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Sex and the Single Girl Paperback – June, 1983
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Top Customer Reviews
Well, around 1964 one of my parents brought this book home, although neither of them would ever confess to the deed. Whoever it was, they did me a big favor. When the folks weren't watching, I swiped the book and devoured it in a single long sitting.
Helen Gurley Brown should have entitled this masterwork "All the Hard-Nosed Things that Young Women in the So-Called Pre-Feminist Era Need to Know about Money, Career, Independence, Women's Rights, and The Way Things Unfortunately Are. And Oh Yes, Sex. That." However, the book would undoubtedly have sold fewer copies if the title had truly reflected the contents, so it's just as well they hyped the sex part.
Under the impression that I was going to get to read some really naughty stuff, I studied Brown's book with the intensity I would later reserve for pre-calculus. Brown was the friendly, more experienced adult ("Aunt Helen," I liked to think of her) who cut the BS and told you how it really was with respect to a number of important subjects, often contradicting the messages of the dominant 60's culture, as it materialized later in the decade.
Money? Girl, Woodstock or not, you will need it when you are no longer "pristinely young," so get a career and earn it. You will appreciate the freedom and self-respect it brings you. Do the very best you can with whatever abilities you have and the education you can get, and the rewards will carry you through the inevitable bad times that everybody faces. Beauty? Even if you are gorgeous, don't put all your eggs in that basket, because your beauty will fade, and then where will you be if that's the only card you ever played? Love?Read more ›
Some of her advice, I think, is borderline-psychotic. In this book, Helen Gurley Brown encourages the single woman to "lift" things like lipstick and nailpolish from the dime store. She also stands by "The wine diet"...basically telling girls to drink wine instead of eating, to maintain a lithe figure. This, in my opinion, is insane. She also advises using dry shampoo. But, remember, this was back in a time where women didn't wash their own hair. They would go to the beauty salon once a week for a "wash & set" to lacquer their hair into unmovable shape.
While reading this book, keep in mind that feminism really hadn't swept the country, and affairs between executives and their office assistants was expected...regardless of marital status. I don't think "Sexual Harrasment" became a public issue until after this book was published.
Read this book with a grain of salt. Even though a good chunk of her advice is out-of-date, some of it is sound and rational. It's a great snap-shot of the 1960s pre-feminist mindset.
She exhorts single women to be prudent with their money, glam up their looks and to have an exciting social circle. All this is in addition to giving advice on when, where and how to meet attractive, successful men. Plus she gives some great recipes for entertaining. Read closely and you'll get some wonderful tips!
On the OTHER hand, she's quite cavalier about the ethics of dating married men and of having affairs with your coworkers even at the risk of endangering one's job. OK, so we can't legislate or dicatate our feelings. However, blatently encouraging such disruptive behavior is another issue altogether. In today's litigious climate I find this counsel questionable, especially to young, naive college grads who look up to Cosmo as "The Bible".
This book is like having a naughty aunt whisper in your ear the "real facts" of life, love, men, apartments, food. Some advice may be a little dated, but curiously, not as much as you think.
My favourite quote, and there are many of them, is "When you work for toads, drain the pond..." I've repeated this to myself
many times in my first serious job after university working for loser macho men - and that's in a supposedly more "enlightened post-feminist" 2004!
I sincerely hope Helen is still living life to the fullest. It's a fun read.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Read book when I was much younger. Lost all my books in a house fire. Slowly replacing them. Book was a fun read.Published 12 months ago by Heather Cole Loughin
Interesting read. Some advice outdated but gives one different perspectives to consider. Still some good advice.Published 12 months ago by ean6
An historical peak into 60's social thinking. Reads like a simple how to manual with many examples and suggestions on building a personal circle of men while embracing your own... Read morePublished 13 months ago by Rachel Drotar
I read this book as a young single girl in NYC.It is definitely dated.The message given is that marriage to a rich man is a meaningful goal.I wonder at the truth of that statement.Published 16 months ago by L.I. LINDA
I disagree with everything this book says. Don't get it, not worth your time.Published 17 months ago by Kimberly VH
a bit dated, but entertaining view into the world of women (mad men style) back in the 60's, 70's. surprisingly accurate advice back then about healthy eating and nutrition--that... Read morePublished 17 months ago by cindy eley
Bought it for a book club. Book is definitel dated and just could not keep my interest. It went into my GoodWill bag.Published 20 months ago by tylercat