18 May 2014

Bette Davis' advice column

One of the great things about doing this blog is that I discover things I never knew about. In one of my earlier posts Edited by Carole and Ginger, I told you about Carole Lombard and Ginger Rogers having been guest editors for the fan movie magazine "Screen Book". For this post I've learnt that Bette Davis had a "Dear Abby"-like column in the fan magazine "Photoplay" in 1943. In her column, "What should I do?", Bette gave readers advice, mostly on love and relationships. The letter I've selected is from the June 1943 issue and was written by 25-year old Mona L., who had never been on a date before and was afraid of becoming an old maid. What advice Bette Davis had to offer can be read below as well (I seriously doubt if Mona followed it).

Source: internet archive.  If you click on the link, you can see the full Photoplay page which shows this letter and other letters to Bette Davis. And you can also flip through the Photoplay issues from January to June 1943 and see more of Bette Davis' advice to her readers.


Dear Miss Davis: 

My face is long, thin and plain and my hair is short, dry, brittle and lifeless. There is no way I can arrange it to become my unfortunate face. The reason why I am mentioning my face and hair is because I am afraid it is keeping me out of the romantic world.
I am past twenty-five and have never yet had a date with anyone of the opposite sex. 
During my school days I was always considered as being funny-looking. You can imagine how I felt when I was called by rude names, especially as I hadn't done anything to deserve them. Even my mother at times, has called me ugly. 
I do not even have any close friends. Although I do have old school friends, they merely smile and pass on after speaking to me on the street.
What would you advise a girl of twenty-five to do when she is finding herself growing to be an old maid?
Mona L.

Dear Miss L:

It just so happened the day I was answering your letter the editor of a prominent woman's magazine was on the set, so I asked her for advice on your problem. She said there are success schools in New York City which have helped girls far more handicapped than you are, and trained them to be attractive, popular, and happy persons. As I understand it, the course is given by mail. You supply these people with a photograph, full figure as well as face, of yourself. They diagnose your problems and prescribe for you.
There is only one way to take a course of this kind. If you really want to change-which you seem to- you must seriously apply yourself to their suggestions.
Let me know how you progress.
Bette Davis.

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