Susan, be smooth! by Nell Giles, 1940: Chapter VII – Don’t Mention It

Chapter VII

There are certain points in good grooming we usually keep “mum” about; they are usually smells. We don’t like to mention them. We wouldn’t dare to say to Susan, “Darling, you haven’t a nice smell.” It sounds so crude and we cannot bear to see the blush that would come to her face.

But this is the most important thing to tell you Susan, if it’s true. Just as we said in the very beginning, you cannot be smooth unless you are clean, well put together, and have a nice smell.

When you start getting your “pin feathers,” so to speak. . . that is, when you start growing up, you must be especially careful about smelling nice. But once you have taken precautions, you can forget all about it. You can be entirely comfortable and at ease once you are sure you are dainty. The word we are sniffing for is of course “deodorant.” It comes in liquid or cream form and it becomes a habit. It is to be used under your arms, Susan, every morning after you have bathed. It protects your dresses and your reputation for smoothness.

There are some deodorants which are also non-perspirants. There are two schools of thought on this. . . some say the perspiration shouldn’t be tampered with; some say the functions of the pores under the arms will never be missed.

Our personal feeling is that you must do something. . . we don’t care what. . . about perspiration under the arms. We prefer very small silk shields for dresses that fit closely. we feel that we aren’t setting ourself apart as an old maid when we wear dress shields with our best clothes; the department store people tell us that millions have the same notion.

There’s one more thing we don’t like to mention. You mustn’t have hair under the arms. If you have, shave it off, very carefully and gently. . . and thoroughly. Hair under the arms is a “natural state” only with French mannequins. To American eyes, it’s shocking bad grooming.

Don’t shave the hair on your legs unless you want to start something you can’t stop. It isn’t injurious. . . it won’t make the hair grow back any faster. . . but it will make the ends more noticeable because they grow back blunt instead of pointed. Don’t start this, and you’ll never need to do it, but if you have started it, keep it up! Nothing is less feminine than hairy legs. There are  at least three good non-smelly cream depilatories which are nicer to use than a razor. There are also several bleaches which are harmless but efficient.

This chapter is only a whisper in length, but listen, Susan, with your ear to the ground.

To Be Continued. . . 

If this is the first time you’ve met Susan, be sure to check out:

Introduction and Table of Contents
Chapter I: Give it a Thought
Chapter II: Keep it Simple with Subtraction
Chapter III: Soap-and-Water Clean
Chapter IV: S-T-R-E-T-C-H
Chapter V: A Hairsbreadth Escape
Chapter VI: Oral Exam

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