Having It All: Love (or 25 Ways to Trick a Man Into Marrying You)

Helen’s version of love – what sweet hell have we climbed into? This version of love depends heavily on playing pretend, sleeping with married men, putting down other women, working your Kegels while watching sports, avoiding "homosexuals", and rating breeds of tigers. It's so hard to find a Valentine's Day card that encompasses this vision of true love in today's day and age. Clearly, we have been led astray by those pesky feminists (although if it weren't for them we never would have won back crab. . . more on that in just a minute.)

How to make a man fall in love with you:

1.     Be on time. Women rarely are.

2.     Compliment him a lot. You almost can’t overdo it. . .

3.     Rave about his brain. “What a brilliant idea!”

4.     Pay attention to what he drinks and learn to mix it flawlessly. . .

5.     Learn how to light his cigar – like Gigi.   

6.     Research any projects he’s interested in. Helping him in his work is a nearly foolproof way to ingratiate yourself.

7.     Listen. Don’t talk too much. No matter how often he says “Tell men about you,” don’t go overboard.

8.     Research his life totally. . . from what he says, by talking to his friends, family, coworkers. Read anything written about him.

9.     Whatever he tells you one day, remember to ask him about it the next. Make written notes after you see him if you need them to remember – people in his life, organizations belonged to, products made by his company.

10.  Never telephone just to chat. . . We’ve come a long way with equality. . . you have the tickets, you ask him, you have the Dungeness crab, you invite him, but random telephoning is still left to him if you’re crazy about the man.

11.  Be selective about what you tell him. . . Only dumb people equate intimacy with openness.

12.  Be wonderful to his friends. . . Try not to see the ones you hate too much, but even them you have to be nice to.

13.  [Remember] his children are going to be a part of his life forever. . . Let’s hope their daddy keeps them from being little brats around you.

14.  Enjoy, if you can, the things he introduces you to and wants you to enjoy, leaving out drugs, group sex, gambling parlors, cops raid, cockfighting and a few other aggravation-makers.

15.  Be accommodating during courtship.

16.  Do whatever he suggests immediately if you can.

17.  When he’s away, write sexy notes to reach the hotel when he does or tuck them in his luggage.

18.  Take him to or pick him up at the airport.

19.  For his homecoming, put gas-filled balloons in his apartment – or yours – with a big gag card; chill the champagne.

20.  You must begin to give him presents. . . Just about everything you ever thought a man should do for you, you should do for him. . . if you go a little overboard, pay too much for gifts for him, it isn’t the worst insanity. (Examples of gifts to give: a traveling Water-Pik, staple remover, and anything monogrammed.)

21.  Role playing contributes to sensuousness. . . I think the father/daughter relationship one of the sexiest, present in nearly every love affair in which he’s at least fifteen years older than you. . . Utterly alike in age, interests, ideals. . . like Donny and Marie Osmond, only not brother and sister. . . that has its charms.

22.  [Be crazy.] Crazy ladies love better than uncrazy ones. Your virulent anxiety about him somehow produces the purest kind of sexuality. . . You’re on edge, hungry, a Bengal tiger (the best kind!) when you get to bed. 

23.  [Don't speak your mind.] Despite everybody pushing you to have “open and honest relationships,” and despite your own mouseburger inclinations to be direct, I think forever blabbing what’s on your mind is only for securely married people who can’t/don’t leave each other easily.

24.  Tell him, “You’ve had such a profound influence on my life,” “You’ve changed my life,” “You’ve taught me so much.”

25.  [Just hang in.] You must operate from strength. Strength comes from quietly hanging in.

Actress Leslie Caron lights a cigar in the movie Gigi.

Actress Leslie Caron lights a cigar in the movie Gigi.

You Xerox the article about him from the trade paper and speech. . . could you listen to it one more time and play it for your father? That terrific letter he wrote to Consolidated Freightways about their new forklifts. . . could you have a copy? Snapshots of him at tennis, squash, salmon fishing, in a bathrobe and in tales are Scotch Taped to your mirror to the point you can hardly get your mascara on.
— Helen Gurley Brown

Now just to be clear Helen says, “Do not scare him. You can be attentive, flattering, adorable. . . Do all the things just suggested but not be sexually heavy.” So you can ask his friends for information about him, tape so many photos of him to your mirror that you can’t see yourself, play tapes of him speaking for your friends and family, photocopy stories about him in the paper and send them to your friends, fill your apartment with helium balloons when he returns from a work trip, pretend to be his daughter for sexual purposes, but – and this is a big but – do not, whatever you do, invite him away for a weekend. A four-hour hookup mid-day, however, is okay. Oh, and definitely don’t call him just to say hi. Guys don’t like that.

If you find yourself feeling down about not how the feminist movement didn't win you the right to pick up the phone - rejoice in knowing that, according to Helen, it did win us the right to eat crustaceans. After all, that's what it was all about right from the beginning, right? 

The Duchess of Cambridge is certainly happy that women won the right to eat crab.

The Duchess of Cambridge is certainly happy that women won the right to eat crab.

For those who consider this advice to be manipulative drivel, Helen says, “Oh, come off it! Your honor is not going to be compromised and these are not cheap tricks; they are endearing and they work.” Men find it super endearing when you make notes on what to talk to them about, pretend to like their friends, their interests, and their bratty kids, or tell them how much they’ve changed your life on the third date.  

Here are some real-life examples of how faking it - I mean, falling in love - works! “A young friend of mine tightened her vaginal muscles throughout two entire football and three basketball seasons. “It was the only muscle tone I had during that period,” said Millie, “but all that contracting got me through the games. . . ”” Helen advises that it’s okay if your “[fake] interests wane” after marriage (read: you stop pretending to be someone else). “I distinctly remember telling David Brown I didn’t care if he went out with other women. . . Nothing could have been more untrue but I didn’t want to terrify him. . . All this stuff is okay to say – You are accommodating during courtship, and the gesture does not have to be totally sincere . . .” How could all this lying, I mean, being accommodating, cause any problems after you’re married? Sounds like Helen was on to something here!

Any woman can have a man, we know that – if not a great man, then at least an okay one. After forty, you must look (work!) harder to find one; after fifty, you must look (work!) really hard for male companionship. Between the ages of twenty and forty you don’t have to do very much unless you want a special and outstanding man (kind, successful, attractive, faithful, solvent, amusing, etc.) – then you have to “work” as hard as the forty – or fifty-year-old woman has to to get anybody.
— Helen Gurley Brown

So now you know what to do to make someone fall in love with you, but how do you meet that someone? Helen has a list of recommended places to meet men that include:

·      The library – ask “Am I in the medieval history room?”

·      Tiffany’s at Christmas – Filled with men shoppers.

·      Brooks Brothers or any other establishment-type men’s store. (Bloomingdale’s or other chic emporiums may attract more homosexual men than you need.)

·      Take classes men attend – Power boating, stock-market analysis, business courses; stay clear of “Understanding Your Psyche” or other female-oriented subjects.

·      Alcoholics Anonymous – Excellent! Go as a visitor.

Tiffany’s at Christmas? But wouldn't that just be all men who are shopping for their wives and girlfriends. . . oh, wait, that's the point. I believe that's what my friend refers too as predatory. On the topic of avoiding Bloomingdales, exactly how many homosexual men are too many for one woman to ‘need’? And well, you just know that any group that functions on anonymity loves a visitor who’s trying to pick up. Well done Helen, but perhaps you and your wine and egg diet would have been better off simply attending an AA meeting as a member.

Me, shopping for men at Tiffany's, but actually way more into my pastry.

Me, shopping for men at Tiffany's, but actually way more into my pastry.

Shall we talk about dating married men? Why not. Helen loves the subject. “I don’t see how a single girl can survive without an occasional married man – to fill in the gaps, stave off hunger during lean days. Many people (especially married women!) feel married men are off limits totally, for moral reasons (you ought not to confiscate somebody else’s property) and practical ones (he can never see you Saturday night, goes home, even on Tuesday, right after dinner – or before).

True, true, true, but to me, avoiding married men totally when you’re single would be like passing up first aid in a Tijuana hospital when you’re bleeding to death because you prefer an immaculate American hospital some unreachable distance across the border.” Uh, no. Not sleeping with a married man would be more like passing up first aid in a Tijuana hospital because you’re capable (and self-respecting) enough to stitch yourself up so that you can avoid infections. . . of any kind. Here is Helen’s list of reasons why should date married men:

a.     When you’re single, it’s important to have heterosexual male companionship.

b.     All the connecting doesn’t have to be with someone you could marry.

c.     You should not go without sex too long.

d.     Married men need you and are some of the horniest, appreciatingest, lovingest, most accomplished of our men sexually, and are there during a drought.

e.     You can “use” them selectively, to sleep with if you’re needy or just have dinner with if you’re lonely.

Side note: using words like ‘appreciatingest’ and ‘lovingest’ are not the first instances of Helen making up words. Her editor should be (have been) shot – or at the very least fired and not allowed to use words for the rest of his or her life.

Of course, all of this home-wrecking comes with a warning, “They also continue to sleep with their wives.” No kidding? Well, that’s certainly a surprise! Who would have thought? It’s a good thing that everyone was using protection in the ‘80s.

“What about her?” Helen asks about the wife in these extramarital affairs. “I never worried about her. She’s got a problem but you aren’t it. A cheating husband will cheat with somebody – you are not that special.” And I guess a rabid dog is going to bite someone, so it might as well be you. “Don’t put down his ex-wife or present wife or even the girls he admires, except in the most teasing way. Strong people say good things about weaklings, and if you should say good things about his wife or ex-wife, you have more of a chance of “weakening” her than if you attack; criticism only shows insecurity. Of course, if somebody is a real bitch you can say, “My word – that woman is really something,” but you do it like Madame de Staël commenting on a servant girl or the ingénue observing some pitiful virago of an older woman.” Wow.

Helen and the husband she 'tricked' into marrying her. That said, they were married for over 50 years (until David's death). . . maybe we should be listening to her.

Helen and the husband she 'tricked' into marrying her. That said, they were married for over 50 years (until David's death). . . maybe we should be listening to her.

How does Helen back up her assertions that women must be constantly looking over their shoulders for women just like her trying to steal their men? With science and facts obviously. “The latest U.S. Census reveals that, between the ages of thirty-five and thirty-nine, there are 13,000 women for every 10,000 men. Between the ages of twenty-five and forty-nine, women outnumber men by 1,250,000. These figures don’t reflect drug addicts, alcoholics, men locked up in jail, the homosexual population (four million acknowledged but 15 percent of total male population show “tendencies”), none of whom do us much good as love partners, so the reality is even worse than the statistics. Bottom line: There are too many of us, too few of them, and of the possibilities, only a few will really interest you.” But how many of us are into girls, Helen? Actually, I think that women can breathe a huge sigh of relief because according to a 2010 U.S. Census there were 96.7 men for every 100 women. But still, that's 3.3 women who won't have a man. Helen says that when you find one, "if he’s good (a lovely, sexually attractive man, also attractive to other women), you have to be better [than him and other women].” I mean, if you want to catch him, keep him, and, I assume, devour his flesh. 

Now that Helen has made it clear that there aren’t enough men to go around and that all the other women are after your man, how do you deal with insecurities? Just remind yourself that “You manage to keep him because you’re okay. Your brain is okay; your looks are okay. You have a warm and pretty body – pretty enough anyway – and if the time comes when you need to get another man, my darling, you can and will.” Yep, that will get you through some cold, lonely, winter nights.

Don’t forget, “Mostly, men are rottener to women in love than women are to men,” but, “Just because men are frequently irresponsible and behave detestably does not mean they cannot love deeply.” And with that, go forth and fall in love because up next is the chapter on marriage. 

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