Who is Miss Abigail?

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

Find me on…

Get the feed


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!


Posts Tagged ‘sexiness’

Be Second Sexiest at Parties

Friday, December 31st, 2010

Many of you are no doubt heading out to New Year’s Eve parties this evening, celebrating with a loved one or perhaps going solo, in the hopes of meeting someone special to welcome 2011 with. Ellen Peck, author of the fabulous How to Get a Teen-age Boy and What to do With Him When You Get Him (1969), has a whole chapter devoted to party going, which is so much better than party giving, where you have to devote all your energy to making sure others are having fun.  “When you go to a party,” she writes, “you have no responsibilities to anybody but you. Just see that you have a good time.”

Her chapter outlines how to find out about parties, how to get invited to them, what time to arrive, who to arrive with (if you don’t have a date already), and more. Since this book is all about “getting” a teen-age boy there’s quite a bit about flirting (if you’ve seen the play or ready my book or this site, you’ve heard some of this already). Conversation starters are covered, of course, because “party talk is planned,” but she also says that “you should also be planning your appearance.” Read on:


Wear pretty much what the other girls are wearing. If they’re wearing tunics, you wear a tunic. But look slightly sexier than most of the girls. Now hear this. This does not mean low, low necklines, long, long, lashes, body jewels, and beauty marks. This “sudden starlet” bit won’t work; you’ll just end up looking like you belong somewhere else. Don’t be the sexiest girl there.

But ~ can you manage to be the second sexiest?

Again, here’s where it helps to know what the other girls are wearing. If you know Irene is going to show up showing décolletage to the naval, you may cut your neckline down a bit. After all, if Kathy’s parties end in neck-nibbling and related indoor sports, you might want to show off a nibbleable neck before lights out.

Looking second sexiest gives you a couple of advantages. Especially over the girl who looks sexiest. That girl (Irene) is going to look slightly out of place. She’s going to make the boys feel slightly self-conscious about approaching her. Oh, they’re turned on by the way she looks, all right. But a guy looks at Irene and knows if he picks tonight to make-out with her, he’s going to go through a lot of ribbing all next week!

Also, do you know how all the other girls are going to feel toward Irene? Maybe hostile.

Do you think Kathy is going to think twice about asking so much competition over again? Maybe definitely.

So, better be second (or even third) than sexiest, as far as your appearance is concerned!


My Boss Hates My Wardrobe

Sunday, August 15th, 2010

get a load of Bertie Lamson!Q Dear Miss Abigail:

My job sucks because my boss thinks I’m a moron. As near as I can figure out, it’s because my wardrobe lacks that business flair, and I’ve got tattoos. When she first hired me I had pink hair and have since dyed it a sensible brown, but I will NOT wear silk. I guess what I’m asking is if there is a polite way to tell her to go f#*k herself?

Silky at home, but not at work!

A Dear Silky:

Sounds to me like you are yearning to be professional while keeping true to that which makes you who you are. Take a deep breath, and don’t curse out your boss. Instead, pay attention as we turn to Helen Gurley Brown for a bit of wardrobe advice.

1965: Sexy at work is no problem!

If you’re clever . . . you can have it all ~ success, the look of a lady and an air of devout sexiness right in the no-nonsense precincts of an office. . . .

Your aim, then, is to dress beautifully. Within that framework, what can you and what can’t you get away with in an office? Aren’t there some never-nevers? Yes, rhinestones, sequins, slinky-slinky black, tiers of organdy, miles of lace, clankety-clank jewels, the fragiles, the wispies and the see-throughs are out. What do you care when gone-mad colors, sensuous silks, huggy-bear wools, starchy piqués, maddening plaids, shocking chic and clothes that fit like hot wax are in? Who needs rhinestones?

There was a time, of course, when all managements preferred a little brown wren at every desk. Around 1908 it was thought dare-devil enough for girls to be in offices without calling attention to their faces and figures. Things really have changed since then, though some people aren’t aware of it. In her book, Manners in Business, Elizabeth Gregg MacGibbon advises the executive secretary, “Make yourself as inconspicuous as possible.” Really! What boss, pray, who has gone to the ends of the earth to hire the most dazzling girl he can find wants to have to locate her with a divining rod when he’s ready to dictate? If a striking appearance really disturbed him, a girl with large mammary glands would have to wear a suit of armor, and youknow any boss with a secretary who did that would shoot himself ~ or spend his entire day keeping track of his can-opener.

Of course we don’t want you to be the girl about whom men poke each other in the ribs and say, “Hey, Charlie, you ought to drop around and get a load of Bertie Lamson today . . . leopard culottes!” What we do want them to say or think about you is that you’re delicious and chic and that you look good enough to eat ~ or to take to eat at Perino’s or “21.” 

Source: Brown, Helen Gurley. Sex and the Office. New York: Pocket Books, 1965.
~ pp. 18-19 ~