Two recycled stories about male behavior and character. As perceived by women on dates. They may sound disparate but they share a theme, which is that women respect guys who are frank and don’t shilly-shally around.

When Elaine Stritch died 18 months ago I posted a story she recounts about John F. Kennedy in Chiemi Karasawa‘s Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me. It happened in Manhattan in the late 1940s. She was about 23 or 24 at the time, and wouldn’t be losing her virginity, believe or not, until she was 30. They had a nice first date and then went out a second time. When they got back to her place she said, “Do you want to come up for a nightcap?” Kennedy said, “Does that mean what I think it might mean, or does it mean listening to records and looking at photo albums and eating butterscotch pudding?” “It means butterscotch pudding,” Stritch said. “Well, no offense but I’m not interested in that,” JFK replied, “so I’ll just kiss you good night and wish you well and see you the next time.”

And Stritch said to herself when she got upstairs, “That guy is going places. He wants what he wants, lays it on the line, doesn’t mince words and is courteous but frank.”

The second story was passed along in the late ’70s by Sarah, at the time a 20something girlfriend. She’d been travelling around Europe with a girlfriend, but the friend went home early and somehow Sarah wound up on a train to Vienna with this nice guy she was starting to like. They had decided to split a hotel room (two American lambs alone in a large European city), but Sarah was certain she didn’t want to seal the deal that night and was feeling a bit anxious about whether the guy might make a move. They found a room with a pair of twin beds. Things were going nicely enough but Sarah wasn’t 100% comfortable. Then the guy went into the bathroom, and what Sarah heard through the door relaxed her for the first time. The guy was attending to #1, she deduced, but he ran both sink faucets to camoflauge the sound.

Sarah was only 22 or so, but when she heard those faucets she knew. “This guy is no threat,” she said. “He’s malleable, he can be handled.”

Honestly? Sarah’s story hit home because I’m a faucet-runner myself.