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."

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