Thursday, August 16, 2012

Helen Gurley Brown, my hero

When I was in high school sex-before-marriage was forbidden (for girls).  What did we do with our raging hormones?  I don’t get national credit for this but:  I invented the lap dance in the back seat of a ’57 Chevy.  As long as there was some jeans fabric separating your tunnel from his little red wagon, you were okay.

My mother, who was an expert on the rules of the time said, “You’re either a nice girl or a nafka.”  Nafka was Yiddish for prostitute and the word whore was also forbidden.  “If you have sex and the boy brags about it—which he will--your reputation will be ruined, you’ll be damaged goods and you’ll never get a good husband.  The best you’ll get is living in a trailer park with a drunk.  If you get pregnant, you’ll be sent to a home for unwed mothers run by mean nuns and after the baby is born, you’ll have to move to some other state.”

After Helen Gurley Brown’s Sex and the Single Girl came out in 1962, (the year I graduated from high school) everything changed.  Brown said if a girl was unmarried and had a career, she could have sex and not think of herself as a whore.  I so agreed, especially since I had already lost my virginity around my 16th birthday (in the back of that same ’57 Chevy).  Coincidentally (and luckily), the Pill came out around the same time--so the timing could not have been better.  Thus began the Sexual Revolution (where I became a foot soldier).  We went from being junior Jackie Kennedys to swimming naked at Woodstock in just a few years’ time.  I thank Helen Gurley Brown for that.