Friday, August 17, 2012


Jen and I were working on a cervical cancer awareness campaign and asked if Helen would write something for us.
Several years ago I spent an hour with Helen Gurley Brown in her office in the Hearst tower. I felt super lucky to have booked this meeting, and in I walked, along with my biz partner Jennifer Grace,   carrying a copy of her book "Having it All: Love/Success/Sex/Money... Even if You're Starting with Nothing..." Of course, I wanted Helen to sign it.

"I'm so glad we're friends. Thrilled at the wonderful work you are doing. Love and hugs... I'll resist saying kisses!!!

Published in 1982, Helen Gurley Brown begins this book with 4 paragraphs of self-deprecation following one of her many hundred appearances on The Tonight Show. She writes, "I was awful." Referring to her inability to contend with the "enormous laughs" that guest Don Rickles commanded, she says, "I am about as funny as a glob of mayonnaise on the sleeve of your new chiffon blouse."

Helen pulls herself out of the depths of self-flagellation by paragraph 5.  As her limo pulls into the splendid Bel-Air Hotel, Helen has an awakening. "I'm here at this lovely hotel, in this lovely city, doing The Tonight Show I remind myself, because they asked me, I didn't ask them."

Never fear....the book gets juicy and fun as Helen Gurley Brown dispenses advice on how to be at the top of your game in love, sex and work even if you may have not been dealt all the beauty and brains cards from  the start. Her tips are still relevant; her phrasing is quite charming.  Here're a few of my favorite HGB-isms.

On meeting a man at a supermarket:
"Look in his basket and ask where he found the dill mayonnaise. If his basket reveals too much cat good or sanitary  napkins forget it -- he has other interests."

On inter-office sexual tension:
"I think sexual tension and electricity between men and women in an office help get the job done. Trying to please somebody you're nutty about can be productive."

On dressing for success:
"There just isn't any reason to hack your way up in tweed of gray flannel. Blending in with the furniture is one way to 'dress for success' but not the only way."

On orgasm:
"Believe me, men would fake if they could -- I feel sorry for them because they can't -- at least not very effectively."

On Having It All
"Having work you love is as important as having somebody to love - not more important but just as."

On the last page of the book:
"Do not follow where the path may lead. Go, instead, where there is no path and leave a trail."

Saturday, August 11, 2012

BEACH ETIQUETTE: To Wave or Not To Wave

As I walked along the sparsely populated beach, I said hello to everyone but the woman in the red bikini. I mean, I tried to say hello to her. I turned my head and looked her way. I was totally up for doing the nod of acknowledgment, but she was not interested in making a connection. She had two chances to make eye contact with me, but passed up both opportunities, choosing to keep silent behind sunglasses and a floppy hat. Everyone else that I passed today acknowledged me with either a half-wave, a nod and smile, or a verbal greeting.

These ladies were friendly and nice despite their lack of fresh fish.
The beach walk got me thinking about social interaction. I had some really good thoughts which I can't seem to conjure up at the moment. Seriously, I was composing some of the best stuff in my head as I walked along with no paper or pen. Are we more vulnerable in bikinis and therefore nicer? Is it harder to avoid others when one can't hide in a crowd? Are people just un-stressed and more open to each other on the beach? No hard conclusion yet. More research needed.

Me and two wet dogs.
But, I felt great. I was invigorated each time I shared a smile. I returned smelling a bit like wet dog, but it was worth it. And I found some excellent shells.