1950 Memories of Suburban Adventures

Girly Boys

www.pophistorydig.com 'They look like girls!'

‘They look like girls!’

I ended up becoming a pretend swooner and an accidental copycat. Well, the copycat part was a little bit of an accident, a little bit of fate, and a slightly bigger bit of on purpose.

I sat waiting for Madam Farenholtz to come rushing in to French class. Perfectly suited for her job, she sported tight gray Poodle curls.

A photograph clipped from a magazine slowly passed hand-to-hand along the front row. Each girl sighed as it reached her. Hmmm, who or what could it be?

I eagerly grabbed the clipping when it reached me. “Who are they,” I asked.

“You don’t know who the Beatles are?”

I studied the shaggy-haired quartet and wrinkled my nose. “Oh my gosh, are they supposed to be boys? They look like girls,” I said. “Their hair is over the top of their ears.”

And so I was introduced to the Beatles.

They appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show a few days later. By then, I found out every girl in America screamed or fainted upon seeing the mop tops.

The night of the show, I sat on the linoleum floor directly in front of our television, making lovesick moaning sounds so my family would realize I was a teenage girl. I gyrated to their two songs while humming, because I didn’t know the words.

A few weeks later, Sandy came to school wearing a red fake-suede coat with a real raccoon fur collar. On her head was a black real-suede Beatles hat.

A Beatles hat is a puffy jockey cap with a narrow brim and usually has a covered button on top. Worn correctly, it tips slightly to one side. We girls crowded around and complimented Sandy’s fashion sense.

I needed a new coat. Mom took me shopping the following weekend to a discount store specializing in outer wear. On a display rack, in the center of the store, directly in line with the front door, hung duplicates of Sandy’s coat, offered in a choice of three colors. And reasonably priced.

I hadn’t meant to find her coat, it found me. I chose the tan one. I suppose I shouldn’t have selected a Beatles hat too, but I left with a dark brown one.

With a total of thirty-two students in my grade, Sandy’s and my look-alike winter wardrobe was immediately noticeable.

Imitation is supposed to be the sincerest form of flattery, but Sandy was not flattered. That was okay, since I wasn’t trying to be flattering anyway. My goal was to be fashionable and hip, with a load of glamour thrown in for good measure. It wasn’t my fault if Sandy failed to appreciate that our coats and hats were different colors.

I felt like a movie-star as my head nestled against the soft fur of my coat collar.

Lesson learned: Pick either the hat or coat, but not both, or you risk too much imitative flattery. A change of color is not enough of a difference.

Now it’s your turn: What was your first reaction to the Beatles?

© Mary Norton-Miller and 1950s Suburban Adventures, 2012 forward. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Mary Norton-Miller and 1950s Suburban Adventures with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


  1. mikesteeden says:

    You are the time traveler methinks!

    • skinnyuz2b says:

      Ha ha, MS, no time traveler.
      I changed my tune about the appearance of the girly boys pretty darn quickly, due to the influence of my peers. And their music spoke for itself. In a matter of a few months there were girly boys popping up all over our little school. And by the following year, their hair didn’t just cover the tops of their ears.

  2. Mimmy Jain says:

    I do believe this is the worst fashion crime for many. I have personally never minded being in a room with someone who’s wearing an identical outfit to mine — and yes, I have been to a party where the hostess was wearing the exact same top as me. So, my sympathies are with you, Mary, what the hell does it matter?

    • skinnyuz2b says:

      Oh, I had worse experiences than the coat and Beatle hat, Mimmy. I showed up at a wedding wearing the same magenta silk dress as the bridesmaids! And this was in the days of the puffy Princess Diana sleeves. And yes, we all had matching magenta shoes. The only difference was mine were suede and theirs were dyed silk.
      Like you, I just laughed it off and had a great time.

  3. Glynis Jolly says:

    I was probably a little younger than you when I discovered the Beatles. I was eleven years old. I never did the swooning bit but they were my favorite group all during my teenage years.

    BTW, we must be on the same wavelength because my next post that will be published tomorrow contains a little about my love of the Beatles. 🙂

  4. That was my dad’s era, but I remember–hey, they just started playing them (“Don’t Let Me Down”) right now on Pandora (the Neil Young station)–him telling me you were either a Beatles or Stones fan. He said, “I was a dirty white boy, so I liked the Stones.”

    Maybe that’s why I was born on Keith Richards’s b-day?

    • skinnyuz2b says:

      Yes, FP, I liked the Beatles, but agree that I’m a huge Stones fan. Actually I’ve been known to say that for me personally, the Stones and Aerosmith are the two best bands ever. My husband disagrees and says it’s The Eagles. Everyone has their own opinion.
      I have a future post coming about a party in the mid ’60s. The big debate was over who was better – the Beatles or the Dave Clark 5!

  5. News Cruise 60 says:

    Another great one, my dear!


    • skinnyuz2b says:

      Thanks, Ed. Whether the Beatles were your favorite band or not, we all remember our first introduction to them.

      • News Cruise 60 says:

        I had a 9 transistor portable radio I carried everywhere with me. If the baseball game wasn’t on, the Beetles were!

        I still have a CD of about 30-35 original songs which covers their hits from the 1960’s through 1970’s.

        Wow, you were busy reading on the site here yesterday! Thank you so much…always love hearing from you…

        Ed 🙂 🙂

      • skinnyuz2b says:

        Ed, my brother and I each got a transistor radio for Christmas when they first came out. We thought it was marvelous, walking around with a radio that wasn’t attached to an outlet.

  6. Morguie says:

    No comment…born in ’64. lol

    • skinnyuz2b says:

      Oh CJ, it’s so funny that at the time we thought the DC5 and Beatles were equals. That happens now too. At first you just don’t which artist or group will stand the test of time.

      • Morguie says:

        I do know that my daddy hated ‘those longhairs from England’ lol! He blamed them for the ruination of rock and roll as it were over here.

  7. Sunni Morris says:

    I loved the Beatles and the Stones and about all the other English bands. I loved the music and the long hair. Who will ever forget the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan show?

    But I have to say I’ve seen the Stones three times in concert and they can really put on a show – even now – as old rockers.

    • skinnyuz2b says:

      Sunni, I was also a long hair lover, once I got over the initial shock of guys with hair over their ears. I totally embraced my teen and twenties as a full blooded hippy. And I place the Stones at the top of the music pile, for me at least. I just love their music.

      • Sunni Morris says:

        I was a hippy too in those years, wearing the tie dye and bell-bottom jeans, etc. I still have much of that stuff and it still fits, which is amazing. The only jeans I wear are bell-bottoms. I have almost every song that the Stones created – in CD of course. Those were the days. I even went to sit-ins back then.

  8. In spite of seeing them really early on, I didn’t altogether ‘get’ the Beatles – I was much more a Stones and Dillon type. But that was before Eleanor Rigby….

    • skinnyuz2b says:

      Fred – I’m with you on the Stones. I never had a crush on any of them, but loved and still love their music.
      As for the Beatles, all my friends loved Paul or Ringo, so I decided to like George. Less competition.

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