What It Was REALLY Like To Be A Barbizon Girl In 1960s New York City

Photo: weheartit
 1960s New York City
Love, Heartbreak

Men weren't permitted anywhere in the hotel except the lobby.

They say it's a woman's prerogative to change her mind. When it came to dating, that was certainly my motto. I had lots of chutzpah when I was in my teens and twenties, evidenced by several of my dates.

It all began while I was living at The Barbizon Hotel for Women in New York City. Men weren't permitted anywhere in the hotel except the lobby. So when my dates would arrive to pick me up, they would call my room from the lobby.

If it was someone I hadn't dated before, I'd ask a friend to answer my phone and tell him I was away from my room for a minute. Then I'd race to the mezzanine and carefully peek over the railing so I could see him, but he couldn't see me. If I liked what I saw, I'd go back to my room, grab my purse, and meet him in the lobby.

If I changed my mind, I'd go back to my room or leave the hotel through the coffee shop. One time as I was coming back to the hotel through the coffee shop, the date confronted me. But it still didn't stop me from doing it over and over again.

I certainly have a ton of stories about dashing from dates, and here's some of the best:

1. The time my friend and I ditched a double date...

I fixed up a friend and we had dates with two guys who were roommates. They wanted to impress us by making dinner. We met them at their apartment, a four story walk-up.

While we were sitting in the living room waiting for the guys who were in the kitchen making our drinks, I turned to my friend and whispered, "Are you having a good time?" She shook her head no. I replied, "Then let's GO!" And before you could say "Jack Robinson," we jumped out of our chairs and flew down four flights of stairs. We raced down the street, laughing so hard, until we were certain we were out of their sight.

2. The time I got matched up with a clown...

Obsessed with finding "Mr. Right," I decided to try computer dating, which was the trend in New York City in the mid-1960's, even though computers didn't technically exist yet. After sending in my five dollars, I impatiently waited for the names of three men to arrive in the mail. The day I received them, I called each one and set up times to meet. After meeting the first two, I wondered how they could've been matched with me.

Not wanting to waste any more time on dates that didn't work out, I spoke on the telephone to the last guy for over two hours. We had a good rapport and his voice sounded sexy.

We decided to meet that night at a bar around the corner from The Barbizon. I took a friend along for moral support. We sat at the bar and waited just a short time before I heard someone call my name.

I turned around expecting to see Prince Charming; instead, I saw a man that looked like Clarabell the Clown with three clumps of red hair on his head, one clump on each side and another clump on top of his head the rest was bald. Shocked and disappointed, I quickly turned to my girlfriend and we talked until we were certain he had left the bar.

3. The time I pulled off two dates in one night...

On other occasions, some friends who also lived at the Barbizon often went home to Connecticut, and sometimes asked me to join them. On one of those weekends I had an unusual dilemma two dates in the same night.

My first date was a guy I knew, but wasn't wild about, so I pretended I had a cold when we went out that night and soon after asked him to take me back to my friend's house. Within minutes, my second date arrived. It was an incredibly close call.

4. The time I left my date with someone who wasn't my date...

On another night, I had a date with my friend's very handsome cousin who was going to Columbia University. He had a cold that night, so asked me to come to his apartment which he shared with a few other guys. As soon as I arrived, he took me straight to his room and expected me to sleep with him. I was offended and left immediately. Today, he's a prominent attorney in Connecticut.

Still living at The Barbizon, I re-connected with an old boyfriend from high school. He was now a midshipman at Annapolis and called to tell me that he was going to be at West Point for the weekend as part of an exchange program; he wanted me to be his date. I'd been dating West Point cadets and loved it there, so I was looking forward to that weekend.

When I met him at West Point, he looked so sharp in his uniform. That weekend there was a huge dance with a band and it was wild. In all the commotion, my date and I got separated. I met a West Pointer I liked and we left the dance to go to Kissing Rock. The midshipman and I never spoke again.

5. The time I drove over 200 miles back home because I didn't like my date...

Speaking of midshipmen, I met another one while walking by a restaurant on Broadway. I noticed him sitting in a booth with another man. They weren't in uniform, but I recognized them by their military chins. I had a lot of chutzpah then, walked into the restaurant and asked them if they went to West Point. They said they were midshipmen at Annapolis.

I gave the one I liked the best my phone number and address, and we wrote to each other. Soon after that he invited me to Annapolis and I fixed up my girlfriend with one of his friends.

After we arrived, I was surprised to learn that they reserved one hotel room in Washington, D.C. for the four of us. When we told them we had no intention of sleeping with them, the date ended abruptly. We left immediately and drove back to New York City that night.

6. The time I ditched my date's super-awkward weekend vacation...

I dated another guy for a while who was a collegiate wrestling champ. Our relationship was pretty platonic, mostly dinner dates to the New York Athletic Club and Benihana (he knew the owner from wrestling). One weekend, he invited me to go to a resort in New Jersey with his family.

After we arrived and I was settling in my room, he sat down and began expressing his love for me. I didn't feel the same way and had to tell him so. The tension in the room was so uncomfortable after that conversation I decided not to stay for the weekend and went home.

7. The time I dined and dashed...

While working in the legal department of a Fortune 100 company in Toledo, Ohio, I received a call from the receptionist who was a friend of mine. She asked if one of my co-workers and I would be interested in going to dinner that night with two salesmen who were from out of town.

I was in my twenties and thought, why not? So, we arranged to meet them around 5 PM at a restaurant. While we were sitting in the lounge waiting for our table, the guys' conversation started getting a little off color, which made us very uneasy.

So, when the hostess told us our table was ready, the men followed her to our table. I looked at my friend and whispered "Let's RUN!" We then ran to my car as if our feet were on fire and sped out of there. We never heard from them again.

8. The time I ditched my date who ditched me...

My next victim invited me to be his date for a Labor Day weekend party on his boat. When I arrived for the weekend, my date acted like the perfect host, but not the perfect date. He didn't spend any time with me.

I waited an hour or two to see if he would change, and when he didn't, I didn't say a word and simply walked off the boat while he was being Mr. Hospitality.

9. The time I pretended not to notice my date...

It was at my friend's party that I met her cousin, an interesting guy in a hippie sort of way. He asked me to read the lyrics of a Cat Stevens song and tell him what I thought it meant. I gave him my best shot and he told me I was right.

That was all it took to win him over. I made the mistake of telling him where I was going next because he followed me to the club. Once inside I pretended not to see him and lost him.

10. The time my date talked so fast that I had to leave...

When I lived in Boca Raton, Florida there was a man who worked for the same company as me who also lived in my apartment complex. One night I had a date with him to see an opera. We didn't hold hands all evening and I thought he acted indifferent. So I was surprised when we got back to the apartment complex that he invited me in for a drink.

I took no more than two sips of iced tea and heard him speed-talk, "Do you want to stay the night?" He spoke so fast that I could barely make out the words. I quickly fired back, "No!" and that was the end of that date.

I admit, ditching some of these dates was exhilarating at the time, but I don't recommend it. I also admit I was superficial and while trying to cut my losses early, I unintentionally hurt some feelings.

Fortunately, I'm no longer that brazen, mischievous girl. Marriage, motherhood and menopause have calmed me down and I've been living a mainstream existence ever since.



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