Q: Dollie, I have a question for you! I am Italian and here no one loves (or at least this is what I think) the rockabilly style but... I love it since I was like 8, and now I am 19! My self confidence is growing and I am starting to dress and act and everything the way I want to. I also bought a couple of amazing dresses yesterday and I am totally excited! Since I am a beginner, I don't know how to "introduce" myself into the rockabilly lifestyle, can you give me advice? Also... I noticed that you have a lot of friends that loves the 50's as we do. Where did you find them? Ahah, I know it sounds odd, but I am planning to move to U.S and I would like to know how to make friends that share the same interest! -Anna
A: Hi Anna, thanks for writing me! I have actually gotten this question via email quite a bit. I will answer based on my personal experience, but then I will open it up to the comments and see what advice my readers have for you. Hopefully this isn't way more info then you are asking for. I don’t know how long you have left in Italy, but maybe you can focus on making some new friends there who will show you the ropes of this lifestyle. Then you can get your feet wet and decide if you really like it or not.
You mention there are not a lot of people into this lifestyle where you live. It may surprise you, but there are a lot of people in your area with the same interests- you just have to find them! How you ask?
With social networking! You found me after all, and I am allllll the way in America. I think we are pretty lucky to live in the time of social networking. Nowadays you can meet people online with similar interests and become friends right away. This is especially true for people in your age range. Are you on Facebook? Are you on Instagram? Have you joined pages like RockabillyWorldwide (I saw members from Italy!)? Do you have a blog? These are all great ways to connect with people all over the world, and yes, even in your own neighborhood! I have met multiple people on Facebook that are into the same interests and live only a few miles away and I had never seen them! Your social network is so easy to grow too. You meet one new person online and they lead to one more person who leads to one more person and so forth. A good online friend to make is a show promoter. They want to add you. They want you to come to their events. And you want to get info on events you can go to in order to meet new people. It’s a win-win!
Once you make a few online friends in your area you may start hearing about the going-ons near you. Maybe there is a monthly record hop, a band that plays around your town, dance lessons, or a new store that opened up. Try your best to go to all of these things that you can. People who have been into this lifestyle are used to young people popping in and out all the time. Once they see you out and about at a few things they are most likely to be very friendly. Remember to smile, introduce yourself, and start conversations. If you saw them online, that is a great way to start up a convo- “I think we are Facebook friends! Nice to officially meet you in person!” Or, I like complimenting a person to strike up a conversation. You said you are still getting into the fashion aspect. Therefore I am sure you can find some stuff you admire on other girls and inquire about where they got it. I always joke that I do this in the bathroom while I am waiting in line or washing hands (don’t do it by yelling over the wall while on the pot). The loo is quiet, more one on one, and easy for a quick hello while at a loud place.
Before you leave the location you are at make sure to get some contact info from the people you met- facebook or email is good to ask for (this is why I carry cards!) because it is less personal then a phone number. Once you have some budding friendships, make sure to keep in touch! Invite them to events you may be going to, out shopping for some cool threads or maybe to your home when you get to know them better. Making friends is really similar to getting a boyfriend if you think about it. You want to be friendly and open, but not overly eager or pushy. That may scare people away (I see that a lot!). At first don’t be overly picky with your new acquaintances and friends, but be more selective and picky when choosing your very closest friends. Also, don’t take it personally if people seem indifferent to you, some people are not naturally friendly.
After you have been into this lifestyle like 20 years, have all the best clothing, know all the cool bands personally, and go to all the fun weekenders around the world, make sure to pay it forward for the 19 year old kid you just met. Let us not forget that everyone starts somewhere. Remember how you felt when you were the “new kid” and how much it meant to you when someone was kind. I love the excitement of someone who is just experiencing this for the first time and realizing they love it, there is nothing like it!
I Googled some link for rockabilly in Italy:
Rockabilly weekend in Italy: http://www.getrhythm.it/
Rockabilly Worldwide: http://www.rockabillyworldwide.com/group/rockabilly-italia
Each link will lead you to more links!
Good luck Anna! One you are in the US I can help you out with friends in your new town, so make sure to add me on Facebook! Let me know if you have any more questions!