Susan, be smooth! by Nell Giles, 1940: Chapter I – Give it a Thought

Chapter I

You are Susan, of course. We wouldn’t have anyone else in the leading part.

This handbook will teach you your lines, but you’ll have to fill in from here. There are definite rules for good grooming, but you must apply them with your own special style, which sets you apart from all other Susans.

Smoothness is the most desirable trait you can have. It will get you farther in less time and keep you there longer. Don’t forget. . . it’s a woman’s world, and smoothness is a quality which makes you liked by women and loved by men.

Smoothness is good grooming, clean, and simple and smelling nice, always. Girls who aren’t very smart and aren’t very pretty can get anything they want by just being smooth.

The first step is to give it a thought. That is the last step, too. The trick is not to think about it in the middle. Good grooming is something to be conscious of while you are dressing, and after you are dressed, as a check-up; but between the dressing and the undressing, forget it. Once you are behind the teacups, so to speak, quit thinking about how you look, and let it be noised about that you are a Personality, not a Clothes Horse. All this comes from giving a thought to good grooming. CaptureWiz004

Before you improve yourself in any direction, you must have in mind a clear picture of what you are now and what you want to be. Isn’t it so? Even if you take up figure skating, you must be honest about what you have to start with. . . and at the same time you must keep working toward that mental picture of yourself as Susan of the Silver Skates.


Smoothness is also an applied art, and its technique begins with an honest look at yourself in the mirror. . . just as you are now.

Would you like this Susan on first sight? Is her hair shining and has it a nice smell? Is her face free from blackheads? Does her skirt hang well and are her stocking seams exactly straight? Most important of all, do her clothes seem to belong together, all of a piece with the type of girl Susan is?

The easiest way to think how you’d rather look is to start with the movie stars, and to compare the way you look right now with the way you see the stars in your mind’s eye. Think about the immaculate smoothness of Claudette Colbert; when you study what makes this smoothness, you remember only her clean teeth, her clean skin, her clean hair.

is a word which belongs with smooth. Think about the most attractive woman you know. . . an older woman, perhaps. Pick apart the things that make her attractive. It will always be
plus whatever else it is.

Good grooming boils down to this: a dewy, fresh, scrubbed look, plus clothes that have only one thought in mind. The clean part won’t cost you a cent; the simplicity is mostly a matter of subtraction, which is added to knowledge in the next chapter.

To be continued. . .

(If this is the first time you’ve met Susan, be sure to check out the Introduction and Table of Contents post here.)

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