Tag Archives: Helen Gurley Brown

Slinky Thing

“When we were first dating, he said to me, “Get into something slinky black.  We’re going over to meet my friends Jackie and Ernest.”  Naturally I wanted Jackie and Ernest to like me, so I got right into something slinky and black.  Well, everybody was out by the pool in wet swimsuits and faded denims and there I was–Vampira at high noon.”  Helen Gurley Brown, Sex and the Single Girl

ImageIan and I haven’t been out to a nice dinner in awhile, and we had a few things to celebrate under the auspice of our 7 1/2 year anniversary.  I also haven’t gotten dressed up since New Years, and one the things this project has really gotten me back into is LOOKING FINE.  I was just going to wear my LBD, but one accessory lead to another, and soon I was wearing a hat, dark lipstick, a scarf and a pair of my grandma’s white gloves.  Ian was wearing shorts and a black button down.  He looked at me, lets out a sigh and went back upstairs.  I was overdressed, and it was cramping his style.

Like HGB illustrates, being overdressed next to your mate can make all parties uncomfortable.  Ian’s reasoning for not wanting to get dressed up was that it was hot and muggy, and he’d be miserable, ruining the whole evening.  And I understood that.  He apologized for groaning at my outfit, put on black pants and a black shirt, I took off the gloves and we went to Jay’s Place (our favorite) for a lovely time.  And it was air conditioned, so he was comfortable even in long pants.

Maybe we were a little overdressed for the occasion, but we didn’t care.  I like to think it added an air of mystery to us, so that other diners wondered what fancy party we’d just come from .  . .


Saying No To New Clothes

“Don’t buy anything you don’t adore.  Yes, this could easily mean fewer clothes!” Helen Gurley Brown, Sex and The Single Girl 

I love clothes and always have.  My first apartment had a walk-in closet, so I used to buy, alter or make clothes on a whim.  I doubt that in my freshman year of college, I ever wore the same outfit twice!  

But my tastes are in the process of changing, and that means admitting that I will never wear that long black lace Lip Service dress from Hot Topic or that pleated skirt I’ve had since 9th grade (and still fits!)  So into the garage sale pile they go, to make me a little extra cash to spend on, say, a new Betsey Johnson dress.

The other side of that is that I’m less impulsive about what I buy.  I’m now buying less on what I think I “should” have or what “might” work.  It may look good in a magazine, but I am not a paper girl!

The other day, I was at TJ Maxx and I saw this beautiful blue peplum dress.  I thought “I bet I could wear that to work,” and, even better, it was only $16 …but when I tried it on, I didn’t gasp in wonder at what was looking back at me in the mirror. 

Would it have worked?  Yes.  And I would have gotten plenty of compliments on it too.  But I didn’t adore it, which meant it had NO PLACE in my closet.  I barely have time for the clothes I wear–why waste time on ones I don’t love?*


*If you have tee-shirts, don’t throw them out–instead, pick up Generation-T and make them into cool skirts and housewares!


The Braless Wonder

“Forget” some of your lingerie.  Anything you’re not wearing out thread by thread is money in your piggy bank. . .  if you’re small but firm-busted, you don’t need a bra.”  Helen Gurley Brown, Sex and the Single Girl.

First things first.  HGB is one cheap little tart.  Pennies?  Seriously?  My favorite purple bra, which I don’t even like that much, cost me $14 at TJ Maxx and I’ve had it for over a year.

That being said, I love going braless and the thought of going back to one (even my not-as-terrible purple one!) makes me want to cry.

I could probably still fit into my first bra (which was also purple!) because my boobs have not gotten any bigger since about 7th grade, when they just sort of showed up.  I am a 36A, the flattest in my family.  I’ve never liked wearing bras; I can never find the right strap-to-cup ratio.  

I was never too bothered by my lack of boobage.  My ex bought me a big gel-padded push-up bra, which I wore because the gel part was kind of like a pillow.  But otherwise, all my bras have all sucked.  I can’t think of one where I thought to myself “Yeah, I’m glad I’m wearing this extra layer of fabric when it’s 108 degrees out!”

I like that I can wear cute halter tops without a bunch of straps hanging out.  I like that I can wear low-cut shirts without being told to cover up–what would I cover up anyways? My boney clavacle?

Plus, I’ve rediscovered the great joys of the camisole.  All silky and whisper-thin.  Lovely.  Now I just need to get a few better slips for under my dresses.

So you win this time, HGB.  Burn ALL the bras!


The Day The Blogs Crossed Paths

“An affair can overlap, of course” Helen Gurley Brown, Sex and the Single Girl

HGB is all about dating married men, so today, I asked my friend Eeon, (married to the awesome Bridget) to accompany me to see G.I. Joe: Retaliation.  And since Eeon does the Canned Laser podcast with Pete (one of my Most Eligible Bachelors) I decided to invite him along too . . . after all, since HGB says I can date two men at once, why not go out with them at the same time?  I’m a busy girl, after all.  Also, this way, I shielded Ian from having to sit through a movie that was almost as good as The Room.

Some quick thoughts about the movie: Walton Goggins was extra-Goggins-y, just eating scenery and loving it.  He rocked a pink oxford (Note to guys: You cannot do this.  Do not even try) and his scenes were over too soon in a really drag way.  It wasn’t as clever as his performance in Predators or as deep as his portrayal of Shane Vendrell in The Shield.  But it was amusing for a few minutes in an otherwise torturous movie devoid of soul, heart, or original dialogue.

But the company was great.  We had pizza and wings afterwards at the Depot, and they made me laugh, like they always do.

Guys, here’s the secret to getting a great girl (like Bridget).  Be funny.  And not funny in that way that you can quote Anchorman.  Be genuinely funny.  Learn to tell a joke or a good story.  That way , no matter what, you can always show a girl (even ones you’re not dating) a good time.

Even at G.I. Joe.

Presents, Please

“I can’t give you anything but love” is a real Depression-era sentiment.  There must be something he can give.”  Helen Gurley Brown, Sex and the Single Girl

I was in Sperbeck’s getting chips, a banana and a few minute chocolate bars (feck diets!) when a man came up to me and told me he liked my rose-printed 14 eyelet Doc Martens.  They’re beautiful boots; my mom and Ian went in on them for Christmas one year and I’ve been wearing them a lot lately. Docs are my shoe of choice; I’ve been wearing them since college and this is the 4th pair I own.Image

But they’re not exactly Betsey Johnson stiletto booties, so I was kind of surprised that they got noticed.  He proceeded to tell me that he had a pair of vintage hiking boots that would probably be my size; if he could find them, he would give them to me.  I smiled politely and thanked him, but didn’t expect anything would come of it.

I went in today to get my chips and chocolate, and the woman behind the counter said that he had, in fact, left them for me.  And, true to his word, they fit.

Some women get men to buy them anything.  My sister Laura used to have guys lining up to buy her things.  One of them offered to buy her a dog one time.  My boyfriend Geza used to spoil me with roses and dinners, Ian buys me random things and Matthew almost never shows up empty handed (he got me an SVU crew hoodie!) is but as a general rule, men don’t often come up and offer to give me presents. The boots are stiff from storage, but they’re insanely cool.  They’re actually cobbled, not glued.  And maybe they’re not affair-inspiring stilettos, but they’re totally Libby.

A girl could get used to this . . . .

Nearly Stranded and Almost Fabulous

“The ancient custom of foot-binding in China, makes a girl feminine and helpless, and she can’t run away” Helen Gurley Brown, Sex and the Single Girl

This is how I found myself standing in 4″ platform open-toed spike booties in the middle of a sleet storm in Boston.

Believing, foolishly, that I would be inside and sitting through most of the AWP Conference in Boston, I packed my favorite Betsey Johnson booties, the ones that make men motion me over just so they can tell me how beautiful I looked (this happened last week at the B-Side Ballroom–I’ve never had a man compliment me on my shoes ever).  We had to go to see my friends Lexa, Jaed and Suzanne read at the Boston Public Library, and since we were one of the flagship events, I wanted to look fine.

So I wore the booties with skinny jeans and a sparkly grey sweater, strutting through the mall that connected our hotel to the conference center.  Yeah, I looked good.

But when I got outside, it was sleeting.  Matthew was also trying to look good, so he wore is Kenneth Cole shoes, which are also not designed for hoofing through Boston in the middle of a snowstorm. I clung to his arm and he tried not to slip on the sloppy sidewalks.  

I was in a bad mood already, and I give him all the credit in the world for not stranding me in the middle of the sidewalk, because I wouldn’t have made it home and would still be standing out there, ankle-deep in slush.  

And he should give me credit for not forcing him to carry me like the foot-bound beauty that I was.

The List Part 2: “The Don Juans”

“It’s not only that he doesn’t want to get married–it’s that you know all the time he’s unworthy of you.” Helen Gurley Brown Sex and the Single Girl.

I call these guys cadsbut they’re also referred to, by themselves, as “nice guys” and they’re the absolute worst kind of man.  As soon as a guy says he’s a “nice guy,” run, run as fast as you can.  Also, he will probably either wear a fedora or a bowtie.

My first encounter with a “nice guy” was Joe at Binghamton University.  I was young and naive and still into musical theater, so I thought a guy in a fedora who sang Frank Sinatra tunes to me during fire drills must be absolutely in love with me . . . until he kept trying to dry-hump me–after I pushed him away–while we were watching Lord of the Rings.  Not okay.

Musical Theater guys are the absolute worst because they’re all cads.  I just met one during auditions for Little Shop of Horrors (he was reading for Seymour, I was reading for Audrey in the scene right after “Suddenly Seymour”) who almost kissed me in front of everyone, including Ian, who was auditioning (and landed) the part of The Dentist.  You’d think that the dumb cad would have noticed that I walked in and am sitting next to this guy I keep snuggling up to, hmm, maybe we’re dating.  But I, like the bimbo I can be, assumed he understood this arrangement and offered to meet him for coffee.

We hung out a few times and had some really great conversations, but he kept trying to grab my ass even though he was sitting on the couch in the home I shared with my boyfriend.  Apparently, he couldn’t stand the Friendzone he’d voluntarily placed himself in and ditched me for some other blonde.  My pride was more wounded than anything, because I hate that kind of garbage from men.  I make my position known right up front–you have no right to act like I went and broke your little heart.

But here’s the kicker, dear readers.  I didn’t get the part (it went to a 16 year old moron who managed to not go completely flat on at least 1/64th of her notes) but on opening night, I wore my Betsey Johnson booties, a belted black tunic and leggings, and when he saw me outside, he pushed his girlfriend out of the way to get to me.  Yeah, I’m that good.

I never saw him again and I’m fine with that.  I mean, really, who needs a cad?

But in all fairness, some of them can be very sweet.  Dan’s a good example of this–Dan is a good friend and a sweetheart, but he is an utter and devoted cad.  He loves women too much, I’m afraid, to keep his hands (or his lips) off a pretty one that drifts by.  He’s not mean spirited or dishonest . . . just a silly romantic still chasing that perfect love.

Say Yes To the Dress: Day 4

Embrace the manufacturer whose clothes consistently do nice things for you.”  Helen Gurley Brown, Sex and the Single Girl.

I got into Betsey Johnson only recently in a perfect storm of rediscovering Cyndi Lauper and a TJ Maxx opening in my town.  I had two Betsey Johnson dresses in my closet that I’d all but forgotten about; one bought for me by a creepy roommate I had in Brooklyn in hopes that I would model it for him (and leave it crumpled on his floor–I did neither) and another given to me in a bag of clothes from the daughter of a friend of my F-i-L.


I’ll pretty much wear anything my dollies come dressed as

I like Betsey because her clothes are fun, flirty and sophisticated and casual, a rare combo indeed.  It’s hard to find something that meets all three.  Flirty clothes are usually fun but rarely sophisticated, and sophisticated clothes are rarely casual.  I rarely give my loyalty to a designer, but as I began to acquire more and more pieces, I saw the quality, and decided that if I was going to spend money on a purse or shoes, they had better be nice ones.  When I wear my spike-heeled black and white booties (which I bought because they reminded me of shoes worn by my Monster High Dollies) I get more compliments than on anything else in my wardrobe.

Betsey DressAll my Betsey dresses are black.  My office is pretty casual, but I can’t exactly show up to in an off-the-shoulder skull-print party dress.  My favorite is a vintage piece from the 90’s that I got for $30 on ebay, with short sleeves, a drop waist and a full skirt.  I live in it during office hours in the summer, but it looks just as cute with a sweater in the middle of a New York winter.

Now if only they made Betsey Johnson dresses for Dollies . . .