Saturday, August 2, 2008

Just Because Chorus Girls Do It

"Just because chorus girls have to shave their legs and underarms, is no reason why women in general should turn up their nose at the practice... Shave your legs, for here the razor gives the best results! Soaking the legs in warm water and then rubbing them with pumice stone is a long process. It may 'discourage' the hair, but then the hair may take years before it becomes properly discouraged."
-- Florence Courtenay, Physical Beauty (1922)


I have never tried the above pumice method, but a few weeks ago, I helped a friend paint a room and later, in the shower, I noticed a splotch of paint on my leg that wasn't coming off with scrubbing. I grabbed a pumice stone and rubbed it away. Gently! It left a horrible and painful mark for days. I do not understand how people did this on large areas of skin.
In addition to that injury, I've been wearing pants or my one black maxi-dress, every day for a (hot) week because I cut my right shin using a disposable razor for the first time in years. It's hideous.

I'm in the mood to complain. Like I said, it's August. I should just fix myself up and get back into lighter clothes:

"Leg Make-up: When you use leg make-up, apply a thin coat of mineral oil first and let it dry. Then spread papers on the floor so you won't splatter make-up. Allow yourself at least ten minutes to do the job right.
1. Start makeup at the instep and smooth upward to a point above the knee. Be sure to end it in an even line. Tie a ribbon around your thigh where the 'stocking' ends and remove it when make-up dries.
2. Pat make-up with the palm of your hands, then buff with cotton. Inspect the backs of legs, too, to be sure they're even.
3. Never try to patch up yesterday's make-up job. Besides, leg make-up is drying to the skin, and should be thoroughly washed off every night.
4. Be careful if you cross your legs on hot summer days not to smudge your make-up."
--Babs Lee, ABC's of Beauty (1950)

I love that her name is Babs. Isn't that just the exact name of a person who would write leg make-up advice in 1950? And that photo is of a vintage Bakelite pin. More on Bakelite soon.