Tuesday, September 16, 2008

How to Be a Virgin With Style and Grace

"Perhaps it simply never occurs to you that the twenty-seven minutes you spend in front of your multibulb makeup mirror applying all those perfumed balms and paints is not vanity but a reflection of good manners."

So true. It's polite to be pretty; only the rude insist on being unsightly.

A anonymous reader and teacher's pet sent me a present! She thought I might give this 1971 pamphlet a good home. I will indeed cherish it forever, and I couldn't wait to share it with all of you.
The pamphlet was written by Gael Greene, who is now an author, famous food critic, and wearer of glamorous hats. In 1971, she channeled the Cosmo Girl Spirit in a voice almost as eccentric as the Queen of Cosmo herself, Helen Gurley Brown. Let's dive in.

On Fashion:
Go with fashion, but don't sell yourself into fashion slavery. Twelve girls at the same cinema-festival opening in velvet knickers, identical bullet belts, and fringed boots are pathetic. You, in the same panne velvet knickers but with a suede belt locked by an old art-nouveau buckle, are infinitely more interesting.

On Afternoon Delights:
Your noontime love is quite likely to be... a married man. In that case, you are a considerate adulteress. There is your apartment, of course... always neat, the bed immaculate, curtains drawn to filter light slightly, martinis chilling in the refrigerator, and the makings of a light, fast lunch all ready.

One of my favorite features of this pamphlet, is the Things That Are Tacky section that follows each tip topic. For example, from Inspired Gifting, tacky things include:
The put-down gift-- a baggy granny gown to an old maid friend... chocolates to your chum, the unsuccessful dieter.

The chapter How to Be A Virgin With Style and Grace goes beyond mere dos and don'ts and offers advice in the form of a little skit. Ms. Greene encourages virgins to entertain and charm, instead of bringing the mood down with serious talk. In this scene, The Heavy models bad behavior, The Heroine demonstrates the way to be:

He: (Unbuttoning your buttons): Why not?
The Heavy: Do you love me?
The Heroine: Abstinence is part of my meditation
course... no, really. I'm climbing toward nirvana. Hey, I want you to taste some homemade peach ice cream. (As long as you can keep it light and distract him, amuse him, delight him... you postpone the pressure a little longer. Your nonvirginal competition doesn't necessarily hop into bed at the libido's first faint call.)

But the very best thing about this pamphlet, is not actually any of Gael Greene's advice, but the notes scrawled in a margin by someone I can only assume was the original teen-aged owner. Someone with a more sophisticated, experienced friend.


Call girls fake it and so does Carmen. And when she tires of that act, she gets creative. This was written in the margin of Twenty-Five Thoughtful Things To Do For a Man In The Bedroom


Wherever Greg is now, I bet he's looking back with fondness on the year 1971, and a very thoughtful enchantress named Carmen.