There are many theories on how to attract a man. But we think much can be gleaned from the 1946 film noir classic "Gilda," starring Rita Hayworth in the iconic title role. Gilda was a sexy, sassy woman who drove men wild, as did Love Goddess Rita herself, although this role was such a hard act to follow that Rita was later quoted as saying, "Every man I have ever known has fallen in love with Gilda and awakened with me." (What were these men complaining about, exactly?) "Gilda" has endured the test of time, and Rita’s appeal endures, inspiring Steven King to write, “Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption,” and Madonna to sing, “Rita Hayworth gave good face” in her hit, “Vogue.” 57 years after the movie’s release, we honor one of film noir’s most notorious femme fatales with a fun list on making a man so crazy that he will be begging you to so much as toss a glove at him (see Rule #4).
1. Always leave them wanting more. Start by sporting a fabulous wardrobe by a costume designer like Jean Louis, full of body-hugging gowns with Grecian details and smart suits, to show off your assets. Dance provocatively as often as possible, speak in a throaty voice while your eyes look sad, try your luck at gambling (with someone else’s money), and know that years later your co-star will confess the depth of his feelings for you, explaining your insane chemistry. Also, there is no need to wonder which men are bad for you because they will be shown often in dark silhouette.
2. Practice your hair toss. You might need it when your husband asks if you are decent and introduces you to a man you already know, and you must show this man you already know what he has been missing out on. You can also employ the hair toss while dancing and singing in a nightclub, as women wonder if you did in fact have your hairline altered via electrolysis, and then make plans to do it themselves.
3. Marry one man, and then fall in love with another (who was the guy you actually loved first). Pretend that you hate this man from your past, and canoodle with other men in front of him at all hours of the night. When you are given a 50,000 peso piece of jewelry, flaunt your newfound wealth in front of the man you are pretending not to love and call it “cute.” After your husband fakes his death, marry the guy you really love, even though he is marrying you to punish you. When your not-dead husband shows up, continue looking glamorous while knowing that true love will win in the end. After your not-dead husband is fatally stabbed in the back and is out of the picture for real, confess your love to the guy you have loved all along as he reveals his feelings for you.
4. Wear a slinky black dress and gloves. Even better if said slinky black dress is strapless and has a slit that almost reveals the promised land. Master the art of singing (or, for two out of three of your numbers, lip-syncing) while teasingly removing one glove. And at the end of your performance, throw that glove at a man who hasn’t been able to take his eyes off of you while the crowd goes crazy. And when someone later asks you what held your gown up, respond (as Rita Hayworth famously did): “Two things.”
5. Practice the guitar when your life is falling apart. There is a good chance your music will wake up the man you love and he will come to you in a sassy striped bathrobe. Until that moment, pose fetchingly on top of a gaming table, softly waved hair falling around your shoulders, and strum in a way that shows off your toned arms in a sleeveless number. You can make your own playlist for the broken-hearted, including “These Foolish Things,” “One For My Baby,” “In The Wee Small Hours,” and, of course, “Put The Blame On Mame.”
Authors Tracey LaMonica and Lara Scott are on the advisory committee for Old Town Music Hall in El Segundo, CA. See 1946’s Gilda (and watch Rita work that single glove striptease) at Old Town Music Hall on April 5th, 6th, and 7th. For showtimes, ticket prices, and directions, along with a complete schedule of classic films and concerts, visit www.OldTownMusicHall.org.