Helen Gurley Brown made Cosmopolitan into a new kind of magazine for the single woman. She was my heroine back in the day when it wasn’t easy to talk about sex, much less shout about it on magazine covers.

This past week I hauled out my battered copy of Helen Gurley Brown’s Sex and the Single Girl. Yes, from 1962. Believe it. I love leafing through my old books.

Flipped through the book—it even smells old—reading tidbits. It’s like going on a double date with a girlfriend.

I’m fascinated because Helen reminds me what it was like when I was growing up and changing and learning about…all sorts of intimate things we talked about in whispers and only with our best friends.

For example, single girls should not avoid Don Juan types (part of a single girl’s training), not let our arms get flabby, and never interrupt a man when he is telling a story.

“Theoretically, a ‘nice’ single woman has no sex life.” 

Helen defines a sexy woman simply as a woman who enjoys sex. A new idea at a time when women were called girls. She even devoted a whole chapter to “The Affair: From Beginning to End.”

Not all of Helen’s advice is dated. She’s got some good ideas about where to meet men, and a couple of stories. One is about Louise, who tracked down an attorney she shared a cab ride with and accepted his invitation for dinner in Philadelphia, a train ride away from her home in New York. She found out he was uber rich and had played golf with Eisenhower. Read between the lines, but that was pretty much it.

Louise’s “petite adventure” came to nothing but a fabulous time away from home. I guess, in those days, a little adventure was a big deal.

Other suggestions such as “Have an extravagant spice shelf with possibly thirty spices. They say you’re a cook,” and “Leave the window rolled down on your side and always look interestedly into the next car. It might be a possible,” sprinkle  the book.

Quaint, aren’t they?

Oh, if you’re interested, I checked on Amazon and found a hardcover copy selling for $989.90. Hurry, only one copy left.

Park Avenue Summer

For those of you who’d like more  from HGB, there’s her follow-up, Sex and the Office.

Wait, that’s not all.  

Right now, I’m reading a newish book that takes us back to those very days. Park Avenue Summer, by Renee Rosen, published in April, 2017, .

The Amazon write-up is below. Grab it on from your fave bookstore or in your local library and enjoy!

“New York City is filled with opportunities for single girls like Alice Weiss, who leaves her small Midwestern town to chase her big-city dreams and unexpectedly lands a job working for the first female editor in chief of Cosmopolitan magazine, Helen Gurley Brown.”

“‘Mad Men meets The Devil Wears Prada,’ which might as well be saying ‘put me in your cart immediately.’”—PopSugar

It’s 1965 and Cosmopolitan magazine’s brazen new editor in chief—Helen Gurley Brown—shocks America and saves a dying publication by daring to talk to women about all things off-limits…


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