Not So Great Advice

Dear Abby gave great advice. Me, not so much.

Hi there, guys and dolls! Friday’s here, and that means it’s time for some great advice. Okay, maybe not great, given my track record, so let’s go with mediocre. My wish is that you are all living fantabulous lives, but if you need a help or have a dating dilemma, social situation or glamour glitch, please give me a dingle here on the blog or email me at and I’d be happy to clarify or confuse things for you further :-).

Now for this week’s letters:

Dear Barbara Jean,

Are office romances ever okay? I have my eye on a new junior executive who I’m sure will be going places.

Secretary Susie in Schenectady

Secretary and Junior Executive in action

Dear Susie,

Thanks for your letter! That’s a very good question that I’m sure many of us career girls contemplate on a daily basis. Your question actually clarifies a few very important points on the success of your pursuit. First off, make sure your prey (I mean, loving intended) is higher up the corporate ladder than you are. It’s always nice when he foots the bill, and coattails are nothing to sneeze at! It’s all fine and good to have a little slap and tickle with the mail boy in the supply closet (who doesn’t do that?), but for the truly serious, set your cap at a higher angle, which you’ve done. Also, be sure to arrange to capture him in a compromising situation, such as a photo of him in nothing more than your chiffon dressing gown with marabou trim. That way, if things go south, you always have a little leverage in the form of blackmail to fall back on. Toodles!

Dear Barbara Jean,

Wearing red lipstick, not looking like a hussy

My mother says that red lipstick makes girls look like hussies. What do you think?

Reserved Ruth in Rhode Island

Dear Ruth,

Now what’s wrong with looking like a hussy? I mean, there’s a girl who looks like she knows what she wants to get, and then there’s tramp (don’t go there). But to be honest, I think your mother’s a little behind the times and there’s nothing wrong with bringing a little color to your face. Try a subtle shade for daytime, and more dramatic for the evening. There’s nothing like leaving a little lipstick on his collar, if you know what I mean. Toodles!

Now that’s vivacious!

Dear Barbara Jean,

Is it okay to wear a bullet bra when seeking out new male companionship? Would that be considered false advertising?

Vivacious Vera from Vermont

Dear Vera,

Of course not! Nor would it be considered falsie advertising ;-). A gal needs to work her assets. I say if you’ve got it (real or purchased), flaunt it. As for the moment of truth down the road if you get a good catch (and that could be hours or days later, depending on your attraction, age and experience in such matters), make sure he’s suitably mesmerized by all of your charms before the big reveal. A important tip – be sure to understand how to carry yourself. No one wants to have an eye poked out (trust me, I’ve had the oddest things happen…another time). Happy Hunting!

Let him figure it out.

Dear Barbara Jean,

My husband is always complaining about what I make for dinner. He says he’s tired of the same old meatloaf and mashed potatoes routine and when I try to make something new, he says he doesn’t like it. Quite frankly I’m fed up. What do I do?

Grumpy Gus’ Gertie in Georgetown

Doesn’t he look happy doing this chore?

Dear Gertie,

For goodness sake, get him studying the books! Cook books, that is. Show Mr. Grumpy Gus what it’s like to try to keep him fed, watered and happy. Every time he grumbles, get him to make a list, get the grub and make the meal. A day or two of that and you should be back to marital bliss. Toodles!

Dear Barbara Jean,

This is what Olive is afraid of.

My children are at the age where they want to help out in the kitchen, but I am so concerned about it. You see, I like things just as they are, everything in its place and a place for everything. Plus, the children bring in all kinds of germs from the outside, including the ones that Lysol just can’t kill. What am I to do? 

Organized Olive in Orange County

Dear Olive,

First recipe the children should manage for Olive

For heaven’s sake, get those kids earning their keep! My goodness, I’m sure you are the perfect mother, always picking up after them, could eat off your floor, all those good things. But part of your job is to teach your children how to move out and run their own homes one day. I would let them at it, but first, introduce them to the martini shaker and get them to mix you some great “afternoon tea,” for your inverted triangle glass. That way, you’ll be pleasantly relaxed (okay, buzzed) while your charming children turn your kitchen upside down making some truly awful food. Then you can also teach them how to clean. Be sure to have the take out menus ready for the first few attempts.

Bon appetit, Barbara Jean

Dear Barbara Jean,

I am a recent divorcee just getting out in the dating scene. I’ve been shopping for some new dresses and found some darling ones. But what to choose? There’s so many fetching frocks out there, how do I choose just one? What would you do? Please help me with my dilemma.

Nervous Nellie in Newark

Dear Nellie,

Nellie should go for at least three

Good for you for getting back on that horse again! Maybe this time it’ll be a “Carousel of Love” rather than a pokey old “Marry go Round” ;-). Quite frankly, I don’t see your dilemma. I’d get two, maybe three, or more. If a budget is an issue, don’t let it be. Just remind your ex-husband that the sooner you get re-hitched, the less he has to pay in alimony over time. Let him cough up the investment for your future, just as you had to most likely choke down the excuse that his secretary’s lipstick on his collar that time was because she tripped and fell against him. Just guessing, but I’m kinda right, right?

Go out there and have a ball, Barbara Jean

Dear Barbara Jean,

A dramatic interpretation of Jill giving Pam the evil eye

Recently our neighbor Pam dropped 250 pounds by divorcing her husband of ten years and then dieting and exercising to get into tip-top hourglass shape. Now my husband and all of the other men are making eyes at her and she’s flirting right back. Please help me and my friends preserve our husbands from this vicious vixen. We don’t know what to do!

Jealous Jill from Jackson Hole

Dear Jill,

You and your friends should not despair for long. You know how they say to keep your friends close, but your enemies closer? Form a neighborhood watch with Pam. You know, all of you taking shifts, acting like you care, all the while inviting her over for coffee, drinks, etc. This way, someone will always know where she is, in the company of watchful women and be sure everyone plies her with all the fattening foods she loves. Encourage her to eat, keep up her strength, get through that nasty old divorce. Before long, she’ll be fat, dumpy and depressed, just where you want her to be. Simple

Have fun, Barbara Jean

Dear Barbara Jean,

I have a question about sack dresses. When do you think they should be worn? Day or evening? Formal/informal? Please advise.

Sagging Sally from St. Louis

Dear Sally,


Most sincerely, Barbara Jean

Tweedy sack dress hides a multitude of sins. Looks like the hat covers some minor hair crime, too.

PS – okay, on second thought (actually, after a huge lunch including the hot plate special with gravy and a generous slice of boston cream pie), I say ANYTIME! Let’s face it, sometimes even the extra rubber girdle just can’t suck it all in. If a man can’t handle a little mystery being cloaked under a sack, what good would he be in the sack? And honestly, these things matter!

Keep your letters coming! I love to help or hinder any way I can.

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more posts. And don’t forget to give my Poppy Cove Mysteries a try if you haven’t already.

Toodles, Barbara Jean