When we chose a title for this blog, we wanted something that helped define who we are and what we would write about. Lessons in Loveliness seemed to fit perfectly for a couple of teachers who believe in seeking, creating, and focusing on the loveliness in life.
Happily, the title was available as a website address and Facebook name; however, in 1940 Judith Unger Scott published a beauty book named, Lessons in Loveliness. In 1942, a newspaper column aimed at young girls had the same title.
I can only hope the similarities end there.
The book Lessons in Loveliness begins with some not so lovely advice. “Daily elimination makes for good health. You should defecate at least once a day, or even twice, because if the system does not rid itself of waste matter, trouble breeds.”
While I certainly won’t poo-poo the sentiment, I can promise our blog will not feature a post on this subject.
In an even crappier section of the book, the writer says, “You’ve probably heard that everyone has at least one lovely feature which can be played up to minimize the less lovelies. But, sad to say, this isn’t always so.”
Well, that seems a little harsh, and again, not very lovely.
In defense of the author, Lessons and Loveliness and other books she penned (That Freshman Feeling, The Art of Being a Girl, and Memo for Marriage) surely reflected the culture of the time. As does this gem from a 1942 newspaper column aimed at schoolgirls:
“You visualize yourself a raving beauty distributing largesse to the less fortunate and you see one, two – nay, a dozen- handsome young gentlemen kneeling at your feet and craving your white languid hand. Lovely, lovely thoughts…you rise and walk majestically to the mirror and your eyes pop with horror! You see a scrawny face or a plump round one, a snub nose, round eyes, mousy hair or black when it should be golden, just too terrible for words in your critical eyes. But girls, take heart. Follow a simple beauty treatment from now on and you’ll be very lovely some day.”
After reading this, my eyes did indeed pop with horror! It is too terrible for words! Yet, I know that this is the beauty lesson young girls have been taught and older girls have carried with them their entire lives. Though we might hope that women today would be spared this dated advice, I’m afraid not. In fact it may be even worse with today’s selfie filters, butt lifts, and hair extensions.
My friend, you are lovely. Even if your face is plump, your nose snub, and your hair dark, you are lovely. Go ahead and put on some perfume, slather on a face mask, and wear something pretty, but please don’t do it to catch a man or to cover up who you are. Do it because it makes you feel great and ready to take on your day.
Remember, the most important lessons in loveliness have nothing to do with what goes on in front of the bathroom mirror.
~Think On These Things~