Friday, August 29, 2008

Promises, Promises

So, I promised you a glimpse into one of the weirdest books I've come across. But A New You by Gloria Richards, is not that book. The weird book will be up soon and you will not be disappointed. It's just difficult for me to select which images to scan for you, which sections to quote. I think I will get in trouble if I simply scan the entire book for your viewing pleasure.
So today, a gentler pleasure. You know how I love eccentric, or even batshit crazy beauty authors and their oddball suggestions. Well I also love another breed of author and book, one that could actually be described as... rather dull. These are the books that were sold up near the grocery and drug store checkout lines in the 80s of my childhood. Sometimes they weren't full-size books, but pamphlets.
The charm of these books lies in their all-inclusiveness. Almost all beauty books feel the need to have chapters on skin, hair, makeup, nails, exercise, diet, and wild card. That last one is sometimes sex, sometimes astrology, and sometimes Jesus.
You can see where the author's actual interest or knowledge lies because a couple chapters will be full of personal quirk and unexpected tips. Then the other chapters are made up of regurgitated common sense and eerily similar diet plans.
Gloria's book is soothing in its predictability. It's for Every Woman:
To be perfectly clear, my book is not for people who can go to Swiss clinics or spend half of every day in a beauty salon. My life hasn't been that way, and neither are the lives of most women. Most of us don't have an English nanny at home to watch the toddlers while we attend class. My diets are diets that real people can follow-- they don't require you to eat caviar and prime rib three times a day.

I find this refreshing. Many of the beauty books I adore recommend that very diet. Gloria continues this tone with a list of ways to squeeze fitness into your busy day:
Rub away-- after a shower or bath, towel yourself vigorously. That's exercise, too-- stimulating for muscles as well as skin.

Frankly that kind of thing is a lot more appealing than the horrifically detailed chapter on real exercise full of math and numbers and progress charts. But the reason I chose this book to share today is because Gloria touches upon several topics that will be featured in upcoming posts. Call it the Peculiar Beauty Fall Preview. Coming soon:

Style Personas So many beauty books insist that you classify yourself as a type, and the names authors choose for these types, as well as the accompanying illustrations are hilarious. Gloria keeps it pretty simple:
Basically there are two fashion types. If you've never made up your mind which one is you, that could explain the muddle you find when you open your drawers. There's The Classicist, and there's The Modern. The Classicist doesn't follow trends as much as she follows her own sense of what kinds of clothes will last. The Modern knows how to look up-to-the-minute by buying just a few pieces every so often that lend the latest look to her whole collection.

Many more esoteric types, and my own thoughts on this soon.


Contouring Oh god, the dirty, streaky cheekbone hollows of the eighties. A clever trick for the camera. An ill-advised misstep for the Monday morning conference room. But every beauty book of that era featured a how-to. Especially noteworthy is the one supplied by Morgan Fairchild, so look forward to that. Meanwhile, Gloria:
The commonest place for contouring color are just under the cheeks, along the nose, and under the chin. Experiment with brownish contouring color, remembering that the basic principal is: if you want to emphasize a feature, make it lighter. If you want to de-emphasize, make it darker. That means that contouring color would be good for that bump on your nose to minimize it just a bit, and for your double chin.

Would it really?

Passive-Exercise Machines These have been around for at least 150 years, range from vibration, to mild electrical shock, to devices that simply take your strapped-on limbs along for the ride. Seems like it's more entertaining to actually move, rather than just be shoved about. Gloria says:
Q: Isn't there any place I can go to have the bulges just jiggled off by machine?
A: Not the good health clubs. In my clubs there are no machines for "juggling it off." The plain fact is exercise is work. If you don't use muscles, they won't build up, and the fat won't go away. You might find it pleasant to be bounced around in some gimmicky machine, but don't kid yourself that it's helping to reshape your body, anymore than the Ferris wheel does
.

I was actually on the most expensive and modern of these machines, last year at a spa I reviewed. I'll tell you all about it.
Besides all this, and the super-weird book I keep dangling, we have to discuss wardrobe building, a whole bunch of Peculiar Beauties you haven't yet met and my favorite: the return of boot weather. August is almost over.
For those of you who are spending this holiday weekend on the beach, I have some last words of advice from Gloria:
If you get tired of hearing people call you "poor pale Pam," work out a new makeup routine that adds more color via foundation, cheek color, and contouring. Don't try to bake yourself in the sun all the time to get a "healthy" look, or they'll soon be calling you "poor old Pam."

Oh, Pam.