Saturday, August 22, 2009

Learning How to Sit on a Sofa

This is an awesome beauty book called "Glorify Yourself". First published in 1942, this is a third edition copy, published in '45. The promotions for this book contained the tagline "Be the kind of woman men admire and women envy!" And to think, this can be achieved in part just by learning how to sit on a sofa. Really.

The book offers a fascinating glimpse into the standards of beauty back in the day, as well as the lengths to which women would go to look attractive. We still do that, of course. Today's methods of becoming beautiful will look ridiculous far in the future, I'm sure. What intrigues me about this book is its focus on body posture, facial expression, how to sit, how to walk, how to pose your hands while sitting and walking. Whew! I'm exhausted just reading it.

Of course, the photos are part of what makes this book so fun. Notice the beautiful brooch in the hand photo. The book contains great shots of clothing from the era, including swimsuits, and an illustration of a full-body girdle thing that looks like a medieval torture device.

The author, Eleanore King, received a Masters Degree in Education from USC (Go, Trojans!) and was a charm and poise coach to movie stars of the 40's. Her husband, Herbert Kalmus, was known as "Mr. Technicolor" for his pioneering work in color film. These were not trivial, superficial people by any means. Movies were a very serious business during the days of the big studios. "Glorify Yourself" even includes photos of some stars, including Claudette Colbert, Rosalind Russell, Mary Martin, Judy Garland, and Margaret O'Sullivan.

My favorite lesson in the book is the one called "To Sit on a Sofa", which is something I thought I had mastered by the age of five. Who knew? For some reason, if you are 5 foot 7 or over, the author states that you won't need to practice this as much as a woman who is shorter.

So much to learn! Although I was gratified (if not glorified) to note one thing about the status of my poise and charm - even without lessons, I know enough not to walk like THIS illustration:

Stay beautiful!

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