“I am a rebel in romance. I don’t believe women are designed to be weak and passive—essentially prey—while male suitors boldly select the gazelles of their choice.” – Charlotte Laws
Charlotte’s first date with Tom Jones….
I felt like a princess. It was my first trip in a limo and a far cry from bumping along in a skittish, old Ford Mustang. Inside the discotheque, we found dark gray couches, upbeat music, and an Egyptian ambiance. We were escorted through brown vinyl ropes to a VIP section, which was elevated a step above the rest of the room.
“Is that your wife?” an intoxicated man shouted at Tom from outside the VIP ropes.
“No,” Tom said.
“Is that your woman?”
“Yes,” Tom answered.
Oh my God, I thought. I’m his woman. I had no idea. I tried to act calm, but was inwardly ecstatic. The intoxicated man leaned closer to Tom and prattled on about something, in addition to accidentally dumping half his drink onto the carpet. I could not make out his words, but I was impressed with the clear effort Tom made to be polite. In my head, I was making a comparison between Tom’s maturity and kindness, and the juvenile and shameless actions of some Lovett boys who, for example, beat up and ridiculed younger kids. Lloyd and John eventually hustled the drunken man away from Tom.
The discothèque was dark, but I could faintly see my reflection in a bronze mirror adjacent to the couch. When I saw my face, I suddenly freaked out, but again this was happening inside my body. Tom and his entourage had no idea. My panic had to do with the fact that I would surely have to make a decision that night about whether or not to stay with Tom. I had never had sex, and had no idea what I was going to do “when” he propositioned me. It was not a question of “if”; I was certain it was “when.”
Charlotte’s third date with Tom Jones…
The Peachtree Plaza Hotel looked like a resplendent rocket bursting from the earth. It was Atlanta’s tallest building until 1987. Inside this glass-clad, phallic symbol were sophisticated furnishings and affluent clientele; and at midnight on my nineteenth birthday in 1979, Tom and his entourage were in a suite waiting for me.
“You look like you’re ready to get married,” Tom quipped as I entered.
He gave me a kiss, and I dropped my bulky suitcase, which fell to the floor with a thud. His marriage comment referred to my white lace handkerchief dress, which I had purchased directly out of Cosmpolitan magazine. It was the only time I bought blindly without having an inkling as to fit. To my astonishment, it was perfect upon arrival.
“Do you think you packed enough? I’m only here for one night.” Tom flashed a boyish smile, and eyed my oversized bag which could have held three small children.
“I thought it was a night and a day,” I joked back. “You mean I didn’t need to pack those eighteen pairs of jeans?”
Freddie, Lloyd, and Mark were present. An alluring chocolate cake and some plates were on a catering cart in the corner.
“We’re celebrating your birthday and Lloyd’s birthday,” Tom said as he disappeared into his bedroom with my bag.
He reemerged five minutes later and snuggled up close to me on the couch. “My manager, Gordon Mills, is in town. He’ll be dropping by tonight.”
“Really? I’ve always wanted to meet him,” I said.
“Why do you want to meet him?” Tom seemed bothered. “Are you interested in him instead of me?”
“Of course not.” I looked at Tom as if he had packed eighteen pairs of jeans. “I’m only interested in meeting him because of you.”
Tom was humble and often expressed bewilderment as to why women were attracted to him. “I cannot understand it” were his usual words. I was bewildered as to how he could be bewildered, and told him so.