So you think you’re dating a silent film star: A modern teen’s guide

December 3, 2014 at 1:00 pm (Top Ten) (, , , , , , , , , )

Modern teens should love silent films and silent film stars more, don’t you think? That way, they’d know for sure if you’re dating one of these fabulous superstars of the 1920s:

1. Is your girlfriend known as “The Girl with Beestung Lips”? People in the ’20s came up with terrible nicknames, didn’t they? Anyway, Mae Murray was a super-famous movie star for several years and, if you ever asked her, she would insist she was always and would always be a super-famous movie star, even when she was sleeping on a park bench. Poor Mae Murray.

Beestung? Maybe. Pursed? Definitely.

Beestung? Maybe. Pursed? Definitely.

2. Does your boyfriend get mocked mercilessly by jealous journalists? Then you’re dating Rudolph Valentino, who was sometimes called “The Pink Powder Puff,” because 1920s reporters hated the guys that got all the ladies.

ESPECIALLY if they were Italian.

ESPECIALLY if they were Italian.

3. Maybe your girlfriend is called “America’s Sweetheart.” Mary Pickford was called that, despite being Canadian by birth, because Americans loved her the most.

She was, literally, the most famous person in the world for a good decade.

She was, literally, the most famous person in the world for a good decade.

4. Perhaps your boyfriend has a propensity for action and adventure, and being shirtless in an era where most people didn’t even admit they had chests. Then, you lucky soul, you’re dating Douglas Fairbanks. Don’t tell Mary Pickford, though.

Nobody had any problem with Doug Fairbanks' upper body, though. For some reason.

Nobody had any problem with Doug Fairbanks’ upper body, though. For some reason.

They were such a famous couple, they were probably called Dairy or Mug, or some other stupid portmanteau.

They were such a famous couple, they were probably called Dairy or Mug, or some other stupid portmanteau.

5. Does your girlfriend totally have a secret thing for D.W. Griffith? Lillian Gish totally had a secret thing for and/or with D.W. Griffith. Also, it wasn’t very secret.

Later, the Smashing Pumpkins used her (and sister Dorothy's) last name to title their debut album. Trivia!

Later, the Smashing Pumpkins used her (and sister Dorothy’s) last name to title their debut album. Trivia!

6. Your boyfriend is suffering from a crippling morphine addiction, which will end in tragedy. Wallace Reid suffered from a crippling morphine addiction, which ended in tragedy!

He died young and then his wife went on to make a series of educational movies about drugs, so it's harder to say which is the real tragedy.

He died young and then his wife went on to make a series of educational movies about drugs, so it’s harder to say which is the real tragedy.

7. Your girlfriend is a total diva. She was such a diva, she was the obvious choice to star in Sunset Boulevard decades later.

In the best dictionaries, when you look up "diva," it just says: "See Swanson, Gloria."

In the best dictionaries, when you look up “diva,” it just says: “See Swanson, Gloria.”

8. Your boyfriend looks better without a mustache. Everyone looks better without a mustache, but especially John Gilbert, because why did ladies want him hiding part of his face like that?

Stupid Internet, having all these damn mustache pictures.

Stupid Internet, having all these damn mustache pictures.

9. Your girlfriend’s so famous, she doesn’t even need a first name! In your faces, Cher and Madonna: Nazimova went by Nazimova and, damn, did she work it.

Also, "Alla" is kind of a silly first name anyway.

Also, “Alla” is kind of a silly first name anyway.

10. Your boyfriend is Ramon Novarro, because I ran out of clever things to say. He was too sweet to out-seduce Valentino, and too gay to out-seduce John Gilbert, but nobody cared because he had that face.

And a tiny little puppy on his shoulder! Squeeeee!

And a tiny little puppy on his shoulder! Squeeeee!

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