know fast that he’s from the brains department. We women have a tendency to pre-suppose that men are more intellectual than we are anyway. So this pseudo-intellectual has a fifty percent chance of fooling most women. He has a smattering of knowledge about everything. He can discuss for five minutes painting, books, music, science, ballet, parenthood, horticulture, and architecture. But when he runs into an expert he’ll find him exceedingly dull and limit the conversation to his five minute ability. He will know a few words of every language to impress you with his faculty to read menus. His conversation is sprinkled constantly with half-caste quotes from Thomas Wolfe, Shakespeare, and Proust. To know him is to hate him because you never get a chance to finish a sentence. If you say, ‘The international situation is—’, you’re through. He takes over and talks for hours on the situation. Mention rare roast beef, he has a secret recipe handed down from India, where to kill a cow is sacrilege. He never makes a mistake. He would rather lose the few friends he has than to admit he could possibly be wrong. Actually, when you get a close look at the pseudo-intellectual you’ll find he has adopted this personality in lieu of having been born with one of his very own.”

Don’t get the girl wrong, though—these are just the extremes which she considers deadly. And Vera-Ellen, as all Hollywood and in particular the male population in Hollywood knows, is a girl who has a good time on a date.

“Actually,” laughs Vera, “give me a man with a little bit of any of these approaches and I’d be happy. But there ain’t no such man—and that’s why I’m single!”





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