EVERY TIME I thumb through one of my wife’s magazines these days I come across an article on How to Get a Man. What’s the matter? Are men getting hard to get? In my day any girl that showed signs of wanting to get a man would have found herself running too fast to read magazines.
The way I figure it, these articles must be written for a small group of women who are all after the same man -probably some guy who stands six feet two in his polo shoes and clips a coupon with a boyish laugh every time he wants a trip to Sun Valley. For the average guy, who is built closer to the ground and has the personal magnetism of an old sales report, the race is going in the other direction; and if you ask me the editors are getting away from the main point, which is How to Get a Girl.
Any man can do it, if he knows how. Take me, for instance. I started out as the sort of little boy that well-brought-up girls were taught to be little ladies about; and as I grew older I became one of the reasons blind dates went out of fashion. Yet I got a girl. Looking back on how I did it, I realize that one of the first principles I followed was, to dig up an old phrase handed down to me by my grandfather: “Faint heart ne’er won fair
Don’t let the scent of mothballs fool you—it’s still good advice. It might come as a shock to you, son, but a woman looks out at the world from behind that spell-binding camouflage of eye-shadow and long lashes with the realism of a Faro dealer. Not that she’s to blame. She knows with a woman’s intuition what’s ahead for her. She’s watched her
mother work five times as hard as her father, get along on a personal allowance that would make a sitter sneer, and sit alone while Pop was out organizing mixed quartets at the Old Forty-Fourth Old Boys Recreation Centre. And she knows better than you do that life is real and rugged.
She doesn’t exactly think of all this as you walk up to her at a party with a tray of anchovies. But she subconsciously knows that any guy who folds up just because, at first sight of him, her smile sags like a damp curl, isn’t going to stay the distance when things get rough and the finance company calls for the dining-room suite. On the other hand, she knows that any guy who stays in there pitching (a) probably thinks enough of her to stick around dull evenings, (b) may have enough determination to make something of himself. Women aren’t opposed to dull men. They’re only opposed to dull men who'never get anywhere. They know that most guys who can clip coupons get bald gathering things to clip them off and seldom say anything more brilliant than “You’re fired,” or maybe “Cash this cheque.”
The point is, don’t be too quick to rate yourself a flop. On the other hand, don’t get over-confident. Remember, she may be more satisfied with you than you think, but that doesn’t mean she isn’t going to try to improve the situation. A woman picks a man the way she shops: the first article
she’s shown is just something to keep in mind while she looks around for a better deal. Keep a few tricks in reserve. Don’t start telling her the first night that her eyes are like limpid pools of something. As soon as she knows you feel that way she’ll go on to find Continued on page 46
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Getting a Woman
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out what some other guy thinks they look like. Women collect things like that the way they collect snapshots.
Surround yourself with a certain air of mystery. There’s no stronger instinct in a woman than curiosity, and she’ll let you hang around just to find out what else there is to find out about you. Don’t be too quick to let her meet your family and friends, who know all about you. I remember I lost one girl that way. I kept her in a state of romantic excitement for months by just looking into space, smiling and letting a muscle twitch in my jaw. I had her guessing whether I was the illegitimate grandson of a czar or an undercover agent just back from starting a Balkan war.
Then I met her on the street one day when I was with my mother, who told her that I’d been losing weight ever since I’d been made assistant manager of the tie department, and would she please try to talk me into drinking more milk.
Don’t let rivals worry you too much. There’ll always be a couple of other guys. She’ll drop casual remarks about how they took her to a restaurant where they charge twenty-five dollars to light the candles. But don’t forget, these guys are taking lunches to work trying to save up for the next time, and worrying about you, whom she has described as a mad playboy just ashore a few days while his yacht is being scraped down for another coat of paint. The mistake in dealing with rivals is trying to compete with them with your weak points. If all a suit of clothes means to you is a book of payment coupons and protection from the wind, don’t try competing with somebody who really knows how to dress.
Lots of girls marry men who have to be browbeaten into getting a haircut, and who wear a hat until it looks like an inverted dog bed. If you dance as if you were shouldering your way through a series of stuck doors, don’t start off by inviting her to a ball. Take her some place where you have to sit down, such as the theatre. If you look like an ad for Pablum in a bathing suit, keep away from docks where guys with muscles are doing standing-sitting half gainers all over the place. Get her inland somewhere; fishing, for instance. If you can’t fish . . . Look, son, you’ve got be able to do something.
And on the nights when you find yourself alone under a moon or in a deserted living room before the fireplace, tafife it easy. The thing is to strike just the right balance. If you get too enthusiastic you’re liable to scare her off. On the other hand, if you sit there with her practically falling apart with allure, and plod on talking about how you won first prize in an owl-stuffing contest, she’s liable to think you’re a guy without any spirit of enterprise.
The last thing, of course, and the most important, is not how to get a girl but what girl to get. Don’t forget, some of the most glamorous women, once they get a man, toss away their Tabu, their eyelashes and their lovelier, lovelier self with a dull plop and start hollering: “JUST EXACTLY
WHERE WERE YOU WHEN I CALLED THE OFFICE?” Whereas Doris Gulch, who used to live behind a welding shop and whose mother’s idea of culture was to mix her popcorn with her gum so that it wouldn’t crack, often turns out to be the kind of woman all men like to be married to.
There’s not much you can do about this: you won’t know what you want in a wife till after you’ve got one. if
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