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 ‘flirting’

The Eyelashes Have It

Saturday, August 14th, 2010

what I needed was false eyelashesQ Dear Miss Abigail:

Is there a certain way to look at a guy to make him want you more than any other girl?

Signed,
Mary

A Dear Mary:

I bet you never thought that eyelashes were so important when it came to making googly eyes. But they are, at least according to Eileen Ford, the head of “the world’s most famous model agency.” I found this gem in her book titled A More Beautiful You in 21 Days. Eileen wouldn’t lead us astray, would she?

1972: Eyes Are for More than Looking

In thinking about how alluring women use their eyes to convey a thousand hidden messages, I realized that there’s something very few women know. Professional beauties all over the world use false eyelashes. Eyelashes so cunningly applied that no one knows they are not their very own.

Imagine sitting next to or across from someone ~ sipping your iced tea and looking deep into his eyes, slowly lowering your lashes, then looking back into the very depths of his eyes. Even if he’s been around for twenty or thirty years, it’s not too late to learn to flirt all over again.

When I decided that what I needed was false eyelashes, I decided that strip eyelashes weren’t for me, as I was allergic even to surgical adhesive and they made my eyes red. So I went to Jean Kane of New York’s Eyelash Studio and asked for help. Miss Kane has taught many of our models and applies individual eyelashes to many of the world’s outstanding beauties. She teaches our models as I will teach you now.

You may buy individual lashes or take an inexpensive pair of strip lashes and pull the single lash from the end of the strip with a tweezer. If you are using a strip, trim the lashes first with a single-edge razor blade. Place the lashes on a sheet of white paper. Put a mirror flat on a table so that you will be looking down into it. Pick up each eyelash in turn with tweezer and touch it to eyelash glue so that you have a very small amount of glue on the lash. Attach the lash about halfway back on the underside of one of your own lashes. You can trim the lengths with blunt-end scissors (such as nose-hair trimmers). Do not cut straight across, but cut the lashes at uneven lengths for a feathered look.

I keep my eyelashes on for days it it isn’t windy, washing around them carefully. If a few fall out, I replace them. When the eyelashes finally become stiff and unnatural-looking, I take them off by pressing a hot washcloth to my lashes and gently pulling off the lashes as they come loose.

When you’ve mastered this trick, use those eyes of yours for what they were meant for.

Again you’ll find the mirror a great help. Practice various expressions from innocent to sexy, from sad to gay, and try to use them every time you look at someone. Stare deep into his eyes, smile with your eyes, let your eyes smoulder.

Where did romance go? You’ll find it never left at all.

Source: Ford, Eileen. A More Beautiful You in 21 Days. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1972.
~ pp. 96-97 ~

Please Please Me, Boyfriend

Sunday, July 18th, 2010

touch his armQ Dear Miss Abigail:

How can I get my boyfriend to hug or kiss me? He’s really sweet and cute. Please answer this!

Signed,
Brittany

A Dear Brittany:

Sounds like you need to take action, my dear! I have a feeling you don’t want to lean over yourself and just smooch your shy sweetie, so here are some fabulous tips from Ellen Peck’s How to Get a Teen-Age Boy and What To Do With Him When You Get Him. Her chapter on partygoing instructs young ladies such as yourself in the fine art of flirtation with the boy of your dreams, or perhaps just the boy of the evening. So happy signal-sending to you, Brittany. May it bring you all the hugs and kisses you desire.

1969: The Most Serious Flirtation

The most serious flirtation is physical. . . .

If it’s about time for lights out and you want to be in on the scene, here are a few other things you can do to make sure Neil stays with you instead of taking off in search of Sheila.

Take off something you’re wearing. I mean like an earring. And toss your hair back and rub your earlobe. Describe the lovely feeling of not having pinched ears any more. Or take off your wristwatch or bracelet and rub your wrist and mention how good that feels.

Tell him his shoulders look tense. (He’ll think you’re fantastically perceptive; but the truth is, it’s a safe bet. Nearly always, nearly everybody’s shoulders are tense.) And that it’s important to have relaxed shoulders. And to relax his shoulders he should move them in a circle ~ forward, then up, then back, then down. You demonstrate this, of course, because when your shoulders are back, your chest looks good.

He, of course, isn’t doing it quite right, so you can put your hands on his shoulders to show him how. Then you can tell him his shoulders are not only tense, they’re muscular.

How else physical contact?

Touch fingers when he hands you a drink. You shouldn’t be smoking, because research says you can die from it, but if you are, hold his hand when he lights your cigarette.

When you laugh at something he says, laugh from the torso as you bend over and touch his arm. Or if he’s said something serious, you can, wide-eyed, touch his arm as you say, ‘You don’tmean it!’ You can also touch his arm to signal a change in mood. Like, when you were talking to an unresponsive Neil a few minutes ago, you could have touched his arm lightly as you said, ‘OK, OK, I’ll be serious.’

Stand very close. Sit very close. (Not right against him; that’s being too obvious.) Look very intensely at him.

This is known, in popular parlance, as giving a guy the come-on.

And he nearly always does.

Source: Peck, Ellen. How to Get a Teen-Age Boy and What To Do With Him When You Get Him. New York: Bernard Geis Associates, 1969.
~ pp. 230-31 ~

Partygoing

Sunday, July 18th, 2010

ideas can get plantedThe gals and I just happened to attend a wickedly fun party last weekend. So to celebrate, here is a bit of advice from Ellen Peck’s long-titled How to Get a Boy and What to Do With Him When You Get Him. The topic: flirting at parties. Not that we would know anything about that.

1969: Partygoing

Party behavior is an exaggeration of real behavior. People let themselves go. Flirts become more flirtatious. And, because they get scared by all the action, mice become mousier.

Don’t be a mouse. Be flirtatious. If you do have to get sunglasses tomorrow, you can say so. But make the sunglasses comment more FUN by exaggerating a bit. Like,

‘I’ve got to buy some sunglasses; I want a pair with a matching foreign spy to go with them.’

And now you and Neil can start talking about foreign-spy films on TV and maybe mimicking the cloak-and-dagger bit. Or, later in the evening, after you’ve wandered around talking to some other people (that is, boys) you can bring Neil a drink, wearing dark glasses and delivering a mock warning that the drink is poison.

Exaggerating things is just one way to be flirtatious. Here’s another: be presumptuous. Nervy. Brash. Act like it’s just assumed that the guy you’re talking to admires you a lot more than he really does.

You and he both know you’re teasing. But amidst all the teasing, some ideas can get planted. And, a guy is sure to think a girl with this much self-confidence has something to be confidentabout.

Source: Peck, Ellen. How to Get a Teen-Age Boy and What To Do With Him When You Get Him. New York: Bernard Geis Associates, 1969.
~ pp. 226-27 ~

Lures Men Can’t Resist

Sunday, July 18th, 2010

some men like wild girls ~ others prefer prim little Puritans“Her style is eminently readable, and she writes simply and sincerely, utterly without cheap sentimentality,” the flap copy says of Dorothy Dix, author of How to Win and Hold a Husband. This book includes such informative chapters as “What a Man Looks For in a Wife,” “It Pays to Be a Mystery,” and “The Cost of Free Love.” Maybe this is where those “Rules girls” got their inspiration.

1939: Lures Men Can’t Resist

We must not overlook those certain charms and wiles to which practically all men are susceptible. If you will cultivate these you will be fairly sure of never being dateless and of eventually making the grade to the altar with the youth of your choice. These are:

THE COME-HITHER LOOK IN THE EYE. A sort of come-on look, if you get what I mean. A look that subtly indicates to a man that a girl regards him as a great big wonderful sheik and that she is having the time of her life when gazing worshipfully up into his eyes.

No boy is going to see a girl a second time who high-hats him. No boy is go7ing to make love to a girl who is as unresponsive as a stone image. If there ever was a time when men ran after the women who flouted them it is out now. The modern man has to be lured into love. He doesn’t break in of his own accord.

PERSONALITY. Get a line. Have some individuality that will make you stand out from the crowd. Don’t copycat other girls. Be yourself. Be natural. Don’t pose. There is no other girl in the world less attractive to men than the affected one.

Remember that while some men like wild girls others prefer prim little Puritans; that while some men like chatterers others like the soft, silent, smiling Mona Lisa; and that while some men like girls who can mix cocktails most men want wives who can bake cakes like Mother used to make. So stick to your own line of attractions and put the loud pedal on that instead of trying to crab some other girl’s act.

THE FINE ART OF JOLLYING. Don’t feed men flattery in hunks, with a shovel. They resent this. But every man will eat out of your hand if it is filled with sugar. Don’t be a crude bungler and tell a man in so many words that he is God’s masterpiece. Get the idea across to him in other ways ~ by your air of adoration; by the awe with which you listen to his opinions; by the rapt expression on your face when you listen to him monologing along about himself.

Ask him why he has never gone into the pictures. Implore him to write to the President and tell him just how to settle the farm-relief problem and how to deal with the Japanese situation. No girl who is an A-1 incense burner ever lacks for dates.

ADAPTABILITY. Keep your mind as flexible as you do your waistline. A chameleon rampant, in the act of changing its colors, should be the heraldic device of every woman who wants to catch a husband and get along with him after she has got him. For in the adjusting of the sexes to each other it is a woman who must do the adjusting. Men can’t, or won’t, or don’t know how to do it.

So learn to be all things to all men. If a man is athletic play golf with him, no matter how your feet hurt you. If he is a radio hound hunt up new stations for him to tune in on. If he is bookish read up so you can discuss his favorite author with him. If he likes to eat cook him dainty dishes. Lend your ears to the man who likes to talk. Babble to the silent man who can never think of anything to say. Half of the time you will be bored to tears, but the other half of the time you will reap an exceedingly great reward.

EFFICIENCY. Learn how to do things. A girl may be as beautiful as a houri and a female Solomon in wisdom; she may have a heart of gold and a pocket full of money, and still she will be left high and dry socially if she has no parlor tricks. You have to be able to do what other people are doing and to fit into any picture in order to be invited to parties and to get any attention when you get there.

Men are selfish creatures and they will not ask you to step out with them unless you can work your passage by being entertaining. They will not ask you to dance if you step on their feet and have to be towed around like a barge. They will not play bridge with you if you trump their aces. They will not swim with you or play golf or tennis with you or bother with you at all unless you can take of yourself.

These are some of the ways to get your man. There are others, but these have the O.K. of thousands of successful husband-hunters.

Source: Dix, Dorothy. How to Win and Hold a Husband. New York: Doubleday, Doran & Company, 1939.
~ pp. 88-92 ~

The Eyelashes Have It

Tuesday, July 13th, 2010

what I needed was false eyelashesQ Dear Miss Abigail:

Is there a certain way to look at a guy to make him want you more than any other girl?

Signed,
Mary

A Dear Mary:

I bet you never thought that eyelashes were so important when it came to making googly eyes. But they are, at least according to Eileen Ford, the head of “the world’s most famous model agency.” I found this gem in her book titled A More Beautiful You in 21 Days. Eileen wouldn’t lead us astray, would she?

1972: Eyes Are for More than Looking

In thinking about how alluring women use their eyes to convey a thousand hidden messages, I realized that there’s something very few women know. Professional beauties all over the world use false eyelashes. Eyelashes so cunningly applied that no one knows they are not their very own.

Imagine sitting next to or across from someone ~ sipping your iced tea and looking deep into his eyes, slowly lowering your lashes, then looking back into the very depths of his eyes. Even if he’s been around for twenty or thirty years, it’s not too late to learn to flirt all over again.

When I decided that what I needed was false eyelashes, I decided that strip eyelashes weren’t for me, as I was allergic even to surgical adhesive and they made my eyes red. So I went to Jean Kane of New York’s Eyelash Studio and asked for help. Miss Kane has taught many of our models and applies individual eyelashes to many of the world’s outstanding beauties. She teaches our models as I will teach you now.

You may buy individual lashes or take an inexpensive pair of strip lashes and pull the single lash from the end of the strip with a tweezer. If you are using a strip, trim the lashes first with a single-edge razor blade. Place the lashes on a sheet of white paper. Put a mirror flat on a table so that you will be looking down into it. Pick up each eyelash in turn with tweezer and touch it to eyelash glue so that you have a very small amount of glue on the lash. Attach the lash about halfway back on the underside of one of your own lashes. You can trim the lengths with blunt-end scissors (such as nose-hair trimmers). Do not cut straight across, but cut the lashes at uneven lengths for a feathered look.

I keep my eyelashes on for days it it isn’t windy, washing around them carefully. If a few fall out, I replace them. When the eyelashes finally become stiff and unnatural-looking, I take them off by pressing a hot washcloth to my lashes and gently pulling off the lashes as they come loose.

When you’ve mastered this trick, use those eyes of yours for what they were meant for.

Again you’ll find the mirror a great help. Practice various expressions from innocent to sexy, from sad to gay, and try to use them every time you look at someone. Stare deep into his eyes, smile with your eyes, let your eyes smoulder.

Where did romance go? You’ll find it never left at all.

Source: Ford, Eileen. A More Beautiful You in 21 Days. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1972.
~ pp. 96-97 ~

Keep on Flirting

Tuesday, July 13th, 2010

flirt to flatterQ Dear Miss Abigail:

I recently discovered that I have been flirting with far more girls than I had realized. Please, I need to know where the line is between flirting and a witty conversation.

Signed,
Wondering in Wisconsin

A Dear Wondering:

Just curious ~ how exactly did you come to this realization? I’m picturing you mid-flirt, suddenly speechless. Whoa.

Personally, I think flirting is a good thing. But I understand if you feel you need some guidelines. There wasn’t any advice on this topic in my books aimed directly at boys, so I’ve done a bit of editing to the following passage. It’s pulled from a chapter titled “Boys, Boys, Boys” in Enid Haupt’s The Seventeen Book of Etiquette and Entertaining. I think it works quite well for either sex, don’t you?

1963: What About Flirting?

Yes and no. Yes if you flirt because you like the [girl] ~ or [girls] in general. Yes if you flirt to flatter the [girl]. Yes if you flirt lightly and naturally ([boy] talking to [girl]). Yes if [boys] are your friends too.

No if you flirt only to prove you can make the [girl] interested. No if you plan to drop [her] the moment [she’s] interested. No if you flirt to take [her] away from a [boy] who really likes [her].No if [boys] think you’re bad news to have around.

Source: Haupt, Enid H. The Seventeen Book of Etiquette & Entertaining. New York: David McKay Company, Inc., 1963.
~ p. 48 ~

Does His Flirting Mean He’s Interested?

Monday, June 21st, 2010

a playful expression in the beginning of loveQ Dear Miss Abigail:

If a guy flirts with you does that mean he’s interested?

Signed,
Cathy

A Dear Cathy:

Cathy, Cathy, Cathy. My dear, sweet Cathy. Of course he likes you! Flirting is the tool of choice for letting someone know you are interested in them. Some people are better than others at using that tool, but that’s another story. To get a better sense of the power of flirtation, let’s read a bit from Maurice Chideckel’s informative bookThe Single, The Engaged, and The Married.

1936: Courtship

Courtship is the fantasy, the dreaming period of life. It is the Song of Songs of youth. Turbulent, stormy, enveloped in anxieties at times, it is nevertheless a road strewn with flowers. It is the period of planning, building, hoping and expecting. In courtship there is the expectation for the greatest of all human experiences, marriage. It is the period of exploration of souls. In those months is laid the foundation for soul mating, for future contentment, security and trust.

In courtship there is the poetry of cooperative spirit. Only during that period does attachment develop to a degree that forges a common, unbroken bond. Man and woman learn to know each other mentally. The physical attraction that drew them together matures into mental harmony and mental companionship. The very tension for discovery makes courtship man’s hopeful days. Marriage is looked forward to as the event of the greatest magnitude, which in reality it is. A great deal of the period of courtship is spent in emotional fantasy. The lovers become conscious of the approach of reality. Courtship is a yielding to natural inclinations and awareness of the other’s ability to supply what is needed for contentment. They become convinced that their union is essential to their happiness.

‘Courtship,’ says Professor Morgan, ‘is the strong and steady bending of the bow that the arrow may find its mark in a biological end of the highest importance, so that there be a survival of a healthy and vigorous race.’

Coquetry (flirtation) is a natural preliminary to normal courtship. It has a deep biological and psychological significance. It is instinctive in the female. Unconsciously it is practiced to be aroused and stimulated by her lover. It is a playful expression in the beginning of love. ‘But,’ says Herbert, ‘if this flirtation becomes an end in itself, it is a perversion on true love.’ Abnormal psychology calls it ‘filtrage’ and it is a phenomenon of degeneration. A short courtship means a brief period of experience. Facts, the temper of each, the depths of personalities, the likes and dislikes, the mental attitude, all these cannot be observed and analyzed in a few days.

Source: Chideckel, Maurice. The Single, The Engaged, and The Married. New York: Eugenics Publishing Company, 1936.
~ pp. 69-70 ~