Who is Miss Abigail?

Abigail Grotke
Silver Spring, MD
email: missabigail at missabigail dot com
twitter: @DearMissAbigail

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Miss Abigail has a collection of over 1,000 classic advice books, spanning from 1822 to 1978 and covering a variety of topics, from love and romance to etiquette and charm. The collection sparked the idea for this site, then a book, Miss Abigail's Guide to Dating, Mating, and Marriage, which has inspired an Off-Broadway production of the same name!

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Posts Tagged ‘availability’

Is He Available?

Monday, July 12th, 2010

Louise spotted him first!Q Dear Miss Abigail:

How’s a girl to know if a guy is available? I mean, checking for rings is all well and good, but how can I tell if a guy’s not married or if he’s even into girls? Can Helen Gurley Brown or any of your other relationship sages help me out here?

Signed,
Not Quite Sure

A Dear Not Quite Sure:

Though most of the books I consulted did not address such a problem (perhaps the married men back then were much more open about their affairs), Ms. Brown and Jean Baer have a few tips for you. We begin by demonstrating some tell-tale signs with a few stories from Sex and the Single Girl.

1963: The Homosexual

I remember dating an attractive boy who worked for a broadcasting company. We were at his apartment playing Monopoly and I felt at any moment he would stop putting up hotels on Boardwalk, pass “Go” and make a pass at me. It was high time. About this point the phone rang and it was his roommate. This was their conversation: “Hello, Ralphy? Where are you?Where?! Oh, Ralphy, I don’t like those people and you promised you wouldn’t see them! Do you have your topcoat with you? Good. It’s kind of chilly. I left some marinated herring in the icebox for you. Oh, nothing much. I’m playing Monopoly with a girl.”

So I concentrated harder on getting up some hotels on Park Place.

[In a later section, the author suggests eavesdropping as a means of gathering the necessary information. Read on… ~ Miss A.]

Where to Meet [Men]: Traveling on Business

Louise, on legitimate business as a traveling fashion consultant for a bra and girdle company, spotted an elegant, steely man on the train down from New York. He was seated across the aisle with a beautiful older woman, slathered in mink from chin to hem (not the wet-rat kind but opulent, pulsating mink).

Louise listened to their conversation (finding it a damn sight better than her thoughts) while pretending to sleep. During the miles of eavesdropping she gleaned that the man was an attorney, probably single, as he never talked about his wife, and that he was a family friend of the woman’s ~ she had five children. They had met on the train accidentally and she called him Marcus. As Louise feigned sleep, she even heard them talking about her. They thought she looked tired and seemed rather young and alone, and surmised she might be traveling on business. Louise, feeling a bit warped and woofed from days on the road, thought this couple as shimmery as Prince Ranier and his Grace ~ or at least Grace’s mother.

At 30th Street Station in Philadelphia when she couldn’t get a cab, the dapper attorney came to her rescue. His lady friend had departed. He said strangers in their city often hadn’t the knack of hailing taxis and he offered to share his with her. Bliss, thought Louise. Pure Bliss!

Source: Brown, Helen Gurley. Sex and the Single Girl. New York: Giant Cardinal/Pocket Books, Inc.,1963.
~ pp. 24-25, 48-49 ~

1969: The Married Man

In the big city, you meet married men everywhere ~ at the water cooler, a convention, a meeting, an afterwork cocktail party, a bar, over a friend’s dinner table when he’s that charming gentleman on your right.

He may ask you out to dinner. You find him fascinating and much more mature than some just-starting youth with a two-year-old degree. He makes another date ~ for lunch!

And that’s your first clue that he is a married man. Other signs: he never asks for a weekend date; he always asks you out on Tuesday evenings (easy to plead a mid-week conference to his wife); he carries a brief case (his excuse for late work at the office); he commutes (it’s a rare single man who lives in Chappaqua, Winnetka, San Mateo, or Short Hills).

Source: Baer, Jean. The Single Girl Goes to Town. New York: Bantam Books/Macmillan Company, 1969.
~ p. 104 ~