Paul McCartney's First Girlfriend

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Dorothy "Dot" Rhone, a quiet girl from Liverpool, England, grew up with an emotionally distant mother and an abusive father who drank. She was terribly shy, introverted, and withdrawn, and she thought her nose was too big, going so far as to sleep with a clothes pin hooked on it in the sad hope that it might make her nose smaller.

One person, though, did think she was pretty. His name was Paul McCartney.

In 1959, when she was 16, Dot attended a gig at the "Casbah Club" featuring a teenage group who called themselves "The Quarreymen." (It wasn't until the next year that the Quarreymen would change their name to the Beatles.) She struck up a conversation with Paul, the band's best-looking member, and eventually they began dating.

Because of Dot's shy, withdrawn personality, she was easily dominated by Paul, who set down his rules loud and clear.

Although Paul could (and would) see other girls, he forbade Dot from seeing any other guys. Paul was a chronic smoker, but no cigarettes were allowed for Dot. He made her dye her hair blond, a la his sexual fantasy girl, actress Brigitte Bardot, and made her wear short, tight miniskirts. He told her how to wear her makeup. Paul was so controlling, he even told her she had to drop her girl friends. Dot, in love and very malleable, agreed to Paul's authoritarian rules.

"We got Dot to go blonde and wear miniskirts. It's terrible really. But that's the way it was," recalled Paul.

It wasn't all bad with Paul. Dot also remembers a kind, caring side.

Dot, who often hung out at Paul's happier home, recalls watching him sing old-time Dixie-style songs with his brother. She told Paul of her sad childhood and life and found him to be very caring and compassionate. Paul opened up to her about his own worst tragedy, his mother's death in 1956. Dot recalls flipping through a religious book with Paul and coming upon a picture of Jesus. "Paul said it looked just like his mother," she remembered.

Dot was impressed by Paul's generosity, remembering him once shelling out several weeks wages to buy her a very expensive leather coat. For Valentine's Day, Paul gave her a special handmade card.

Sometime in 1961, Dot got pregnant.

Paul's very conservative father forbade them giving up the baby for adoption, and a wedding was planned. Paul bought his expectant girlfriend a gold engagement ring and was ready to "do the right thing." But fate intervened, and Dot miscarried after three months. The wedding was cancelled. (If Dot had given birth, the entire history of the Beatles would, of course, have been changed.)

Dot was never to forget the sight of Paul bringing her a batch of flowers and comforting her after he heard about the miscarriage.

Dot became good friends with John Lennon's girlfriend, Cynthia Powell. Cyn was to remember Dot as "a gentle soul who blushed frequently." The two would go incognito to watch their boyfriends play at local gigs around Liverpool.

When the band went off to play in Hamburg, Germany, Paul wrote to Dot almost every day. (The song "P.S. I Love You," the B-side of the first Beatles record, was written about Dot.)

Dot and Cynthia went to visit the boys in Hamburg, and both would recall the sight of their two boyfriends running madly to welcome them and show them the local Hamburg sights. Dot and Paul lived together in Hamburg in a cabin on a houseboat. About these happy days, Dot remembered the two of them being "very cuddly, lovely, close."

But still, in spite of the generally happy times, the young couple would sometimes have very furious fights.

By the summer of 1962, with the Beatles on the brink of national fame, Paul decided to call it quits with Dot.

Cynthia remembered the sad night -- a girls night hanging out, no guests expected, with Dot decked out in a baggy sweater with curlers in her hair. Out of the blue, Paul pounded on the door and informed Dot their three year relationship was over. He stalked off, leaving Dot in a state of shock.

The reason for Paul's abrupt severing of the relationship is a bit nebulous; some say Dot was pressing for marriage and Paul didn't want that. Dot was devastated, and it took her months to recover from the shock. She joined the civil service, hoping to escape Paul's memory, but unfortunately, the Beatles soon hit it big and "it was Beatles, Beatles, Beatles," said Dot.

Shortly thereafter, Dot decided to leave Liverpool and make a new life for herself.

She moved to Canada and met her future husband within four days.

Dot was to see Paul again briefly when the Beatles played a gig in Toronto in 1965. Many years later, when Paul's group Wings played the Maple Leaf Garden, Paul invited his ex-girlfriend to attend and sent a Rolls Royce to pick up Dot, her husband, and her daughter.

After the concert, Paul and Dot got a chance to talk, and Paul answered many questions Dot had about their time together. According to her friend Sandra, this meeting with Paul helped Dot tremendously and provided answers to questions she had carried for more than 40 years.

"When she met Paul again, the ghost was laid," said Sandra.

At last, Dot Rhone, Paul McCartney's first girlfriend, had achieved her own closure.

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June 18, 2012 - 10:29am
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