8 Dating Tips From A World War II Man About Town

credit: Marisa DeMarco
credit: Marisa DeMarco

“Two girls, two dates, same night, and same movie. I was sitting with one for some time and made the excuse to see my cousin so I could get up to spend time with the other. In fact, I made arrangements to meet both girls there and I didn’t even have to pay for their tickets. Thank goodness there was a balcony area so they were quite apart—one upstairs and one downstairs,” Joey reflected. At the time, he was 17 years old and one of the most charming, handsome, and eligible bachelors that most girls would try to get a date with.

“Brooklyn pre-war and post war combined, I must have gone out on 75 dates easily. I used to do service calls in all different neighborhoods. Two or three times a week I would go out on two or three dates; especially in the summer when all the girls were outside sitting on their stoops. At times I would date girls living on different floors in the same tenement.” Very studious and hard working, Joey graduated from high school two years earlier. From the age of ten, he began working alongside his father in the family refrigeration business. He was even accepted to Cornell University. But he declined a full scholarship as per his mother’s request who didn’t want him away from home. Sure enough a year later, he was drafted to serve his country during World War II.

“In the army, whenever I had free time I was on a date. I would find someone and take them out. I was never denied because I always treated the girls with respect. But I wasn’t interested in settling down…I wanted to have fun. Calculate that I was in the army two years and 8 months and served from various American cities to the Western Pacific. By war’s end, I was in the Philippines. Roughly 150-200 dates.” Joey also used to take photographs on an army tank and write the names of girls in chalk. After snapping the photo, he would erase the name, and write another one. This was his mode of flirtatious correspondences with some of them.

“By the age of 23, I was ready to commit because I was tired of going out on countless dates and wanted to raise a family. I knew her four years prior before going to the army and never took her out. It wasn’t until I returned, that she caught my eye.” He was captivated by her personality, poise, and her looks (also her shape closely resembled that of Actress Lana Turner). But after they got married he appreciated that she could whip up his favorite steak and potatoes, keep an immaculate home while raising their children, and loved to treat her as his queen until her passing after 62 years of marriage.

Although years have passed, at 88 years old my grandpa Joey’s advice can be interpreted and applied to contemporary courtship and commitment. When he finally found “the one” in which he devoted his life, my grandmother became his darling wife.

1. Go out with a few individuals to decide whom you are compatible with. After you choose the one you want to be your partner, date exclusively for a few months to see if you’re still compatible.

2. Try different dating activities such as dancing, movies, performances, getting cocktails, restaurants, and sports events. This will help evaluate if you both have the same interests. Otherwise if there are too many conflicting ones, then that may not be the right choice of partner.

3. When you’re out with other couples, friends, and spending time with family and relatives, it’s important to evaluate how your partner fits with your most intimate circle and vice versa.

4. When dating, you should note if your partner takes pride in his/her appearance, as it’s a gesture of respect. Of course you should approach it the same way, too.

5. If you’re not feeling well for some reason, your partner should be understanding and willing to spend a quiet evening together at home.

6. During the WWII era, intimacy was supposed to be sparse. It was not expected until later on with further commitment. This can actually be applied today to understand fully who you are dating before jumping into fast passion.

7. When out on a date together it’s important to maintain conversation; spend the evening talking. When there is a crowd, a person may be more upbeat and expansive. But together they may be quiet or even sullen, which could be a warning that his/her personality changes drastically.

8. Above all, after you make a final commitment (after engagement and marriage), always treat your partner with love and respect. No matter how tough things are, always kiss goodnight before going to sleep. TC mark

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