Sunday, May 8, 2011

From The Classy Broad's Bookshelf

I'm a regular at the flea market.  I'm willing to risk sunburn and a case of scabies to sift through junk in the hope that I might strike gold - and yes Kittens, I did strike gold.  Mad Men-style.  A book dealer, who may or may not have been an angel, sold this gem to me for $3:

The Secretary's Guide to Beauty - Charm - Poise.  Milady Publishing.  1962.
(soak all that in)


It even gives do's and dont's for smoking.  Hearts and stars.

Like smoking, fashion is very important in the secretarial field.

Now, let's get down to brass tacks.  This is a text book for what looks like an early 1960's charm school.  Contrary to popular belief, young women had several choices back then.  You could get knocked up around April of your senior year in high school and subsequently marry your beau hunk right after graduation and try to pass your baby off as premature, you could go to college and get your MRS degree, or you could be totally modern and enter the work force.   Obviously this is a text book for the modern woman and flipping through it almost makes me want to drop everything (and by everything, I mean, abject poverty, Judge Judy reruns, and pajamas till noon) and become a secretary right now.  But then I remembered that I actually once was a secretary and it totally sucked balls wasn't as glamourous as it sounds.  I wore Old Navy Polar Fleece to work, ate Lean Pockets at my desk, and the only flirting I did was over the phone with our middle-aged leasing agent in Georgia.  Obviously things have changed since the 1960's but, Dammit Janet, that doesn't mean I can't pretend.

Another treasured tome from my hastily constructed Ikea Blürgen bookshelf is 
The Bombshell Manual of Style, by Laren Stover.  

Judging by the cutesy watercolor illustrations, I don't think this book was meant to be taken as seriously as I've taken it.  The author basically watched a bunch of old Jayne Mansfield, M. Monroe and Kim Novak movies, and then consulted a friend's mom who sounds like she may have been a bit of a putita, and decided to write a book outlining why a bombshell is so irresistible and what makes her tick. Jayne Mansfield, I am not, BUT, I do feel like I have an inner bombshell locked away under heavy layers of yoga pants, old sweatshirts, and life-long snark.

So why am I talking about these books?  Alright,  I'm 31 29-ish (forever,) and I've never been very lady-like.  It never bothered me until recently.  Maybe it's because my fancy brother called me "ghetto" but then said "just kidding" even though we all know that's Passive-Aggressive 101 for "I'm trying to be honest.  You're seriously fucking ghetto."  Or maybe I'm just growing up and realizing that I'm not aging like a fine wine, but more like a rancid bottle of MD 20/20 that's been in your fridge for a few years and you have no idea where it even came from (warning: don't drink it.)  Le sigh.  I don't know.  I think I just see certain traits in other people that I admire and we all could use some self-improvement.  Don't get me wrong. I don't want to change who I am.  I'm probably still going to drink (quite) a bit and drop a creative swear word here and there (and everywhere) but there's no reason I can't be well-mannered while doing it.

So this is my project.  Let's get classy as fuck Let's get sophisticated!


  1. i liked the efancy dress and necklace you wore the other night. i thought maybe you were expecting to see a babefest in our livingroom. alas, it was just me, boyfriend and biscuit.

    keep up the pearls and lynchburg lemonades and you're sure to go far in life.

  2. TILTE, darling, heartburn makes me wear crazy things. My original outfit was my red cords and an oversized gray cardigan.

    Besides, the only men I wanted to see were Mario and Luigi. I'd say Toad, but I'm not sure if he's a dude.