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What Marriage Means To Me—Mitzi Gaynor

When I think of my coming marriage I get very excited about it. I know it’s going to be just wonderful—all brand new and completeness. I want it—and yet I can’t help wondering about making this all-important step.

Maybe it’s because of all the things I’ve heard and read. What will I do if this happens? What do I do if that doesn’t happen? How serious will the trial and tribulations be? Is the first year the hardest? Then, too, a lot of my friends have warned me that the minute theatrical people get married, the bets start. Ten minutes after the ceremony, the bets are five to one on the marriage lasting six months. If you’ve had a spat and are slightly formal at an opening, everybody speculates on the community property set-up.

I know that there must be strength and understanding and a solid foundation before marriage so that the marriage cannot be shaken by outside elements.

I always think of Jeanne Crain and Paul Brinkman as the ideal answer to gossip. I’ve never seen them unhappy. There is a complete divorcement between career and marriage. Theirs is a working thing with all the gear shined up and functioning with three-in-one oil.

With them as an example, I’ve bolstered myself sufficiently to realize that marriage is up to the two individuals. And my individual man is everything I ever wanted in a man. Of course, I really didn’t know what I wanted until I met Jack, but I guess that is the way with women.

It was a February evening of last year that my date rounded up an extra man for my cousin for a Cocoanut Grove opening. Everything was fine until eight when my cousin called to say she was too ill to go out, and I was left with the dubious honor of two escorts. Jack Bean leaned on the buzzer at eight-ten and after explanations sat down and was quietly charming. At the Grove, we were left alone for a while; after a lot of laughs and a few dances, I realized I hadn’t stopped enjoying myself since the start of the evening. I hadn’t had to use any funny bits, or be ultra sophisticated, or even say “twenty-three skidoo.” I didn’t even know I was having a good time until mother broke up our threesome over scrambled eggs and coffee in my kitchen at 5:15 a.m.!

So two days later I had a terrific and hasty opening night—an emergency appendectomy. And although everyone else in town showed up or sent flowers I found much to my surprise that I was quite piqued that I hadn’t heard from one Jack Bean, Esq.

When he finally called he said that he had been out of town—and wanted a date and was sorry he had put me in stitches. So we dated at first once a week and then twice. And finally I found that I was waiting for his funny phone call.

And slowly it grew. It wasn’t love at first sight, but it started strong and has built from a firm foundation.

I don’t think any girl realizes what emptiness has been until she falls in love. Then all things become clear. For the hunger in every woman is for fulfillment—the fulfillment of warmth, safety, security, and loving and being loved. Love brings the understanding of all the things you’ve missed and didn’t know about before.

I want to be everything to Jack. I know now that to make a man happy, a woman has to be everything to her man. She has to be sweetheart, girl friend, mother, confidante, and a great believer. She has to create a sanctuary that will be his answer to the trials of the fast paced business world.

And as a person, marriage means, to me, being ready with the final “I DO” and really beginning to work—a work, however, with very compensating rewards. A woman cannot afford to let down with herself. She can never allow herself to become fat or untidy or careless in the school of loving and living. She can’t have anything more important to her than her husband.

Jack and I are so much alike and yet so unalike that it’s a comfortable feeling, even though exciting. He is quite levelheaded and I am very impulsive.

We’re both sensitive and little things are important to both of us—good and bad. We can go through a two-hour stretch of being very polite and slightly formal and yet protest that there is nothing wrong. Two hours later the snit will be exposed and invariably it is about a tiny little thing that suddenly seems silly. But Jack and I are confident that we can take the bitter with the better.

I know that in the career department being happily married can only make one’s work profit. And I do feel that an emotionally secure married life will give me a reason for doing perhaps something much finer in my pictures for 20th.

I also plan to take time out from my career to have children. I would first like to have a little boy and I will give him a close crew cut like Jack’s. And I will hope that he grows up to be the man his father is. All I want for any of my kids is to grow up happy and know their place in the world. To share the responsibility and the pleasure of being alive.

When Jack slips the ring on the third finger, left hand and accepts the responsibility for me, I want to accept the same for him. The responsibility of a wife is a subtle thing but just as important.

Yes, when I was very, very young I thought that marriage was a “can’t and have-to” thing with chains on it. I know now that marriage is a chain reaction of “Can and Want to.” I’m a very lucky girl. I got my knight in shining armor—in a tweed suit and a crew cut!





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