Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Linda Stasi Suggests You Take To Your Bed

"The worst job I ever had was beauty editor of Elle Magazine.
Never have I been around so many nasty French people and nastier fake French people. There were more accents - real and pretend - around that office than on Ellis Island in 1910."

That's Linda Stasi in today's New York Post, in a review of the reality series Stylista. As Linda points out above, before she was a TV critic, she wrote about beauty. Her 1984 Looking Good Is The Best Revenge is unique in my collection. It's the only book I own written specifically for post-breakup makeovers.

"And that's what this book is all about; feeling awful and looking wonderful! They really aren't mutually exclusive, you know! In fact it is possible to feel like two cents and look like a million. It's all a matter of what you do to and with yourself after you have decided to take to your bed.
So you see, this is a beauty book, and a feel better book, but it's main purpose is to give you what you really want-- revenge. In it you will find lots of ways to get gorgeous, get thin, and get even!! "

Linda repeats that soothing phrase, take to your bed, take to your bed, throughout the book. It's a phrase that's underused these days, gone the way of "nervous breakdown," replaced by more clinical labels. And Linda further soothes with low expectations; she expects you to stay in that bed for at least a couple weeks, and up to a year. She just gently suggests that you use that sad regrouping time for DIY beauty. One of my favorite things about this book are chapter titles like: Exercises to Do When You Can't Bare to Leave Your Bed. No naughty innuendo here; Linda means it literally and suggests a few easy isometrics, including the breast firming grimace featured in my last post, I Am Screaming Inside.

In Hair Raisers: A Bunch of Wonderful Things to Do to Your Hair When You're Miserable, she advises:

"Yes, yes I know everyone is always saying how attractive salt and pepper and prematurely gray hair is. Attractive is not gorgeous and it's not the same as sexy. Salt-and-pepper attractive is for Mrs. Father Knows Best and pot weavers who live in communes (that haven't been told the war is over.) Aside from women who are trying to look sexless, I can't think why anyone would add years to their looks with gray and dull hair. Now, don't start screaming and saying that I'm not a feminist (let's call me an individualist)."

A friend of mine once told me that yet another of her relationships had, "Hit the stage where you're carrying a bottle of Visine and a roll of toilet paper in your bag." I didn't have the heart to suggest she splurge on an actual box of tissues. Seems Linda included a chapter just for her: Eye-Dos for When He Didn't-- How to Cry Without Wrecking Your Eyes. All of the remedies Linda suggests can be put together with things you already have around the house-- teabags, cotton balls, baking soda and such. This is a low-pressure makeover. You don't have to go shopping, but when you're up to it, play around in your closet a little for fresh combinations to wear when you finally venture out. Linda understands, she comforts, and finally, she rebuilds:

"Unless you let yourself go into all the unhappiness that you are feeling, you won't emerge in a few weeks or months, a happier, more vibrant lady. You must, of course, feel the pain before you can feel the anger. And then the anger, too, will go. And it will be replaced by a smarter, savvier ego to go along with your new look."