BOBBY DARIN and I are not about to be married. We're not engaged, and at least as far as I'm concerned, we're not in love. Our friendship has been too brief for that and after being hurt a couple of times, I no longer believe in falling in love at first sight. We are good friends, in spite of the little time we have spent together and I think as highly of Bobby as of anyone else in this town.
We first met at the Slate Brothers Club on the Hollywood strip, about six months ago. I had gone there with Nino Tempo, and Bobby was there with his agent, who happened to know Nino. He brought Bobby over and introduced us to one another. Frankly, from what I had heard about him, I wasn't sure what to expect. All that I can say now is that he turned out to be a pleasant surprise. In many ways he is different from most of the boys I know. He dresses simply and casually. He doesn't drink except for an occasional glass of wine. He's insistent about paying his own bills. In fact, when the party broke up that evening there was such a hassle for the checks that two glasses of water were spilled all over the table in the process!
We met again a short time later, at a cocktail party in Hollywood. This time we had a chance to talk a great deal more and I felt we really became acquainted. Again, I found a trait in Bobby that is somewhat unusual. I am sure that with Bobby's kind of personality he must have had an awful lot of girlfriends before he met me. Yet he never talked about them. He did tell me, though, about the time he was marooned in the middle of Lake Mead. While he was in Las Vegas the day before, Bobby had borrowed a boat to go fishing. Somewhere in the middle of the lake, the motor suddenly stopped running. Although he knew nothing about motors he opened the engine hatch and kept fiddling with it but it still wouldn't start. Finally, Bobby just gave up and sat and waited. About half an hour later a speedboat raced up to him. Bobby told rescuers his troubles and they discovered the source: He'd lost his propeller! There was nothing they could do about it except pull him to shore.
The third time I met Bobby we really got acquainted and just about a week later he asked me over to his new house off the Strip in Hollywood. It's a small Spanish-type building, homey but in no way extravagant.
I was reassured by his sense of humor within five seconds after I entered the house. "So you had to wear high heels," he burst out. I couldn't suppress a smile. Somehow, I always seem to end up with a thin Latin type shorter than I am. At least Bobby isn't shorter (he's about one inch taller) and I do feel free to wear high heels when I'm with him. Unlike a lot of other boys I know, however, he's not self conscious about his height. On the contrary, he is as self-assured as anyone I've ever met.
Coming back to the first evening we spent together at his house (which, incidentally, he shares with his manager), he told me that he was still busy getting settled. I offered to help and he promptly accepted my offer. As a result of my enthusiasm I found myself moving around furniture with him for the next two hours. Not only that, but I ended up taking his dictation, washing dishes, and doing everything but making the beds! But he was so sweet about it, I really didn't mind.
Bobby is very, very straight in his approach to life. Right now his prime interest is his work and he talks about it with frank evaluation. At the same time he is not an egocentric who talks about nothing else. He was interested in my career, my life, and my background, and turned out to be one of the few people with whom I could talk freely and easily. We have not been together terribly often, but when we were, I enjoyed nothing more than to hear him sing. His musical taste is impeccable yet somehow even listening to other records in his company is more fun than anything I've ever known.
What surprised me most about Bobby--particularly after watching him on stage--is the fact that while he seems so self-assured when he is performing, he is almost shy when he is alone with a girl. At least he was with me. The time he wanted my phone number, for instance, he hardly could get himself to ask for it. The evening he kissed me goodnight for the first time he walked me to the car and gave me a quick peck on the forehead before I knew it. Then he hastily said goodnight and rushed back to his house.
Before he left Los Angeles the last time, he asked me to come and visit him at the Arizona State Fair. Frankly, I would have liked to have gone very much but was too busy, career-wise, to leave town. He promised he would call me as soon as he came back. When he did, I didn't believe it was he!
After word had gotten around that Bobby and I were dating, I began receiving telephone calls from many people pretending to be Bobby. I don't know why they seemed to get such a delight out of it, but they did. One voice I recognized: a boy I used to date. Frankly, I think he was jealous! I don't even know how the others got my phone number. Anyway, when Bobby himself finally called I almost hung up.
"How can I prove to you that it's really me?" he cried out.
I hesitated. "Sing something," I finally suggested.
He sang a couple of lines from Mack the Knife and I knew that nobody could imitate that. Needless to say I was glad to know he was back in Los Angeles.
What will the future hold for Bobby and me? As far as I can tell right now-good, lasting friendship, I hope.
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