I’ve read in numerous interviews that Mad Men creator, Matthew Weiner, instructed his female cast to read one book in preparation for their roles as mid-century women: Sex and The Single Girl by former Cosmo editor, Helen Gurley Brown. Being the dedicated fan that I am, I just HAD to read this book, which is like a time capsule circa 1962. Chock full of tips and advice for the early 1960’s single girl, it is a definite must read. There are numerous topics covered by this book, such as available men and where to meet them, how to be sexy (Chapter 4), working, finances (getting adopted by a wealthy couple is my favorite advice about finances given), apartment living, entertaining, physical appearance, and affairs. All very valuable information!
Among those men considered “available” is the married man. The author even breaks it down into a PROS/CONS list. My favorite CON is: He is practically useless on Saturday nights, Sundays, holidays, and nine times out of ten on your birthday. My favorite PRO is: He is frequently marvelous in bed and careful not to get you pregnant. He sounds so charming! What a catch!
One place given to meet men is your place of employment. Gurley Brown has this to say about companies that prohibit workplace romances: Why else do they suppose you are working…? Another great place to meet a man is Alcoholics Anonymous, preferably a wealthy chapter. If I weren’t already married, this is definitely the approach I would use!
For a man to like your apartment, you should keep a large brandy snifter or large translucent bowl filled with dozens of loose cigarettes and opened whole packages of different brands and match books from good restaurants. This is considered a “man attractor”. You should also keep an ashtray with two, fresh cigarettes with matches in your bathroom for him. If you have a man over for dinner, give him a cigar after the meal. Once you’re done seducing your man with the threat of emphysema and lung cancer, finish him off with the “morning after” brunch which should include clamato juice (1/2 clam, 1/2 tomato juice) and “omelet surprise” and he’ll be begging for more! (???)
For a man to find you physically attractive, you must be thin, have great hair, and use cosmetics to enhance or completely create beauty. This crash diet is recommended:
- Breakfast- 1 egg, any style, no butter, 1 glass of white wine
- Lunch- 2 eggs, any style, 2 glasses of white wine
- Dinner- 1 steak, finish bottle of wine
My guess is that you’d be too drunk to commit cannibalism, so your date should be safe.
For great hair, it is suggested that you wash your hair once every two weeks and pay a woman $2.50 to come to your office to massage your scalp for 40 minutes once a week. Or just buy a wig (p. 221). I feel more beautiful just reading that.
About cosmetics, the author advises: drawing in completely new eyebrows, wearing false eyelashes, putting hollows in your cheeks with darker foundation, a cleft in your chin with brown eyebrow pencil or enlarging your mouth by a third. I’m not sure if I’d be getting ready for a date or Halloween. Or a performance under the Big Top with the rest of the clown troop.
This book is a veritable cornucopia of mid-century single girl knowledge! I highly recommend you read it and then burn your bra. Your lightly starched and ironed bra.