I am more Liz Lemon than Liz Taylor. I prefer flannel pajamas to lace lingerie, Dr. Pepper to red wine, watching TV to cocktail parties. I like the Smiths, Doc Martens, sweater dresses (they’re like pajamas you can wear to the office!) and the Tom Servo necklace my boyfriend, Ian, got me on Etsy.
I am not exactly a picture of vintage Hollywood glamour.
But in digging through my father-in-law’s basement one afternoon, I came across Arlene Dahl’s man-trapping manifesto Always Ask a Man. I was instantly fascinated by her tips to have dinner on the table, hold your tongue and to let your date choose what you eat at when he takes you out. Did these tips really work? Were men and women happier then? Would Ian remember that I don’t like tomatoes on my tacos, or would I just have to stomach them and smile?
I began collecting as many vintage beauty, dating and guides as I could get my hands on. Some advice, such as Helen Gurley Brown’s tale of a friend who wins men’s hearts by inviting them to make candy with her, sound pretty great. Others, like washing my hair in gasoline, not so much.
But I am determined to figure out which tips still hold true, and which have fallen pray to changing values, the so-called “death of chivalry” and the common sense of not taking arsenic pills for a pretty complexion.
So for one year, starting January 1st, 2013, I will abandon my geekiness to primp, preen, cook, clean, starve, stretch and flirt my way into the hearts of my Panel of Gentlemen. I’ll don a meat mask because that’s how French girls keep their skin clear. I’ll try dating a married man (with his wife’s permission, of course). I’ll live on nothing but eggs and white wine for two days to try and drop a promised six pounds. And I’ll see if all the tips, tricks and schemes make me irresistible or just plain irritating.
So strap into your Spanx and rinse the gas out of your hair–we’re going glam.