“I like intelligent women. When you go out, it shouldn't be a staring contest.” That’s something Frank Sinatra said and it’s a great line no matter how you look at it. On the surface, it’s Rat Pack clever and cool, designed to make someone chuckle, but it also tells something about Ol’ Blue Eyes, a man who could, and often did, enjoy the company of nearly any woman, in that he’d rather be able to relate to his companion on a level beyond how they look.
A look at his marriages shows he was likely telling the truth with this quip. Whether his first love, Nancy Barbato or his last with Barbara Marx, he clearly wasn’t after the next shiny starlet to cross his path. Even his actress-brides, Ava Gardner and Mia Farrow, were clearly not strictly chosen for their good looks.
This past week would have marked the 41st anniversary for Barbara and Frank and they clearly had a marriage, unconventional or not, that worked. I tried to think of a Sinatra song that summed up their relationship and even though there seems to be an innumerable amount to choose from, I think maybe I found it: My Heart Stood Still.
The song is pointedly meandering, but conveys a sense of calmness amidst the emotionally charged lyrics. It’s a style Frank mastered and nobody could come close to replicating. He sings, “I took one look at you, that's all I meant to do. And then my heart stood still,” and I can’t help but think that that’s what he must have felt when he chose the woman who would both take his breathe away and bring some sense of order into his life.
And, you know what? I can certainly relate because I sure did knock one out of the park when I married Leslie. Sure, I can stare at her all night, but she’s also kind of fun to talk to too.