Wednesday, May 27, 2009

For all you single gals who love online quizzes...

The NYT seems to be totally obsessed with Helen Gurley Brown, former editor-in-chief of Cosmo (and the person who made the beloved glossy into our number-one source for man-pleasing tips) and the author of Sex and the Single Girl (the current hot debate: should she be included in the feminist pantheon?). But I have to say, I really enjoyed this "quiz" that Pat Ryan culled from the pages of Brown's book, about how to sexily pinch pennies. I especially enjoyed the dig about babysitting, which is how I will be financing my summer travel (but I will be fully aware that it's beneath me).

Tell us how you did - if you dare.

"What Ms. Brown got by pinching pennies on an income of $9,600:
A. A husband.
B. A mink coat by Balenciaga.
C. A Mercedes-Benz 190SL.

(Answer: C. “With $5,000 cash from savings.”)

What working girls should always do to make or save money:
A. Play the horses.
B. Go to lunch with anyone who asks you.
C. Sleep with the boss.

(Answer: B. “How bored can you be for one hour?”)

What you should not do for money:
A. Wash windows.
B. Baby-sit.
C. Work overtime.

(Answer: B. “That’s beneath your dignity.”)

Whom to take hot stock tips from:
A. Your boss or a wealthy beau.
B. Your mother.
C. Your doorman.

(Answer: A. “If the stock goes down, these two may be so ashamed of themselves they will personally make up your losses.”)

How you can economize on clothing (a working woman really can’t afford to burn bras):
A. Wear no clothes when in your apartment alone.
B. “Forget” some of your lingerie.
C. Wear a union suit with a drop seat.

(Answer: A. and B. Ms. Brown boasts of one under-endowed woman who “uses Band-Aids across her nipples under fabrics too sheer to wear bra-less.”)

How you can save money on washing your hair:
A. Wear a blonde wig.
B. Rinse once.
C. Use Woolite instead of shampoo.

(Answer: C. “Write fan letters to big companies. Sometimes they send samples. I wrote the president of Woolite (for woolens) to say I’d successfully washed my hair in it. ... He sent me a dozen cartons.”)

When you should read newspapers:
A. At breakfast.
B. In the office.
C. In your landlord’s apartment.

(Answer: B. and C. “Don’t subscribe.”)

What she thinks it’s sexy to own:
A. A small portfolio of stocks.
B. A Picasso.
C. A season ticket to the Met, or the Mets.

(Answer: A. “Suppose with all this austerity you have not only managed to afford mink on a mouse budget, you have managed to save a little money,” she writes. Well, “a small portfolio of stocks is very sexy.” Plus, “it’s fun to have a broker!”)

What literary character you should not imitate to achieve the life you really want:
A. Madame Bovary
B. Lorelei Lee
C. Elizabeth Bennet

(Answer: A. “Unlike Madame Bovary you don’t chase the glittering life, you lay a trap for it. You tunnel up from the bottom.”)

Who has enough money to do what he or she is doing:
A. Girls with high-society beaus.
B. Nobody.
C. John D. Rockefeller.

(Answer: B. “As a matter of fact, nobody ever has enough money to do what he is doing! Many seemingly wealthy families are hopelessly in hock.”)

When you can split the check with a date:
A. If you love him and he’s desperate.
B. If it’s a project you promoted that he hates, like the ballet.
C. If he can’t even pay his rent.

(Answer: All of the above, but: “Are you sure you want him?”*)

* “I have known girls making $100 a week who have bailed out their idiot boyfriends who had $25,000-a-year salaries.”"

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