Saturday, August 18, 2012

Helen Gurley Brown's Advice to Men on How to Have an Affair

Helen Gurley Brown died this week at age 90, but oh what a ride she had before leaving this world. For such a tiny woman with a delicate voice, the Cosmopolitan magazine and Sex and the Single Girl author certainly made a loud impact on American culture in the 1960s.
As the feminine counterpart to Playboy editor Hugh Hefner, she encouraged young women to work hard in their careers, obsess over their figures, and manipulate men with sex. I wouldn't be surprised if Mad Men's scriptwriters pore over old issues of the magazine in creating the characters who inhabit the show's secretarial typing pool.

You either loved or hated Helen Gurley Brown: just read the comments in The New York Times' obituary.

Here's one: "Former Cosmo Girl copy editor here. CG was hands-down the best job I ever had, and I've been around in publishing. I'm about as mouseburger as you can get, but working there made you feel like a million bucks. If you only read the cover lines at the supermarket, you don't understand the tone of Cosmo. It's about being happy that you're a woman--and yes, sex IS an important part of that. I'm a lesbian and a very different kind of feminist than HGB was, but she spoke to women who might not have been entirely happy with who they were, especially in the early days. She didn't brainwash them, she told them they weren't mouseburgers—they were absolutely fantastic and deserved to have fun."

Here's another: "HGB was a woman without morals and basically one who cared not at all about other women. She had a brief affair with my father in the 50's and pursued him relentlessly!
I asked my 90 yr old mother yesterday why she was so passive while feeling so hurt and heartbroken and her response was that it was economic. She had 4 small children to care for and no real job skills. Obviously my father was lacking in character and morals too but what kind of woman does that to another woman? Where is the sisterhood?"

But to really get a feel for her, the best way is to listen to her in her own words. Here's Helen Gurley Brown's advice to men on how to have an affair, taken from a recording circa 1962 after the publication of Sex and the Single Girl:

Now, I'm not for promiscuity, but I think it's ridiculous to pretend that it doesn't exist, and I think there's far less hurt and more joy for everybody if certain rules are followed.

So first, how to get a girl to the brink, and second, how to keep her there when you're not going to marry her. I believe most girls are attainable by somebody, really most girls, but you have to work at it. I think the reason you don't always succeed is that you want everything now, this minute, tonight's the night.

Rule One is, take time to court her. 

Rule Two, love her out of bed. Laugh at her jokes. Women have fantastic egos too, you know, even pretty little slips of girls just love to be thought fascinating and funny. Make her talk to you, and you listen. No matter how shy she is, make her feel that with you she's a dynamo.

Rule Three, admire her character, even if she doesn't have any. You like the way she handles her jobs, her friends, her family, her money. When bedtime comes, you'll have her thinking that with you, at least, she can't do anything wrong.

There's much more, including the advice that "brute force isn't sexy," here at YouTube.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Nina Arianda to Play Janis Joplin Role

Ever since I desperately tried and failed (long boring story, won't bother to tell) to buy a Broadway ticket to the sexy comedy "Venus in Furs," I've been equally desperate to witness a Nina Arianda performance.

Nina Arianda is fabulous, by all accounts. Judy Holliday, Sophia Loren and Lady Gaga all rolled into one.
Sadly, I've only seen her in Woody Allen's movie "Midnight in Paris," which was a disappointment -- and her talents were overlooked in her small role as some random guy's forgettable wife.

But. The good news, according to Reuters, is that Nina Arianda is now scheduled to play the role of Janis Joplin in a film called, what else?, "Joplin," an independently produced film that tells the story of the blues-rock diva's final year of life. I'm excited! Can't wait to see what Nina A. does with the role.

Janis Joplin died way too young, of an overdose in 1970 at the age of 27, but oh, what a voice while she lived. You can see what an endearingly sweet Texas girl she was, heroin addiction aside, in this clip from the Dick Cavett show:

Sunday, August 05, 2012

Long Live Marilyn Monroe

Marilyn Monroe died fifty years ago today. Long live Marilyn Monroe.

The idea of what makes a woman a woman keeps changing, but she's eternal. Beautiful, talented, sexy, fun, glamorous, mysterious, vulnerable, and even, yes, tough.

Fifty years, and we all still have a personal relationship with her. And we keep trying to learn more. The Official Marilyn Monroe website, managed by The Estate of Marilyn Monroe LLC, plays to this desire with a "news" page, which suggests that she's more than just a memory. (This just in: Baked by Melissa recently celebrated Marilyn’s birthday with a portrait made of 2,048 cupcakes.)

I don't often recognize Marilyn here at Bad Girl Blog, fabulous as she is. She really wasn't a bad girl, was she? (For a true bad girl of Marilyn's era, check out Mamie Van Doren). Marilyn Monroe may have been a promiscuous pill-popper, and a difficult diva on movie sets, but there was always something of the victim about her....

....The lost girl in need of rescue. Which is why we keep trying to revive her, feeling that if we pay enough attention this time, things will turn out different.