Troy Donahue’s Advices To His Sister Eve
“JUST HOW MUCH DO YOU KNOW BOUT THE BIRDS AND THE BEES?”
“I nearly flipped,” says fifteen-year-old Eve, “but that’s what my brother, Troy Donahue, asked me when I told him about my big date”
Eve pretended not to hear what her brother, Troy, was saying. Instead she leaned across the table, resting her chin on her arms and acted as if she were lost in a daydream. But Troy wasn’t letting her off so easily.
“Did you hear me, Eve?” he asked. “Stop kidding. I meant what I asked.”
“Well, I . . . I am fifteen,” she protested, meaning that certainly at that age every girl knew such things, and she blew back her bangs which were always hanging down over her eyes and waited.
Troy didn’t say anything. Finally she smiled and said, “I should have them cut,” attempting to change the whole subject.
But Troy had his mind made up. “I know how old you are,” he answered patiently. “I happen to have known you since you were born. But you’re growing up.”
Eve knew this. Growing up had changed lots of things between her and Troy. They used to go just about everywhere together. Even when the guys complained of a girl tagging along. “If Spence can bring his dog,” Troy would say in her defense, “well, why can’t I bring my sister?” The guys would gripe a little, but after all, Troy did have a point.
She used to dress like a boy then, in blue jeans and an old tee shirt, and Troy never seemed to mind. She learned, too, to run fast so she could keep up with them and they couldn’t poke fun or complain about her to Boy. Everybody called him Boy then. He’d selected the name by himself just after he’d seen a Tarzan movie—the one in which the ape man’s son was called Boy.
He used to say, “Eve, I like to play with you best. Now I’m going to teach you a new game. It’s called tennis.” So she stood on one side of him, as he showed her, and he stood a little ahead. He had something in his hand called a tennis racket and with the racket he hit a ball against the side of the garage. Every time it bounced, he’d shout and she’d run all the way across the lawn and bring it back just as fast as she could because that was part of the game. Boy kept hitting the ball and she kept running all over and bringing it back. Then he got a bright idea and he got two balls. He’d hit one while she ran to the other, That made the game more-fun, he told her. Until one day, when she saw some other kids playing the same game only they both had rackets! After that, she didn’t want to play Boy’s type of tennis. She was about five at the time, so what could you expect? Boy was eleven.
When she was about seven, Boy told her she was growing up and old enough to be trusted with a big dark secret.
“Come on up to my room,” he whispered; he never wanted her in his room so she knew something important was going to happen. Boy didn’t say a single word as they climbed the stairs and he opened the door. They sat down on the floor and finally Boy spoke. “Now listen carefully, Eve,” he said. And he began to read her a story. When it was finished, he told her, “I’m no longer Boy.” And she listened wide-eyed, as he explained, “From now on, I’m really Samson, the Strong Man.” He explained how if she told anybody this secret the whole world could just come to the end because somebody would want to cut his hair off, just like in the story he read to her.
She was thrilled. To think that her own brother was Samson. “And you can be my servant,” he told her. And after that, every afternoon for a long long while, he would send her on errands. If she didn’t want to go, he’d glare and stare strangely and say, “Samson commands you,” and she’d run like heck to do what Samson said.
She kept the secret locked tight up inside. So many times she’d been close to asking Mother if Boy was really Samson, but she remembered the sacred words he’d said. “If you tell, they might take me to a barber and then the world will come to an end. And it will be all your fault.” She never dared tell anybody until she was thirteen!
That’s when she grew up and everything changed. . . .
Sometimes he was too protective!
Troy began to act differently toward her. Like the day he came home from the studio early, before she had gotten home from school. When she went into her room, she discovered a pile of clothing right in the middle of the floor. “Who put all my jeans on the floor?” she yelled downstairs.
“Are you talking to me?” Troy called back from the kitchen.
“I’m talking to whoever dumped all my jeans on the floor,” she shouted back.
“Oh, I’m sorry,” Troy pleaded. “I forgot all about them; I was going to suggest, now that you’re a lady, maybe you should give up wearing them.” (She knew Troy hated women in slacks.)
So she threw the jeans out, but a couple of days later, she asked him if they could arrange a compromise. She’d only wear jeans around the house. So he gave her a pair of his old ones on one condition, “If you’re going to wear them, Eve, at least wear them neatly. Do you know what you look like with them rolled up to your knee?” When she looked at herself in the mirror, she knew what Troy had meant. And even if she wouldn’t admit it then when she was only thirteen, she was pleased now (after all she is fifteen now) that Troy was helping her to be a lady.
Sometimes she didn’t used to understand this. She used to feel that sometimes he was overprotective. Like the afternoon he took her swimming at his friend’s house. The minute he saw a boy walk over and talk to her, he came over and joined them saying, “She’s my sister—only fourteen, you know.” That did it! Pronto, all the fellows scattered.
“I’m not so much older than he is, Eve,” he said when she protested. “And I know how guys act. Boys like to drive too fast, take chances and try to act big time, it’s a stage that most guys go through. But a girl should and can avoid this type of guy. And she doesn’t have to be a square either. Besides,” he added big brotherly, “you’re only fourteen, you’ve got plenty of time.
Now you should be learning how to be an interesting woman!”
And that meant, never “beautiful and dumb.” That was Troy’s pet saying. “Who can stay interested in a dumb girl?”
“Be good at something. You’re good at sports, and that’s one way to get along fine with guys,” he told her. “Now you should begin to know something about what boys are interested in.” So after that, whenever they were driving, he’d talk about the car, and they’d play a game identifying different models and he’d explain about equipment and sports cars and other car things that fellows talk about so that when she did go out on a date, she’d know what the guys were talking about. He also taught her how to dance the Bop and all the latest steps.
At first she was shy about dancing and Troy would say, “How am I going to be a good dancer if you won’t help?” And he’d go and turn on the record-player and soon they’d be dancing around the living room, and before she knew it, she didn’t feel so strange at all. In fact, she kind of began to like dancing.
“A girl can seem cheap”
One afternoon, when they were practicing, Troy gave her a bottle of cologne. “A fellow likes a girl to smell soft and feminine when he’s dancing,” he told her. And not until days later did it hit her—maybe her perfume had been too spicy and overpowering. About this time, too, she began using a more delicate shade of lipstick. The lipstick Troy liked, but when she bought a great shade of green eye- shadow and wore it heavily draped on her eyelashes, she could tell, from the look on Troy’s face, that he thought she was overdoing it a bit.
“Too much?” she asked.
“Ahum,” he answered. “A phase all girls go through. Like boys driving fast. Remember, let’s never be obvious. In fact, let us both never be obvious.” And they laughed and she went and washed her face.
But she really wasn’t trying to be obvious the day Troy got mad—really mad—at her. She didn’t really think her skirt was too tight.
She had worn the skirt to school, and when she came home, her mother had asked her to go to the store. She was coming home from the store and she had a funny feeling that Troy was standing on the front steps watching her. For some reason, she thought it was funny that he didn’t call to her. He just walked into the house. When she came in, he seemed to be angry with her and he just about never ever got angry, so she asked him, “‘What’s up?”
“Eve, I saw you!” he said.
“Saw me?” she said innocently.
“Yes, I saw you wiggling all the way up the block. Your skirt’s too tight and you were wiggling when you walked and every guy in every car passing by turned to stare.”
She didn’t know what to say as she tried to keep back the tears. She’d been walking just the way she always did. “I always walk like that,” she cried. And then she realized something. She had gained weight and her skirt was too tight.
“It can give a guy the wrong impression,” Troy told her softly, because he realized now that she didn’t mean to dress obviously. “But, Eve, it can make a girl seem cheap.”
“What do girls do who are considered by boys to be cheap?” she finally asked.
“Most times she’s an obvious girl,” he explained. “The way she dresses is overdone, exaggerated, low-cut dresses, too tight sweaters and skirts, her makeup is heavy. In fact, her whole appearance is supposed to be a ‘walking man-trap.’ But it doesn’t fool the guys who are out for a good time, who don’t give a darn about her. They know what she is because everything she says and does indicates it. A cheap girl not only dresses loudly, she usually talks loudly, does everything loudly in an effort to call attention to herself. A cheap girl is labeled as such because the price she puts on her self-respect, on her pride and and decency is a cheap one. This kind of girl may seem like she has three times as many dates as other girls and they probably do, but for only one reason. No guy really respects a girl who’s a pushover. He dates only her to take advantage of her lack of concern for herself and her future.”
“Is this the same as being fast?” she’d asked, but Troy shook his head no.
“A fast girl is not necessarily a cheap girl,” he explained. He liked it when she asked questions instead of being shy and holding back. “It usually means a girl who will go farther with the guys and more of them than the average girl, but doesn’t mean all-out promiscuousness. A fast girl is the type that dates a lot of different guys and seems to be fast when it comes to making the rounds of the eligible males.”
“When a fellow puts his arm around you when you’re walking down the street—is that fast?” she asked.
“If it exceeds the bonds of good taste it is,” he’d answered. “Necking in front of a group, kissing continually only makes a girl look foolish in the eyes of the people she’s seen by. Holding hands, a peck on the cheek, putting your arm around a girl—to a guy this doesn’t make a girl fast provided he feels that she likes him a lot—but anything beyond that is not for public display. And frankly, a guy shouldn’t do it.
“Just like kissing on a first date. This depends on the boy and the girl, the situation and the kiss! If you go to school with a boy and know him well, then he asks you out, it’s natural if you’ve had a good time to kiss him goodnight. But if you don’t, a fellow doesn’t mind. Some boys might not even want to try to kiss a girl the first time out but do so because they think the girl might be offended and feel they have not been a good date so he does. Now on a first date where it’s a blind date or where you hardly know each other, a kiss depends on the evening. But, remember, no boy really thinks of a girl as cheap if she kisses him goodnight on a first date. It takes a lot more than that to label a girl fast. . . .”
Eve’s growing-up course
Troy had told her all this, and as she sat there, both of them staring across the table, so serious, she started to giggle. “You should know what I know,” she teased. “You’ve been giving me my growing-up course.”
“We’ve never talked about sex,” he answered.
And she nodded, “Well, not exactly. . . .”
“Well, I think it’s important to talk about. Refusing to discuss sex and love is wrong, all wrong, and ends up, if grownups keep it a secret, pushing young people into experimenting on their own. Under the right conditions, love, marriage, being together can be the most beautiful thing on earth. Sex isn’t something dirty or shabby to be discussed on street corners. The real deep attraction a boy feels for a girl can’t have anything ‘cheap’ about it.
“Aside from physical attraction, a guy wants a girl he can share things with, a girl who understands him, who doesn’t demand expensive gifts and being taken to fancy places when she knows he can’t afford it. A guy wants a girl who loves you for yourself and not what you have or who you are. Love is the sum total of all these things, not just attraction.
“Sure, Eve, a boy is attracted to a girl physically and asks her out for no other reason but that she’s cute. That’s usually how most first dates come about. But every guy has had the sad and dull experience of dating a girl who’s as cute as a doll but as dull as a wax mannequin in a store window. I can’t deny we guys are attracted to a girl because first of all by her surface qualities, but he then judges her on many other levels: personality, poise, intelligence, sense of humor, these are the things a guy thinks about when he wants to keep on seeing a girl—not does she neck, will she pet, can I really take advantage of her? There are girls who are nothing but girls to take advantage of and, unfortunately, if a girl is that way a boy will take advantage.”
“What if he does get fresh?”
“Then get him to take you home as soon as possible and stay away from him until he learns how to behave. But do so, if possible, with dignity. Laugh him out of his amorous ways, take it lightly, change the subject, and at all costs, let him know you aren’t interested in indulging in gymnastics in his front—or back—car-seat!”
“There is a difference between necking and petting, isn’t there?”
“You bet,” Troy nodded. “Necking involves kissing. Petting goes much further. And, unfortunately, it’s up to the girl to set the standard. Most boys will try to see how far a girl will go, but it’s up to the girl to be firm. A lot of girls go too far under the mistaken impression that this is the only way they can be popular or get a boy to call them again. And there are some immature boys who do flit from girl to girl and only ask her out again if she goes in for heavy necking and petting. But one secret that most males don’t like to admit, but which is true, is that if a boy likes a girl, really likes her, he’ll ask her out again no matter how many times she says “no” to anything more than a few goodnight kisses. Being fast or cheap may seem like the only road to the popularity, but it can also wind up being the road to loneliness and unhappiness, too. And now my dear student,” Troy said in deep, professional tones, “is the end of this afternoon’s lecture.”
Eve pretended to close her books and collect her pencils. Then, with a very serious face, she leaned over and tapped her brother affectionately on his arm. “And Troy,” she said, “now that I’m grown-up, feel free if ever you should have a problem to bring it to me.”
“Why, you . . .” Troy pretended to swat her with a magazine, but she was already out of the door, yelling as she went, “Come on, enough of this talk, let’s talk about more interesting things like records. I’ll treat you to a Bubble Up at the candystore.
SEE TROY IN WARNERS’ “THE CROWDED SKY” AND “PARRISH.” SEE HIM THIS FALL IN “SURF- SIDE SIX” MON., 8:30-9:30 P.M. EDT. ON ABC-TV.
It is a quote. PHOTOPLAY MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 1960