Reel Women: If a Man Answers: re-new your relationship

if a man answers

giambattista tweed dress | coral necklace | obi wrap belt | coral pump

There’s lots of new year resolutions to meet someone new, start dating, finally ask that person out, perhaps break up with this person and “find yourself.” But, there are hardly any resolutions to make a current relationship better. “If a Man Answers” is a one of Sandra Dee and Bobby Darin’s more obscure duos, but it honestly has the best plotline for a new year and a resolution to make a special someone even more special.

After a swift relationship, Sandra Dee’s character (Chantal) falls in love with and marries Bobby Darin’s character (Eugene), a photographer. Soon after the honeymoon wears off though, Darin’s character quickly moves his attention off his wife and onto his next beautiful photography model. When Chantal goes to her mother with her husband problems, her mum gives her a dog training book, telling her to use the tips in the book about training a dog on her husband. Though Chantal is slightly horrified, when she comes home to Eugene falling all over himself over a roomful of photography models, she begins to use the “tricks” in an attempt to transform him. After a few weeks, Eugene is a completely changed man: he’s attentive, willingly goes with her shopping, is romantic, and suddenly back to his old, devoted self.

Chantal quickly realizes however that her mother gave her the book not to train Eugene like a dog, but to train Chantal to treat him as well as she would a pet and transform her view of her marriage. Chantal began to intentionally seek out what Eugene’s needs were, she paid attention to his desires, went out of her way to make him comfortable, asked first where he wanted to go before dragging him to every errand on her list. Made his favorite dinner, greeted him with a smile, and welcomed every conversation they had together. Of course it’s not a Darin/Dee movie unless there is some mix-up to the plot–you’ll have to actually watch it to figure that one out–but even in the 1960’s they hit something right on the head: often we treat our pets better than we do our significant others and then we wonder why they aren’t drooling over our every word, longing to spend every moment with us, and jumping for joy when we walk through the door. Perhaps if we started treating them like our most beloved pup they may just figure out how much we really love them…try it, and see if this year your right now relationship doesn’t need to be switched out, re-newed, or rejected, perhaps it just needs both of you thinking less of yourself and more of the other person as the best dog you ever had.

– <3 A. 

Guest Pinner: If Lily Bart Pinned

house of mirth pins

house of mirth repins via local milk

house of mirth repins via local milk House of Mirth “repins” via

 During my senior year of my undergrad years, I studied Edith Wharton’s novel House of Mirth and it’s tantalizingly yet depressing protagonist Lily Bart. Lily loves her upper class life in the early 1900’s yet is tormented by the upper classes’ views on marriage: believing girls of the upper class should maintain their status by marrying a man merely to continue to “live well” instead of because you may love and respect him. Lily turns down proposal after proposal, even from Lawrence Seldon whom she actually loves for she is caught up in the idea that she must marry well, yet is horrified by the prospect of a loveless life. As she slowly begins to reject the upper classes’ view on marriage, attempting to gamble and win her way to the “top” herself, she soon finds the upper class rejects her. She goes from taking yacht tours of Europe and rejecting a future with Lawrence Seldon in the hopes of marrying “even higher,” to working at a millinery, living in poverty, and eventually overdosing on sleeping pills. Lily repeatedly sabotages herself from a potential happy life with Seldon, rejecting Lawrence’s offers of help when he could have helped her, so focused is she on the idea of striking it rich.

Besides the overdosing part I hope, I think Lily’s struggle has been so universally popular even with modern women because we all find a piece of Lily in ourselves.  Like it or not, the archetypes for women have always been the Stepford Wife-type, the selfless mother-type, or the career girl-type. And more likely than not, there’s the desire to be all those types in all of us: Admit it, isn’t that why we love Disney Princesses? Stories about wealthy men falling hard for the girl they cloak in luxury? The reason why we slurp up wedding magazines and sappy fairy tale stories? Maybe you do it when no one else is around, when you’re home alone on the weekend. Maybe you erase your search history after you read one of those stories, and maybe you pretend to scoff at them in public but I know that you have to say yes! We love them! They strike the Stepford in all of us and it’s alluring, glamorous, and desirable. But how many times do we find ourselves falling into the Lily-Bart-trap of sabotaging our own happiness because we are discontent, always looking for more, trying to do it alone, building relationships that look impressive, making judgments based on appearances, growing jealous over comparisons, and holding out for better things when we could be perfectly content if we only looked around instead of always, always forward and upward? The House of Mirth is a satire of course–that’s obvious by its title–but it’s also something of a tragedy because so many times we strive to build our own houses of mirth, hoping that by creating it, joy will come, instead of making our house where there already is happiness and laughter for the most impressive thing in the world is a woman who is completely content with whatever and wherever she is.

– <3 A. 

 Other Guest Pinners: 

beatrixpotterpinterest    annecollage4

       Beatrix Potter                  Anne of Green Gables

A Lesson in Etiquette

dear miss vanderbilt

dear miss vanderbilt

dear miss vanderbilt

1. Hand-Embroidered Etiquette Napkins | 2. Amy Vanderbilt | 3. Animal Cocktail Napkins | 4. Vintage Wedding Napkins | 5. Tea and Toast Butter Dish | 6. Beast’s Feast Tureen | 7. Very Fond of Food | 8. Marcella Plates | 9. Canister Labels | 10. Glass Pedestal Stand & Dome

Amy Vanderbilt, author of the famous etiquette books Dear Miss Vanderbilt and later a cookbook illustrated by the famous pop artist Andy Warhol, is considered the go-to girl on all questions about etiquette since she published her first edition in 1952. Some of the questions her readers wrote in are absolutely hilarious, hilarious to think that some of these social rules were actually mainstream. Yet, in all their hilarity, there is a tinge of sadness to see how quickly her etiquette rules have been ignored–or all but dismissed– in pretty much one generation.

These quotes are some of Amy’s responses to a few “Dear Miss Vanderbilt” letters written to her about table manners. I found them irresistible and had to share. My favorite? “Ladies no longer have to pretend a disinterest in food,” when asked by a young woman whether it was proper for a lady to admire the food, rave about a recipe, or cheer over a morsel of dinner that a hostess provided. Apparently, before the 1950’s, ladies just pretended not to eat…because, you know, eating is sooooo vulgar. For overturning THAT myth, Dear Miss Vanderbilt, I am eternally grateful.

– <3 A. 

Posts Like This: 

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Lessons in Patience: Julia Child    Style Secrets from: Emily Dickinson

Plain Jane

jane austen sketchPlain Jane: “Do not consider me now as an elegant female intending to plague you, but as a rational creature speaking the truth from her heart.”

-Jane Austen in Pride and Prejudice

Sometimes, I feel as if I must still fight to be seen as a rational creature…especially mornings without coffee. But, then I don’t think that’s a gender-thing, I think that’s a human-thing.

Plain Jane

jane austen sketch Plain Jane: “Seldom, very seldom, does complete truth belong to any human disclosure; seldom can it happen that something is not a little disguised or a little mistaken.”

-Jane Austen in Emma

So true. So often are words contorted to serve our own purposes. Very few have the gift to describe human emotion the way writers like Jane can, and to expect the common man to find the perfect words to define his needs, desires, emotions, dreams, and ideas without a little benefit of the doubt is a little harsh. I was, and always will be, an English major, but overlooking a few misplaced words I think is a necessary skill in navigating the world of human interaction.

Plain Jane

Jane Austen image via mollands.netPlain Jane: “she was one of that numerous class of females, whose society can raise no other emotion than surprise at there being any men in the world who could like them well enough to marry them.”

-Jane Austen in Northanger Abbey

Like I said in Jane Explained, no one is safe from the frank, opinionated pen of Jane Austen; a fact that makes her writing so fun for its impartial comments on the best, and worst, of society. May you never be one of this “numerous class of females!”