Before Mary Tyler Moore, Bridget Jones and Carrie Bradshaw, there was Helen Gurley Brown.
Brown, who died almost two weeks ago at the age of 90, will be remembered for her transformative influence on Cosmopolitan magazine and for her straightforward attitude toward the sex lives of single American women.
Published in 1962, Brown’s first book “Sex and the Single Girl,” was a treatise on financial and sexual independence for single women. It was made into a movie, starring Natalie Wood.
With advice on topics ranging from the importance of a clean apartment (“He does notice, if only subconsciously.”) to stretching your budget (“No one likes a poor girl, she’s a drag.”) the enormously successful book turned the then-40-year-old copywriter into the nation’s go-to expert on sex and modern singledom.
Brown became editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan three years later, imbuing her own views on female empowerment into a magazine that had mainly restricted women’s issues to family and household management
Her sage advice still holds water weight. But today’s modern women choose augmentation to enhance their changes for love and romance. When I enter a Ladies room at some fancy bash, I feel like I’ve walked into an audition for Playboy. I get scared and rush out. Real is the new scary.
1. “A smart single woman…doesn’t have to prove herself in sex. But she should act as though she could if she wanted to.”
2. “Should a man think you are a virgin? I can’t imagine why, if you aren’t. Is he?”
3. “Once in bed, it’s kind of silly to fake inexperience. Most men agree that inhibitionless and even aggressive enjoyment from a woman is an asset so far as their own enjoyment is concerned.”
4. “There is nothing like holding off and not having an orgasm one week, two, more…to have the greatest orgasm of your life when it happens. This takes discipline. You have not to masturbate no matter how inclined you are….A really longed-for, ready-for-it, haven’t-in-a-while orgasm doesn’t have anything much better than it.”
5. “I believe good drivers—focused, don’t show off but never get stuck behind a truck making a delivery, a bus letting off passengers, or a car double-parking—are good in bed. These men just very smoothly, efficiently get the girl or the car to do what they want and what the girl wants…no bumpiness, swerving, dawdling.”
6. “I don’t think pants are sexy for women. Dresses, on the other hand, are meant to be crept up inside of until hands touch underwear…a sweet, friendly, almost innocent pursuit, much sweeter than him boldly unzipping the fly of your slacks.”
7. “The vertical indentation in a man’s ear that dips down into the fleshy part of the lobe is an indication of how big his erect penis will be. Shallow ear-indentation correspond to small penises; deeper (like the shape of Italy) go with larger. I haven’t been able to corroborate this theory recently but in my single days found it infallible.”
8. “Magical sex does not always show up attached to the right man. When this person and his magical sex get too ‘expensive’—too many tears, blues, lonesomeness, too often feeling angry and taken for granted, the pain outweighing the pleasure—the magic man will have to go.”
9. “If a man is persistent to the point of becoming tiresome….Say,‘You’re most attractive. You’re really lovely, but do you honestly suppose I can sleep with every man who asks me? The answer for now is no.’”
10. “If a man is cheating on you, the best thing to do is cheat on him but don’t tell him. Gives life a whole new perspective.”