Sunday, June 1, 2014

On How to be Lovely

Some of you who read this are under 40— even under 30. I love that! It means I have a platform (heel) to stand on and let you know that someday:

> You may actually know what your style is (or isn't).

> You will look back at your "figure problems" and wish you still had them as those were small potatoes.

> You may wish you hadn't gotten rid of this-or-that, but you will also realize you can't keep everything.

> You may laugh at or envy your younger self, but you will know you are still indeed the same person.

I recently checked out "Betty Cornell's Teen-age Popularity Guide". Teenager Maya Van Wagenen found a copy and took the advice to heart. She wrote "Popular: Vintage Wisdom for a Modern Geek" about what happened after she put Betty's lessons into practice (happy ending). Now the original has been reprinted with an introduction by Maya. Betty herself is still around, and they met (photo included).

I never bought any teenage beauty books. By the time I was one, I just wanted it to be over. I hoped to be beautiful, of course, but I also wished to be a grown up. When you are a teen you assume beauty will lead to popularity. Both goals appeared unattainable. So if it took a while to become beautiful, I would then be grown up. And grown ups never seemed to worry about being popular. You are chuckling at my innocence, right?

My beauty bible was a Dell paperback called "The Handbook of Beauty" (35 cents) by Constance Hart, no doubt the Betty Crocker of authors. I still have it— pages yellowed and crackling with age, spine tender and coming unglued. Any resemblance to my current state purely intended.

I gave my old textbook another look and realized the emphasis is on eating healthy, drinking lots of water, getting enough sleep, exercise, posture and good grooming. What— no lotions and magic potions! No plastic surgery, botox fillers or Retinol! How could that advice for 318 pages lead to being beautiful? At least all the reading would take your mind off looking for secret formulas.

You might make better use of your time by renting "Funny Face" and fast forwarding to the duet near the end with Audrey Hepburn and Kay Thompson. Better yet, watch the whole thing.

Herewith, the (somewhat abbreviated) lyrics to "How to be Lovely":

On how to be lovely
You got to be happy.
When you can feel
light and gay
Then you'll be lovely
as a holiday.

On how to be charming
You got to be merry
If only to weave a spell
And you'll be lovely
As a carousel too.

I (I know you can) show how.
It's (it's all in the) know-how.
And (and once you know) oh how
The world looks good to you
As it should to you.

On how to be lovely
You got to be jolly
When you can be fancy-free
And flash a smile that
Folks come flocking to see.

You'll be as lovely 
As can be.

Can't (can't do it with) make-up 
You (you've just got to) wake up 
And (and startin' to) take up 
A life delirious 
Nothing serious.

Make sorrow incidental 
(Let joy be monumental) 
And you'll be lovely 
You'll be as lovely 
As can be!

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