I also jointly dedicate today’s song to Suzanne Ross and Christina Kiely. Both Suzanne and Christina live in the county of my birth, County Waterford in Ireland, and they also celebrate their birthdays today. Have a smashing day, Suzanne and Christina, and thank you for being my Facebook friend. As you live in the same city and share birthdays, why not befriend each other, and mark your special day as the day when you made a new Waterford friend?
My song today is from the era of the Beatles, ‘Love Me Do’. This was the Beatles’ debut single that was backed by ‘P.S, I Love You’. The single was originally released in the United Kingdom in October 1962. It peaked at Number 17. In 1982 it was re-promoted (not re-issued, retaining the same catalogue number) and reached Number 4. It was released in the United States in 1964, where it became a Number 1 hit.
This song was released one month before my twentieth birthday. I knew that I was planning to emigrate to Canada in December 1963 and although I was still at the height of my ‘romantic years’, I was determined not to get emotionally attached to any young woman who might steal my heart. My greatest trouble ever since I first began involuntarily reacting to the anatomical difference between girls and boys was that I could not stop myself falling in love with every beautiful young woman I ever came across or dated. How was I able to fall in love with the beautiful young women yet remain emotionally detached, I hear you ask?
I was living in the early 1960s and was constantly surrounded in the dance halls by beautiful nubile young women. While all were out to have a good night of dancing and pleasure, the majority of young women were also looking for a long-term mate. Most young women over 18 years wanted to get married to a decent young man who would be a good husband and father and provider for their family. This was the time when most young people were married by their 21st year and were often parents of two children before their 25th birthday. The greatest insult that a twenty-three-year-old unmarried woman could receive in 1960 was to be called ‘an old maid’ or suggest that she must have the feminine traits of ‘an ice maiden’.
The easiest way that young women could attract good-looking young men was as it had always been; through their sensuality. But making her catch was only the first part. She then had to ensure that she kept her young man dangling until he ‘popped the question’ and placed an engagement ring on her hand, enabling the parents of each to plan for the happy day. The surest way any young woman could keep her young man who was hungry for love was to continue to feed his manly appetite without letting himself gorge himself! Those young women who knew how best to play the courtship/marriage stakes were the ones who knew when to ‘give up enough’ to retain his interest without ‘giving it all up’ before their wedding night! It is what my mother used to mean when she spoke about being given the promise of everything with the reality of very little.
I always found that the easiest way that I could attract a young woman of my choice was to never ‘come on too strong’ on our first date or any subsequent meeting, but instead, to hold back on any serious physical contact, and focus upon developing mental contact in order to establish a meeting of minds. However, none of this mattered the slightest unless one used the most important communication skill of all; that of listening.
Many of my mates might have viewed my approach to getting a woman as being ‘a bit naff’, but as far as I was concerned, the proof of the pudding was in the eating. I was a handsome young man, but no Adonis, and I had several male friends who were better looking than I was. Yet, I got more than my fair share of the beautiful young women, so I knew that I must have been doing something right that they were not always doing.
Looking back today on my courting strategy, I can more readily recognise that my years between 12-16 years of age had made me grow up before my time. By the time I was 16 years old, I was undoubtedly mature for my age, highly presentable, and at ease in both company and conversation with people of both sexes who were much older than me. I was interested in many things that most of my peers would have considered 'too old' to be in a young man's mind, and far too highbrow. None of my reading material would ever have been picked off the bookshelves by my mates. Although, not exclusively so, but from my 18th year onward, I would prefer to go out with women a few years older than myself.
Between the ages of 15 and throughout the rest of my life, I have never once been without a beautiful girlfriend, lover, partner, or wife for more than a few weeks, unless I chose to be. Without knowing precisely why that was so at the time, I am better aware now. At the time, I initially followed my gut instinct whenever engaged in promoting female relationships. What I considered as being no more than mere ‘common sense’ before I had attained the age of twenty involved the use of psychology far more than I realised then; indeed, I employed a degree of psychology not practiced or aware of by many men in their interactions with women today.
The most common concept of young men about the opposite sex during the 1960s (which was unequal, unfair, and unjust) was that there were two stereotypes of young women. The first kind was the type with whom you had fun and sowed your wild oats. The second kind was the type of young woman you brought home for afternoon tea on a Sunday and eventually married! Even a young man’s parents advocated this concept. The first young woman who I ever brought home and introduced to my parents, I married a few years later.
By my late teens, I had already discovered three important things whenever dating that made the young women enjoy the date more and feel ‘special’ in my company. Generally, both types of young women appreciated being able to get their fair share of the conversation. All people like to talk about themselves, and their views, likes, and dislikes; and women are no different. Therefore, women appreciated being listened to by their male date. Second, while the ‘fun’ type of young woman appreciated having her body and overall appearance positively commented on and complimented by her boyfriend, the second type of woman (who would invariably hold out for marriage) was flattered more when it was her intelligence that the man complimented. Third and most important to me, was to ‘be true to myself’ and to remain above board with any young women I dated, and not mislead them. I found out that young women could accept you willingly as a ‘fun date’ with a bit of ‘How’s your father’ on the side, providing you were upfront and truthful and made them feel good about themselves, interacted with them respectfully, and made them feel happy to be in your company.
So, I always made it perfectly clear after my first date with every young woman I went out with that I intended to spend the better part of the following decade as 'a single man' and that it was my intention to live in Canada and travel around Canada and parts of the U.S.A. before I got married and settled down with a family. Therefore, however much I liked them or however well we seemed to be getting on, I would not allow myself to get emotionally involved with anyone. The bottom line was that most young women seemed happy to date me or become my dancing partner for a short while, with the knowledge that any mutual physical contact between us would always be of the ‘spontaneous’ type and would only take place by ‘mutual consent’.
I will not deceive you by saying that some young women who tentatively agreed to this arrangement did not hope to emotionally involve me more once they got to know me better, and presumably like me more. So, I would have to admit that feelings were sometimes hurt ‘inadvertently’ on the occasions that the young woman who I was dating began to want more out of our relationship than was ever on offer. That is often the emotional consequence of ‘falling in love’ when you are a teenager. Teenager’s feelings are invariably too intense, and their soreness remains too raw for far too long whenever wounded. It is as though their hearts break more easily with the unrealistic expectations that spring from living on ‘Cloud 9’.They come down to earth with too much of a bump!
Hence, I would rarely date any young woman into the second month of our relationship. I needed ‘to fall in love’ without the emotional consequences associated with ‘being in love’. So, by ending all my dating relationships after one month of contact only, I was able to ‘fall out of love’ with my previous girlfriend so that I could then ‘fall into love’ with my new girlfriend.
Today, many female readers would probably consider my behaviour in 1960 as being too cold, too cruel, and too calculating. in my defence, all I can say is that was the era of my generation; and I always prided myself of never deliberately intending to cause hurt or deceiving any young woman I dated as to my intentions.
Love and peace