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Sex and the New Single Girl, Revised and Updated Edition for the Seventies

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Provides single women with advice on such topics as dealing with men, sex, career success, becoming sexy, making money, and staying healthy.


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Provides single women with advice on such topics as dealing with men, sex, career success, becoming sexy, making money, and staying healthy.

30 review for Sex and the New Single Girl, Revised and Updated Edition for the Seventies

  1. 5 out of 5

    Andrea

    I read this eons ago, when I was in my late teens or early 20s, and I remember being impressed, gaining a lot of good advice from it. So when HGB died last week, I knew it deserved a re-read, and happily, it did not disappoint. It's especially fun to note how much Mad Men took from this book, particularly Peggy's career path and Joan's style. The title is misleading: only the first 60 pages or so are about sex; basically, It's Good to Enjoy Men, How to Sleep with Married Advertising Executives, I read this eons ago, when I was in my late teens or early 20s, and I remember being impressed, gaining a lot of good advice from it. So when HGB died last week, I knew it deserved a re-read, and happily, it did not disappoint. It's especially fun to note how much Mad Men took from this book, particularly Peggy's career path and Joan's style. The title is misleading: only the first 60 pages or so are about sex; basically, It's Good to Enjoy Men, How to Sleep with Married Advertising Executives, and How to Feel Sexy. The latter chapter is good advice for anyone; the first two, eh, pretty outdated. But the rest of the book (200 pages) is filled with practical, timeless advice for living independently, both financially and emotionally. There are tips on everything from how to save and invest your career money, how to move up the ladder (without sleeping with the boss!), the importance of having your own apartment (not necessarily owning it!), why and how to buy quality clothes and home furnishings instead of amassing cheap junk, the importance of being a health nut and exercising every day, how to throw a party, and how to cook a few decent, filling, yummy meals. Very good advice for anyone living on their own, no matter how old or how "girly" you are! Brown herself was no spoiled glamour girl. She was very poor as a child. Her father died when she was 10 and her sister had polio; her mother raised them in a tiny home in a crappy Los Angeles neighborhood. "Not beautiful or even pretty," in her own words, Brown had guts, spirit, determination, independence, and a strong work ethic, while supporting her family during her whole rise to Cosmo fame and glory. She was no snob, though lots of people who don't know her story seem to think she was something she wasn't. She was a pioneer! I'm afraid the 1- and 2-star reviews here are from people who didn't actually read the book, or were so blinded by the audacity of the first two chapters that they seem more straightlaced than Brown's naysayers in 1962. Never mind them. This book is a classic.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jillian

    This woman's legacy is funding my career for the next few years, so I thought I should read her book. The cover is appallingly pink. Written in 1962, this is a how-to guide for single women. How to eat, dress, decorate your home, and mostly how to find a man. Which is my main issue with the book - for a book that is celebrating the single life, what's the hurry in exiting it? For its time, this book was probably a feminist marvel and very revolutionary. It's painful now... so I'm glad we have come This woman's legacy is funding my career for the next few years, so I thought I should read her book. The cover is appallingly pink. Written in 1962, this is a how-to guide for single women. How to eat, dress, decorate your home, and mostly how to find a man. Which is my main issue with the book - for a book that is celebrating the single life, what's the hurry in exiting it? For its time, this book was probably a feminist marvel and very revolutionary. It's painful now... so I'm glad we have come so far. Much of Helen's advice is for women to work toward Enchanting a man, getting gifts, controlling him with charm... which is one way to gain power, but I prefer to strive for Equality myself, thank you. On the other hand, some of her advice still holds. Get some exercise, eat a lot of protein, dress in a way that makes you feel good. Yes, do those things! She is also pretty fun to read. She's a clever writer and also uses charming phrases like "piffle poofle."

  3. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    This book was just down-right fun. It's shockingly advanced for the time and awfully dated at the same time, but it's the contrast that makes it so interesting. Helen Gurley Brown is the ultimate in kooky, fascinating old broads. Her opinions on homosexuals will make you squirm and her constant use of "girls" to address middle-aged woman will make you blush, but she would have been the life of any party and the woman anyone would just have to look up to. This is a historic artifact worth a read. This book was just down-right fun. It's shockingly advanced for the time and awfully dated at the same time, but it's the contrast that makes it so interesting. Helen Gurley Brown is the ultimate in kooky, fascinating old broads. Her opinions on homosexuals will make you squirm and her constant use of "girls" to address middle-aged woman will make you blush, but she would have been the life of any party and the woman anyone would just have to look up to. This is a historic artifact worth a read.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Wandoo

    I stumbled upon Sex and the Single Girl when I was doing some research on Luna Dunham , an actress/ director/producer who is an inspiration to upcoming Millennial filmmakers. Lena Dunham apparently wrote a book about her rise to fame which critics say is similar to Helen Gurley Brown's tells all book. That got me curious. I was like who is Helen Gurley Brown and why haven't I ever heard of her: Well, I found out that she is a remarkable woman who was the editor in chief of Cosmopolitian magazine I stumbled upon Sex and the Single Girl when I was doing some research on Luna Dunham , an actress/ director/producer who is an inspiration to upcoming Millennial filmmakers. Lena Dunham apparently wrote a book about her rise to fame which critics say is similar to Helen Gurley Brown's tells all book. That got me curious. I was like who is Helen Gurley Brown and why haven't I ever heard of her: Well, I found out that she is a remarkable woman who was the editor in chief of Cosmopolitian magazine for 47 years up until 2012 when she passed(rest her dear soul). Cosmo Magazine isn't known to be the pocket book of conservatives, so you can rightfully assume that in this book, no topic is off limits. I am familiar with the saying “ don't judge a book by its cover,” however I almost fell victim to this mind trap. Not quite by the cover because the cover I absolutely loved. It is flashy va voom pink with yellow text and it boldly states on the top “ Before there was Sex and the City there was. . .Sex and the Single Girl.” When I started reading Sex and the Single Girl, I almost threw in the towel a few pages in because I thought the book was only about where and how to score a man. I have mixed feelings about setting out on an adventure for the sole purpose of meeting a man. I like to think that I and all other females(even guys too I presume) have a lot or at least something going for them. That being said it seems to me like when you over advertise that could very well mean that you are doubting the quality of your timbre. From careful observation, I can confidently say that most couples weren't necessarily looking when they found “the one.” It sort of just happened because they were in the right place and were ready for that type of commitment. Some of Gurley tips on how/where single girls can meet men seems a tad aggressive. She suggests going skiing alone;going to beach alone and making sure to get a strategic spot to tan with a very interesting towel(which will also serve as your baIt(a conversation starter); Sitting next to men on the plane, In Gurley's exact words: “ I don't have to tell you to be sure to sit next to a man. If you see a lady bearing down and there are still empty seats in the plane, be ruthless. Pile your hatbox, coat and newspapers in the seat next to you and go to sleep immediately. Remove everything and wake up smiling when a man appears.” Even Helen Gurley Brown admits that this move is some worth out there. In proto- millennial speak, “the hustle is real.” In any case, I am glad that I stuck with this book and read it till the very last page. I simply cannot tell you how much this piece of literature has meant to be. It is not merely a how to pick guys up guide, it is manual for life(in its own right) . I strongly believe that a lot girls will find the information in this book invaluable. If you are in the formative years of your journey as career woman, who better to take advice from than someone who has effortlessly lived the good life for over 50 years on pennies and in moula. Sex and the Single Girl is possibly one of the most honest books I will ever read. While I do not always agree a 100% with any writer, I am often drawn to unadulterated gungho honesty. Essentially this book can be divided into four sub sections: 1) Where and how to find a man or men 2) The different types of men 3) How to carry yourself as a fabulous single in plenty and in lack 4) How to gravitate towards or build a career from the ground up 4) The conclusion. I reiterated a rather humorous direct quote from Sex and the Single Girl about how/where to find a man. Now on to the types of men. According to Gurley, there are The Eligibles who are extremely hard to come by also known as The Dreamboat(I believe no explanation is necessary for this category). Then there's The- Eligibles-But- Who- Needs- Them( the weirdies, the creepies, the dullies, the snobs, the hopeless neurotics and the mamas' darlings). The Don Juans. Or in the current day lingua: The PUA(Pick Up Artist)/ Player. The Don Juan is ruthless and sadistic boyish smooth talker. As Gurley says, “ A Don Juan is the only man who doesn't squirm when you have hysterics. He considers it a vote of confidence.” Every woman knows a DJ or has been associated with one at a point her life. This is a man that you know is not worthy of you( you loss self respect when you are with him). Yet you are too hooked, you can't resist his charm. Other categories are: The Homosexual. The Divorcee. The Younger Man. And The Married Man. The Married Man can be a status elevator. While personally I do not subscribe to school of thought were it is okay to date married men, to each his own. Besides the obvious status elevation(socially/financially) and the career help a married man can offer, he will also spoon feed you praise and appreciation which you rarely receive from single men who are afraid that it will be misconstrued as a marriage proposal. Granted some of Helen Gurley Brown's opinions are grandiose especially about married men not being off limits. I like the fact that she takes a stand and is unapologetic about it. Her reasoning being that some wives play the field as well, while some simply do not care and that if a wife really did want her husband back the single girl does not stand a chance. Also she says that it is unrealistic to expect to be with just the one person all your life with out drifting at some point. On this we disagree. I believe that some how people who are okay with playing the field some how gravitate towards each other and vice versa. So I guess we are in essence saying the same thing then. Gurley also speaks in strong terms about how to carry yourself as woman. She emphasizes the need to a health nut and to exercise as often as possible, have a very classy aesthetically pleasing/cozy apartment, know how to throw a killer party on a budget, favour more expensive solid pieces in your wardrobe as opposed to an overload of bargain items, if possible be adopted by slightly older married couple who can smoothen the fall when the need arises as a single girl and the most important piece of advice in the entirety of the book is to be a career woman. Everyone is fascinated by people who are passionate about things. They make more interesting conversationalists and they exude poise. Besides the better your job as a single woman, the better your social standing. She goes on to say that there are 7 reasons women choose not to pursue a career(only the first 4 are valid): 1) You are under 25 and plan to marry and have children as soon as you can. Why start a career? 2) You are 40. Your good but uninspiring job gives you profit- sharing, retirement benefits, a pleasant, comfortable life. Why risk this setup for anything flashier? 3) You are a beachcomberess at heart and nurture no dreams of glory. You'd rather be more relaxed and less income-taxed! 4) You have only moderately good mental equipment. 5) No employer to date has indicated you are anything but a menace to the company. They have kept you on out of compassion. How can you have the gall to hope for a great future? 6) Between your present job and the one you covet as Mink- Trailing Editor, Serious Actress, Buyer Who Goes to Europe Twice a Year yawn such chasms that you can't think how to begin to bridge them. 7) You are not going to risk one whit of femininity by being a career woman. The last few chapters are an overview of the book. Gurley reckons that most people are hopelessly censored because when we were all children we learnt that the only way to get along with mom and dad was never say what you were feeling/thinking and never letting on that you were the least bit provoked. This she says stifled your imagination and the fear of doing anything adventurous was instilled. To live a full life however, you have to live dangerously. She adds that men should have made up his mind about you in 6months- 1 year of meeting and if not you have encountered a hardened veteran(hahahaha). In addition she says that single women would be surprised to know that their weirdest/most wicked base thoughts/fantasies are not unusual so do away with the guilt and you are not cuckoo unless you act upon them. Gurley raps up this school of thought with another humorous/edgy quote. She says especially with regards to guilt surrounding premarital sex “You may share your desire to make love to an African lion with the Vicar's wife or even the vicar!” Sex is a really complicated part of our society which is often not brought up at all in a lot of social circles especially in conservative ones. It is always refreshing to read an author discuss a topic a lot of people tip toe around with such reckless abandon and yet in a sufficiently sensitive manner. Sex and the Single Girl is the woman's guide to life. If you are single. Enjoy your singlehood. Don't spend all your precious years pinning for a man when you can be out there finding/creating yourself. Things often take their natural course. If marriage is one of your life goals, while you are single, should you choose to have one affair, a string of affairs including with married men or remain celibate until you are married- it is all on you. As a feminist writer(Christiana Mbakwe)which I routinely follow says “If you really are a Feminist or familiar with Feminism, you’ll understand that our agency and autonomy are paramount. Any attempt to erode, define or curtail the agency or autonomy of a woman, is not only regressive but it’s restrictive. We have to define for ourselves, what it means to be a feminist. You can be a feminist housewife. A feminist stripper. There are no oxymorons.” In conclusion, however you choose to life your life, no one has the right to shame you into their belief system.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Ellen

    I read the original version, not the revised, post-Sex and the City version. It was a very interesting read from a feminist/historical point of view. Helen Gurley Brown and her book are hard to pigeonhole. On one hand, there is no denying that her book is about teaching "girls" (rarely does she use the word "women") about how to make themselves attractive to, and how to obtain, men (note--they're adults, not "boys"). She devotes many pages to teaching girls how to dress, groom, and even decorate I read the original version, not the revised, post-Sex and the City version. It was a very interesting read from a feminist/historical point of view. Helen Gurley Brown and her book are hard to pigeonhole. On one hand, there is no denying that her book is about teaching "girls" (rarely does she use the word "women") about how to make themselves attractive to, and how to obtain, men (note--they're adults, not "boys"). She devotes many pages to teaching girls how to dress, groom, and even decorate their apartments in order to catch a man. Much of her advice makes a modern feminist wince. And yet, there is definitely a strong proto-feminist vein in her work as well. She stresses the need to have a career and to be good at it, not only because the office is such a good place to meet men but in order to achieve self-fulfillment (not that she uses such a term). Of course, Gurley Brown was a major career woman herself, both before and after her "late" marriage at the ripe old age of 37. I only read half--I felt I understood what she had to say and saw no point in forcing myself to continue plodding on through the text, which made slow going at times given the author's lack of writing talent. This, despite being a major advertising copy writer before becoming, famously, the editor in chief of Cosmo for 30 years. Still, it was interesting from a feminist/historical perspective for someone interested in the development of feminist thought and popular culture.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Sannie Hald

    This is a load of rubbish... Is she serious or is it all a joke?

  7. 5 out of 5

    Claire

    I have a lot of respect for Helen Gurley Brown. She changed things for women when they really needed changing. I have been curious to read this book for awhile. The book was published in 1962, and it really shows. Ms. Brown stated in the introduction to the edition I read that she had not updated any of the advice, as she felt it could still be useful nowadays. Overall this could be true, bar the unfortunate discourse on homosexuality that definitely reflects the opinions of the time. I was rather I have a lot of respect for Helen Gurley Brown. She changed things for women when they really needed changing. I have been curious to read this book for awhile. The book was published in 1962, and it really shows. Ms. Brown stated in the introduction to the edition I read that she had not updated any of the advice, as she felt it could still be useful nowadays. Overall this could be true, bar the unfortunate discourse on homosexuality that definitely reflects the opinions of the time. I was rather disappointed in the prevailing view of men-as-prey, which is not an uncommon attitude today, either. Advice to view all men, married or not, as romantic prospects was a little unsettling. On the other hand, the book is about becoming a real person (even if the purpose often seems to be to make oneself more attractive to men). She talks about things like nutrition and the psychological benefits of makeup, about the value of making your home somewhere people - especially you - like to be, the necessity of starting at the bottom at a new job and working hard to reach the top. The message of the book also is that a woman has a right to be at the top, and that she is a perfectly valid person even if she is not married. And, of course, the book states outright that having an active sex life is nothing to be ashamed of. (She does recommend birth control, and counsels against trying to "trap" a man with a baby). All told, I'm glad I read the book. It affirms my view of the rights of women to have rich, full lives that include sex whether married or not. I will take away some of the advice about, for example, shopping for good clothes on a small income, and the necessity of hard work to get what you want out of life. I tend to view men as people rather than targets who must be managed, but culturally that is an attitude that started in my lifetime, so I don't hold the "target" attitude against her.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Tess

    Considering that this book was published in the 60's, the core concept, that a single woman could live alone and have a wonderfully fulfilling life without intending to get married, was revolutionary (I would argue it still is, to some degree). This book is more of a "how to live fabulously" book than a "how to land a man"–i.e. 'Don't worry about it, enjoy yourself!' is often her man-trap advice. It's good advice! My favorite chapters where the ones on Money and the Apartment. The Apartment one r Considering that this book was published in the 60's, the core concept, that a single woman could live alone and have a wonderfully fulfilling life without intending to get married, was revolutionary (I would argue it still is, to some degree). This book is more of a "how to live fabulously" book than a "how to land a man"–i.e. 'Don't worry about it, enjoy yourself!' is often her man-trap advice. It's good advice! My favorite chapters where the ones on Money and the Apartment. The Apartment one reminded me of the Parks & Rec episode where Ann is professing her love for Tom Haverford (Aziz Anzari)...'s apartment. What really makes the book great is the truth in Brown's common sense advice, her self-deprecating humor, and the light hand she uses to make what could easily be a tedious subject feel like a indulgence. "Helen Gurley Brown" on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helen_Gu... In 1962, at the age of 40, her bestselling book Sex and the Single Girl was published. In 1965, she became editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan and reversed the fortunes of the failing magazine. During the decade of the 1960s she was an outspoken advocate of women's sexual freedom and sought to provide them with role-models and a guide in her magazine. She claimed that women could have it all, "love, sex, and money", a view that even preceding feminists such as Betty Friedan and Germaine Greer did not support at all and has been met with notable opposition by advocates of grass-roots devotion of women to family and marriage. Due to her advocacy, glamorous, fashion-focused women were sometimes called "Cosmo Girls". Her work played a part in what is often called the sexual revolution.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jess

    Following the death of HGB, I made an effort to seek out Sex and the Single Girl to get a fuller sense of the contribution she had made to women and feminism. This book is full of feminist highs and lows, and it is actually quite difficult to pin HGB down within this. On the one hand, she is still very man- and marriage-centric, despite claims to the contrary; on the other hand, she advocates for women to embrace independence and full and happy sex lives. So this is as much a product of its time Following the death of HGB, I made an effort to seek out Sex and the Single Girl to get a fuller sense of the contribution she had made to women and feminism. This book is full of feminist highs and lows, and it is actually quite difficult to pin HGB down within this. On the one hand, she is still very man- and marriage-centric, despite claims to the contrary; on the other hand, she advocates for women to embrace independence and full and happy sex lives. So this is as much a product of its time as it is challenging and controversial for its time - and to this day. For all the moments where I cringed at the engrained sexism, there were moments when I would shake my head in amazement at the picture of already extant fun singledom that HGB paints. Certainly the book might be challenging for a feminist reader, but it sure is fun too. A big part of me wants to do a Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen-style blog and try out all the advice doled out by HGB. While I'm not too sure about some of the menus, I'm sure my apartment, my wardrobe, and my social life might benefit from it.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    I loved this book! I just loved it. I didn't have my first romantic rendezvous until I was 25 and even though he is now my husband (!), I spent my high school and university years comparing myself to my peers and feeling left out. Feeling as though I was missing out on all of the relationship milestones. I wish I had read this book when I was a teenager. I think I would have fared better with Notorious H.G.B. by my side. Even though it was written in 1962, much of its content is applicable today I loved this book! I just loved it. I didn't have my first romantic rendezvous until I was 25 and even though he is now my husband (!), I spent my high school and university years comparing myself to my peers and feeling left out. Feeling as though I was missing out on all of the relationship milestones. I wish I had read this book when I was a teenager. I think I would have fared better with Notorious H.G.B. by my side. Even though it was written in 1962, much of its content is applicable today (and much can be discarded, which is why I didn't give it a perfect five stars.) This book is a standout because of Helen Gurley Brown's tone of voice: she is your best girlfriend, gal pal, closest confidante throughout. She just wants what you want, and will help you get it! Want to get a new man, new job, new apartment? Want to learn to cook or buy flattering clothes or wear makeup when once you wore none? Want to manage your own money? Travel? Helen will talk you through it all with a perfect mix of humor and no-nonsense attitude. And oh boy, is she funny! Here are the snippets I wrote down to remember. R.I.P. Helen (1922-2012.) I believe that as many women over thirty marry out of fear of being alone someday -- not necessarily now but some day -- as for love of or compatibility with a particular man. The plan seems to be to get someone while the getting's good and by the time you lose your looks he'll be too securely glued to you to get away. Isn't it silly? A man can leave a woman at fifty (though it may cost him some dough) as surely as you can leave dishes in the sink. He can leave anytime before then too, and so may you leave him when you find your football hero developing into the town drunk. Then you have it all to do over again as if you hadn't gobbled him up in girlish haste. How much saner and sweeter to mary when you have both jelled. And how much safer to marry with part of the play out of his system and yours. It takes guts. It can be lonely out there out of step with the rest of the folks. And you may not find somebody later. But since you're not finding somebody sooner as things stand, wouldn't it be better to stop driving...to stop fretting...to start recognizing what you have now? *** Most importantly, a single woman, even if she is a file clerk, moves in the world of men. She knows their language -- the language of retailing, advertising, motion pictures, exporting, shipbuilding. Her world is a far more colorful world than the one of P.T.A., Dr. Spock and the jammed clothes dryer. A single woman never has to drudge. She can get her housework over within one good hour Saturday morning plus one other hour to iron blouses and white collars. She need never break her fingernails or her spirit waxing a playroom or cleaning out the garage. *** I do not mean to suggest for a moment that being single is not often hell. But I do mean to suggest that it can also be quite heavenly, whether you choose it or it chooses you. There is a catch to achieving single bliss. You have to work like a son of a bitch. But show me the married woman who can loll about and eat cherry bonbons! Hourly she is told by every magazine she reads what she must do to keep her marriage from bursting at the seams. There is no peace for anybody married or single unless you do your chores. Frankly, I wouldn't want to make the choice between a married hell or a single hell. They're both hell. *** Are you totally, horribly, hideously, irrevocably offended by this whole discussion of sex? Do you feel it is a subject better left for married girls to probe? If so, by all means skip this chapter! Or skip the whole book! It is written for girls who may not marry but who are not necessarily planning to join a nunnery. *** Most importantly, a job gives a single woman something to be. A married woman already is something. She is the banker's wife, the gangster's wife, the wrangler's wife, the strangler's wife, the conductor's wife (streetcar or symphony.) Whatever hardships she endures in marriage, one of them is not that she doesn't have a place in life. A single woman is known by what she does rather than by whom she belongs to. *** Finish the projects. If you don't finish them, it doesn't count! These are relatively painless projects, however, and take only low-grade will power. If you've promised your pal at the service station to bring him the picture from Life that looks like him, bring it. If you've promised yourself an entire Sunday in bed reading movie magazines and drinking hot chocolate, flake out! Make your personal life a history of started and completed projects if you want to be the kind of person a career can happen to. There is a connection. *** As for going from company to company in search of susceptible bosses...quelle bore! You would probably do yourself more real good by staying right where you are and learning to read a statistical report. After all, girls to go to bed with he can always find. No real training is required, but where is a boss going to get a girl who can read statistical reports? *** If you try to show off in a building or neighborhood you can't afford, you must dress, drive, entertain and live poshly; and that way lies debtor's prison! A more impressive way to impress is with what's inside -- you and the furniture! Dazzled by you both, nobody will remember they came through a slum to get to you. *** All the recipe pages do is make it pretty clear that if you aren't stuffing a twenty-pound bird with chestnut-and-bacon dressing you are weakening the moral fiber of America. It's enough to weaken your fiber and send you out to the kitchen for another peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich. The very word "entertaining" sounds kind of snooty and married -- like the Turkish ambassador's wife having seventy for sit-down dinner, the actor and actress team ladling out marguerites at a pool party. Can they really call what you do -- frozen pizza for three girl friends before a Dean Martin spectacular -- entertaining? Certainly! All you have to do to qualify as an entertainer is to cook something or pour something. *** Pussyfooting means that on little cat feet you sneak up on one dish at a time. First you boil water, then you make Jell-O. Next you make a mousse; and one day, sing choirs of angels, you have advanced on and overtaken...Beef Stroganoff! *** If you decide to go the health route, don't talk about it on dates. Think how cleverly Dracula concealed his vampirehood. *** Do get dumbbells. A woman's upper arms give her age away faster than slip-ups about remembering Kay Francis in One Way Passage (not on television). Also, hoisting your dumbbells even in a stupor, makes you feel so en rapport with the rest of the world's athletes. *** If there's nobody available, walk alone. One Labor Day weekend I walked three days in a row by myself. It sounds kind of pitiful, doesn't it, but who saw me but lizards? By Tuesday I was tummyless, lean and feeling very smug about the whole thing. A mountain climb is the greatest way to work off a rage at a man who has done something awful. Don't take him with you, of course. When you get off the trail, you just haven't the strength to hate until much later. *** Now, I think, is the time to confess I'm just on the nervous edge of trying to increase my ten-minute exercise period for the thirtieth time in my life. There will probably be a thirty-first, thirty-second, etc. This accursed book has fallen into my hands -- How To Keep Slender and Fit after Thirty by Bonnie Prudden. Now Miss Prudden is an exerciser from way back, with the figure to prove it. And her book describes about ninety-three hundred thousand things you could do if you had a rubber body, and the stamina of King Kong. My first inclination was to write her a letter and say how ridiculous it is to expect a woman to do a fraction that much. And maybe we're turtles, but turtles have feelings too -- and don't like to be criticized for hating "bicycles." *** Ocasionally a man you truly adore has a clothes preference, and you must humor him, of course. My husband is a fiend for slinky black...wants it worn winter or summer, day or night. I remember one hot August afternoon when we were first dating, he said, "Get into something slinky black. We're going over to meet my friends Jackie and Ernest." Naturally I wanted Jackie and Ernest to like me, so I got right into something slinky and black. Well, everybody was out by the pool in wet swimsuits and faded denims, and there was I -- Vampira at high noon. When I get my slinky-black instructions now, unless it's night, I just pretend everything's at the cleaners or fell into the bathtub when I was trying to steam the wrinkles out. *** Nearly every woman is part-beauty. She has one good feature even if it's just smooth elbows. You play up that feature. You draw a face on the elbow with little eyes and a mouth. (I'm kidding!) *** Married couples go places in neat little twos, fours, and sixes -- which seems so orderly. Naturally they do! There are two of each, so they multiply for social outings in twos like themselves. But you are not one of Noah's aardvarks, and it is all right to move in threes and fives occasionally. *** Many married hostesses (who are not working women themselves) would be more comfortable with a Martian at the dinner table than a single female over twenty-five. They figure the only way to solve the whole embarrassing mess (a friend of their husband's brought you) is to bring you into their world and confine the conversation entirely to the children's summer camps, parties you haven't been to and what to put in the rock garden. About once a year I used to come down with an illness I could diagnose as patio fever -- total malaise brought on by having admired one too many split-level houses, basements converted into rumpus rooms or freshly landscaped patios. In an all-married gathering, I always found the best course of action was just to shut up and smile. Nobody will understand or care a bloody thing about what you do anyway. Of course, if you absolutely insist on entering the conversation, you can open with, "I understand this is one of the few neighborhoods in the city where property values have gone down consistently since 1956." That will put you in the action.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jackie Morrison

    Before Candance Bushnell there was Cosmopolitan's legendary HGB. Helen Gurley Brown was the original single girl in New York. She was well positioned too. The sexual evolution was her calling card and this book was the first modern guide to living life. HGB was to women what Hugh Hefner in the 1960s was to men. This book, groundbreaking as it was, paved the way for Candace Bushnell and her Sex and the City fame. Sex and the Single Girl is about being a modern woman seeking adventure and passion Before Candance Bushnell there was Cosmopolitan's legendary HGB. Helen Gurley Brown was the original single girl in New York. She was well positioned too. The sexual evolution was her calling card and this book was the first modern guide to living life. HGB was to women what Hugh Hefner in the 1960s was to men. This book, groundbreaking as it was, paved the way for Candace Bushnell and her Sex and the City fame. Sex and the Single Girl is about being a modern woman seeking adventure and passion more than an MRS degree. HGB dished it out with advice on being sexy, enjoying the night life, and enjoying sex without fear of pregnancy. The pill revolutionized gender relations and this book was pivotal in letting women know that the old school 1950s no longer existed. While it may be dated now, any feminist ought to read this book as its impact on the lives of females is still being felt today. HGB was not a feminist. She was a woman who captured the power of women that exploded in the 1960s. There was no other rule book until this book was published. One thing about HGB is that she carried along with a married man back in the day. It’s been going on for centuries but she actually spoke about it openly. Looking back on the events since this was first published almost makes you wonder how feminism would have developed without HGB.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Histteach24

    Picked it up as it is one of the most revolutionary books of its time. Thought it would provide wonderful excerpts for my class on the 1960's. The title is misleading. I found it funny that this book was revolutionary for its time, but spent very little time actually talking about single woman having sex, techniques of enjoying it, etc. Instead the author still seemed censored in how she discussed the issue. Instead the book was more of a single girl's guide to life-how to dress, wear make up, ea Picked it up as it is one of the most revolutionary books of its time. Thought it would provide wonderful excerpts for my class on the 1960's. The title is misleading. I found it funny that this book was revolutionary for its time, but spent very little time actually talking about single woman having sex, techniques of enjoying it, etc. Instead the author still seemed censored in how she discussed the issue. Instead the book was more of a single girl's guide to life-how to dress, wear make up, eat,etc. The dating section was scandalous even for modern times. The recipes she gives are very outdated, but I would still love to try them. Would love to see if any of the books or shops she mentions are still around. Ordered the 1962 hardcover first edition for my book collection. A must read for feminists, educators who teach women's issues and history, and any girl who could still use some advice on how to be single. Thinking of reading the revised edition from the 70's: Sex and the New Single Girl. Also can't wait to see the movie with Natalie Wood.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Liss Carmody

    What a funny book. I like how the whole point is that you don't have to get married in order to have a cool, worthwhile life! Except let's spend a lot of time talking about how to acquire a man, and whether or not he might marry you. I get that the Question of Marriage is a question, especially in 1964, but dang. The point of view is also shamelessly manipulative, cheerfully advocating use of feminine wiles to lure men for your personal and financial benefit, regardless of their marital status o What a funny book. I like how the whole point is that you don't have to get married in order to have a cool, worthwhile life! Except let's spend a lot of time talking about how to acquire a man, and whether or not he might marry you. I get that the Question of Marriage is a question, especially in 1964, but dang. The point of view is also shamelessly manipulative, cheerfully advocating use of feminine wiles to lure men for your personal and financial benefit, regardless of their marital status or other qualities. On the one hand, it's refreshingly -different.- On the other hand, it's just another self-help manual of the day, preoccupied with men. As an aside, the sections on makeup and cooking are hilarious and slightly astonishing - people really ate and wore this stuff! It's impressive. Some of the nutrition advice is still remarkably sound, though.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Monica

    This book was just terrible. When I got to "Chapter 4: How to be Sexy" I finally threw in the towel. I had high hopes for it as the author was one of the first female copywriters in the industry, but that doesn't help disguise how truly outdated her writing is--the original printing of "Sex and The Single Girl" was in 1962. I suppose I thought it was going to be kitschy, but it just left me feeling sad. Alas, from what little I ended up reading I'm reminded of how far working women have come and This book was just terrible. When I got to "Chapter 4: How to be Sexy" I finally threw in the towel. I had high hopes for it as the author was one of the first female copywriters in the industry, but that doesn't help disguise how truly outdated her writing is--the original printing of "Sex and The Single Girl" was in 1962. I suppose I thought it was going to be kitschy, but it just left me feeling sad. Alas, from what little I ended up reading I'm reminded of how far working women have come and how THE PERFECT LIPSTICK SHADE won't determine if we get a raise or not. ...... Or does it?

  15. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    A friend of mine recommended this book, and at the time it seemed interesting...so...I picked it up. It offers up some very outdated advice, but more importantly it's hilarious, all the while keeping the tone that you don't have to settle down and have a relationship to be "successful" and "happy" like some women seem to believe. It's empowering, tear jerking...make you want to call your best friends and sisters and mom. A friend of mine recommended this book, and at the time it seemed interesting...so...I picked it up. It offers up some very outdated advice, but more importantly it's hilarious, all the while keeping the tone that you don't have to settle down and have a relationship to be "successful" and "happy" like some women seem to believe. It's empowering, tear jerking...make you want to call your best friends and sisters and mom.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Mary

    Interesting book in terms of all the stuff single twentysomethings had to worry about fifty years ago, but so many references in this edition were too dated for the book to be useful to anyone now. And the title is misleading-given that this edition came out in 1962, there's no real amount about sex in it all- likely would've been labeled obscene and maybe even banned in some places if it did. Interesting book in terms of all the stuff single twentysomethings had to worry about fifty years ago, but so many references in this edition were too dated for the book to be useful to anyone now. And the title is misleading-given that this edition came out in 1962, there's no real amount about sex in it all- likely would've been labeled obscene and maybe even banned in some places if it did.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Alessandra Gad

    I like reading dated advice books like this for fun sometimes, and I wanted this to be more entertaining than it was. I did like that I could definitely see the influence on a show like Mad Men, though.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Rakesh

    “Good girls go to heaven and bad girls go everywhere.” Helen Gurley Brown must have had so much fun writing this book. It had plenty of laughs in it when it was published. Now that it is so outdated readers will get so many more laughs out of the book.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Nicole

    This professed "cult classic," Sex and the Single Girl by Helen Gurley Brown, was originally released in the 1962. Although if you read the 2003 introduction, you quickly discover that Ms. Gurley Brown feels nothing has changed. Which makes you giggle and you find kinda fun until you actually read the book. I am not quite sure how much has changed from 2003 to today, July 9, 2011, but I am going to venture to say, "Not that much." Not enough to justify some of these amazing little tidbits. On marr This professed "cult classic," Sex and the Single Girl by Helen Gurley Brown, was originally released in the 1962. Although if you read the 2003 introduction, you quickly discover that Ms. Gurley Brown feels nothing has changed. Which makes you giggle and you find kinda fun until you actually read the book. I am not quite sure how much has changed from 2003 to today, July 9, 2011, but I am going to venture to say, "Not that much." Not enough to justify some of these amazing little tidbits. On married men, page 24: "It seems to me the solution is not to rule out married men but to keep them as pets. [...] One married man is dangerous. A potpourri can be fun." (A potpourri of married men--why didn't I think of that?!?) On wives, page 25: "What about the harm you may do his wife? I'm afraid I have a rather cavalier attitude about wives. The reason is this: A wife, if she is loving and smart, will get her husband back every time." (Totally--only a wife can keep her husband from cheating.) On jobs, page 34: "Now...it seems obvious to me that if you aren't meeting any men through your job, you are in the wrong job." (Clearly she doesn't know a thing about theatre. You should hear the horrendous things she says about homosexuals; it's so embarrassing I refuse to even quote in jest on this blog.) On how to be man bait, page 63: "Carry a controversial book at all times--like Karl Marx' Das Kapital or Lady Chatterly's Lover. It's a perfectly simple way of saying, "I'm open to conversation," without having to start one." (That's right--no need to have any actual interest in them. Pray the man hasn't read them so he won't ask questions you can't answer.) On a career, page 89: "What you do from nine to five has everything to do with men anyhow. A job is one way of getting to them. It also provides the money with which to dress for them and dress up your apartment for them. [...] Most importantly, a job gives a single woman something to be." (Thanks for the clarification; I forgot I wasn't anything until I had a job! My mom was wrong!) Now, I have to say there is some good advice in here. One chapter, titled "Money Money Money," offers very practical (regardless of the era) budgeting and money-saving advice. I appreciated the practicality of it. But overall, this book was like a train wreck I watched in slow motion. I wanted to quit the book about halfway through but knew that if I did I might miss another little gem. The tag line you can see at the top of the cover says, "Before there was Sex and the City, there was..." But I have to tell you, if Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte, or especially Miranda read this book, there would have been hell to pay. According to Ms. Gurley Brown, I will never find a man. So in conclusion, I am glad I had a good laugh. I was entertained, and was able to share some of the above tidbits with friends in good jest. But thank goodness times have changed. Speaking of which, I have to go to work. The work I do not because I want to attract a man or to define me, but because I love it.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Cara

    I decided to read this after hearing it mentioned several times on Mad Men. I was interested to learn what it was exactly that Helen Gurley Brown laid out that became such an inspiration to women of the 60s. Suprisingly, I found much of it to be inspirational now, nearly 50 years later. The book gets off to a great, up beat and at times hilarious start that carries on most of the way through. Either the writing dulls out, or my interest waned, but toward the end I had some trouble staying intere I decided to read this after hearing it mentioned several times on Mad Men. I was interested to learn what it was exactly that Helen Gurley Brown laid out that became such an inspiration to women of the 60s. Suprisingly, I found much of it to be inspirational now, nearly 50 years later. The book gets off to a great, up beat and at times hilarious start that carries on most of the way through. Either the writing dulls out, or my interest waned, but toward the end I had some trouble staying interested. I think maybe I was just ready to get out of the house and start putting some of Brown's advice to work! All in all, a delightful read.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Sophie

    First published in 1962, this was the shocking guide to being a single woman and having it all - including affairs with married men if you felt like it. Much of the advice is very dated, and all the more interesting as an insight into social and sexual mores in the Mad Men era. It's not all dating though, Brown also gives advice on having a career, living on a budget, decorating your own flat, entertaining and how to choose a wardrobe. Some of her advice is very sensible, and she has a "can do" First published in 1962, this was the shocking guide to being a single woman and having it all - including affairs with married men if you felt like it. Much of the advice is very dated, and all the more interesting as an insight into social and sexual mores in the Mad Men era. It's not all dating though, Brown also gives advice on having a career, living on a budget, decorating your own flat, entertaining and how to choose a wardrobe. Some of her advice is very sensible, and she has a "can do" attitude that is rather uplifting.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jamie

    For me, reading Sex and the Single Girl is like curling up next to a warm, crackling fire in the dead of winter. Helen Gurley Brown is the cool aunt, knowing big sister, and hip mom you never had. This book turned conventional thinking about gender roles on its head in the 1960s, true, but even now, whether you're married or single, 16 or 60, you'll come away with the feeling that life is supposed to be fun. We need more books like that in this world. For me, reading Sex and the Single Girl is like curling up next to a warm, crackling fire in the dead of winter. Helen Gurley Brown is the cool aunt, knowing big sister, and hip mom you never had. This book turned conventional thinking about gender roles on its head in the 1960s, true, but even now, whether you're married or single, 16 or 60, you'll come away with the feeling that life is supposed to be fun. We need more books like that in this world.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Megan

    I have actually told a couple of friends already that I am lending them this book and that they HAVE to read it. It really puts things into perspective - your single years are the best of your life! Lots of advice on how to live them to the fullest, and don't bother rushing into a lifetime commitment...it happens when it happens. It has gotten rid of a lot of my anxiety about everything. I have actually told a couple of friends already that I am lending them this book and that they HAVE to read it. It really puts things into perspective - your single years are the best of your life! Lots of advice on how to live them to the fullest, and don't bother rushing into a lifetime commitment...it happens when it happens. It has gotten rid of a lot of my anxiety about everything.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth Wiley

    A fascinating look at the topic from its place in women's history. Ms. Brown's advice-giving style is charmingly candid and racy for its time, and some advice is still worthy of following. Ms. Dawn Harvey as narrator perfectly captures the author's wordly tone, making the book great fun to listen to! A fascinating look at the topic from its place in women's history. Ms. Brown's advice-giving style is charmingly candid and racy for its time, and some advice is still worthy of following. Ms. Dawn Harvey as narrator perfectly captures the author's wordly tone, making the book great fun to listen to!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Kelly

    Still relevant 40 years later

  26. 4 out of 5

    Monika

    DIS IS TOO GUD BOOK

  27. 4 out of 5

    Alice Urchin

    Totally fun to read if you don't take it seriously. Totally fun to read if you don't take it seriously.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Mie

    This has to be a joke! Either she is stupid or the woman and men who believe in this are completely stupid!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Nikki

    Part historical curiosity, part single girl therapy. Helen Gurley Brown is hilarious, and I have to admit that her advice on how to live your best, unmarried life was really comforting.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Sugarpuss O'Shea

    The reason I read this book, was because it--along with a book I previously read, The Feminine Mystique--was mentioned in the last 2 books I've read, so I wanted to see what all the hoopla was about. This book angered me. Granted, it was written back in 1962, but still. The edition I read was a 2003 reissue, and when the author was asked if there was anything she'd change, she said NO. Not her ignorant, hateful rhetoric toward "homosexuals"; not her fat shaming; not her snobbery towards anyone w The reason I read this book, was because it--along with a book I previously read, The Feminine Mystique--was mentioned in the last 2 books I've read, so I wanted to see what all the hoopla was about. This book angered me. Granted, it was written back in 1962, but still. The edition I read was a 2003 reissue, and when the author was asked if there was anything she'd change, she said NO. Not her ignorant, hateful rhetoric toward "homosexuals"; not her fat shaming; not her snobbery towards anyone who didn't live in either NYC, Chicago, Miami, LA, or San Francisco. Her contempt for women who aren't thin, rich, & white is palpable on every page. All of this was still fine with her 40 years after she wrote this. Okay. What I did see as Earth-shattering for 1962 were 3 things: 1) It's okay to seek the help of a psychiatrist; 2) Women should live independently, in a place all her own; and 3) Sex isn't anything to be ashamed of & should be enjoyed. The problem is, you have to read through page after page of generalizations, smugness, & condescension in order to find these nuggets. And this book just seemed to come off as desperate. Did women back in the 60s think that because HGB was married, she was somehow the spokeswoman for how "single girls" could do the same? Poor things. Why couldn't being a working woman, standing on her own two feet be a satisfying, worthwhile goal? Why the desperation to find & marry a man--which according to HGB is the ultimate outcome here--just so her life can be eradicated? (And while were on the subject, why in the 21st Century are women still allowing themselves to be erased by taking a man's last name? It's time we did away with this archaic custom that was erected to declare women the property of men. If it bothers you to be pronounced 'man and wife', why aren't you bothered by continuing the patriarchal custom of changing your name?) I could go on, but I'll just get more enraged. While I am glad I read this book, I wouldn't want any daughter of mine to read this. She'd be led to believe that she would have to change who she is in order to be deemed "marriable". Sorry, but I'm not buying what HGB is selling. Not all of it anyway.

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