Thursday, November 27, 2008

Studies in Crap: Lady, Be Lovely

Posted By on Thu, Nov 27, 2008 at 6:00 AM

Each Thursday, your Crap Archivist brings you the finest in

forgotten and bewildering crap culled from area basements, thrift

stores, estate sales and flea markets. He does this for one reason:

Knowledge is power.

Lady, Be Lovely: A Guide to Beauty, Glamour and Sex Appeal


Author: Edyth Thornton McLeod

Publisher: Wilcox and Follett

Date: 1955

Discovered at: KCK estate sale

The Cover Promises: Foot stretching!

Neck powdering! Widow's peak maintenance! Desperately seizing your

hand before it opens the refrigerator!

Representative Quotes

Page 13: "When a woman forgets to

say 'thank you' for some act of courtesy, the man should verbally

remind her of her bad manners, or lack of good ones, whichever you


Page 199: "I wonder what makes some

women think they can wear tight Levis of clingy denim and

wild-patterned blouses or sweaters when they are built like Big


A toast to the modern American lady!

In the 1940s you hit the factories to

show she could handle any man's work - and that your bombs could

burst as well as his. In the 1960s, you announced that you could

handle career and family both if you so chose.

In the 1980s, you

discovered you damn well had to handle both if didn't want

that family to starve. Then in the 2000s you thrilled us all by

demonstrating that any of her kind has a crack at 1600 Pennsylvania

Avenue itself- - provided you're hot enough, or had the foresight to

share a bed for decades with a prior inhabitant.

And in the 1950s, you had the Edyth

Thornton McLeods of the world commanding you to be lovely.

To be charming.

To "clothe yourself in the garment of


Even to maintain your poise right through a

third-degree scalding: "For instance, a poised person would never

show anger if a waiter should spill soup on her best hat."


Charm and Beauty

In the preface to this practical guide

to the best way to sculpt yourself to the standards of a world that

hates the real you, McLeod writes, "The desire for beauty -- or if

you are the more practical type, for good looks -- is inherent in

every woman. You can be as beautiful or good-looking as you desire."


The difference between "beauty" and

"good looks"? Charm, which McLeod defines as "that mysterious

something which sets you apart from the average person."

Here's a measure of charm's importance:

"Sarah Bernhardt (1844-1923) was actually unattractive of face

and figure, but somehow her charm cast an aura of mystery and

excitement about her."

So potent is your charm that it can slow the pace of

society's crumbling. By 1955, men no longer felt obligated to treat

their everyday ladies with the deference customary in the good old

days. But the lovely lady inspires chivalry:

"We women must act so charmingly and

well mannered that men will instinctively want to remove their

hats in elevators, to help us with bundles, as well as with budgets,

that they will want to open doors for us!"

So, how does a modern, ugly Sarah

Bernhadt-type inspire fellows to bundle-handling? Here are McLeod's tips

on charm and poise:

  • "You should have a 'wardrobe'

    of stationery, with at least six different styles and sizes of


  • To achieve a pleasing tone, read

    poetry out loud for five minutes a day.

  • "When you read a book, read

    it; get something out of it that you may bring into your


  • Abdicate what gains you've made.

    "Although they haven't yet achieved equal pay for equal work,

    women have assumed all of the details and have taken on all of the

    responsibilities. But when with an escort -- husband, beau, or

    business acquaintance -- please put on your best lady manners and

    'Let George do it!' Let him open doors, hail the taxis, give

    directions, and order the dinner!"

Your Figure


McLeod's remarks on physical beauty

kick off with a world-class philosophical conundrum:

"Your figure

is YOU, your personality personified."

Besides stirring up

fundamental mind/body questions, as well as all that old-school form

vs. substance controversy, this is a whole bunch of weird chili. I

mean, isn't your personality already its own


Please discuss.

And then, weep over the

incontrovertible scientific reality of your hugeness:


After breaking your spirit, McLeod addresses the need for

good diet, good posture, and how good gloves "without decoration,

in costume color" can flatter the short-armed. 

She points our that "Our modern

civilization demands bodily cleanliness as an aid to health and good

looks" and suggests "For stimulation, massage the body

with bath oil, then stand under a warm shower."


Shocking Detail: McLeod considers the four basic shapes

of ladies: "The Long Type," "The Short Figure," "The Fat,"

and "The Thin." Here's a helpful crime-scene photo.



From "Your Bosom":

"The only time I would advise you to

put up a 'false' front is when Nature has denied you the beauty

of a well-defined bosom. Fashion says that the bosom should be softly

rounded, with an uplifted contour. Do you qualify?"


McLeod recommends exercise and plastic

surgery but draws the line there. "There are no creams or lotions

yet made which will increase or decrease the breasts. Massage of this

sensitive area is not recommended."

-- By Alan Scherstuhl

Click for more exciting "Studies

in Crap!"

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