It was 1960 when Connie Francis was signed for the film, Where the Boys Are, a movie that marked the end of the innocence of youth, 1950s style.
The plaintive yearning of the song as she sung it was well known to young girls of that era, girls who wouldn’t say blow job out loud, even if it was what they did with their steady boyfriends in the back seat of an old car. That longing for the fairy tale of true love was not only a hallmark of the movie, but a hallmark of an entire generation. Our generation and maybe half a generation before us.
Every little girl longed for true love and had faith, even, that she would find her true love. I know I took it for granted that one day I’d meet my own true love. I never doubted it. It was a given of our generation, that we’d partner up with a boy and live happily ever after.
In reality, though, it was a bit more complicated than that.
Young girls who had feelings for other girls had no idea what to do with them and how to deal with the fact that what they desired didn’t fit the fairy tale norms of the day.
Women who longed to do something other than raise children could be spinsters, maybe, and nurses and secretaries. Ambitions greater than that were uncommon.
Women who wanted to do something in addition to raising children had no access to childcare, not unless their mothers lived nearby.
The innocence of youth back then seems almost impossible when we look at our world today. When we were young, our horizons were limited and our view was blurred by the mores of the day.
I don’t know, was it so bad? The strides made by feminists and by a changing world brought about more opportunities for women, and that’s a good thing.
But we paid a price for that, we did, and when I look around I have to ask myself if it was worth it.
Because in the complex world of the 21st century, the safe haven of innocence looks like a good place to be.
The song’s here if you’d like to hear it. I’ll bet you didn’t know Neil Sedaka co-wrote it.