Thursday, October 28, 2010

Yes, I Like Sparkles Too

I have a thing for pretty, pink, self-help books. It’s one of those inexplicable genres that calls to me in a way that I can’t totally explain. It’s resulted in an all-pink corner of my bookshelf, full of books with pretty pink covers and titles like The Modern Girl’s Guide to Life, The Bombshell Manuel of Style and Three Black Skirts. They’re full of helpful tips and pointers to guide a girl’s life towards that stylish, fun, domestic and work bliss that, of course, all modern girls aspire to reaching.

Except that I don’t really want to be that girl. At least not consciously. I’ve always been a bit more on the quirky, less-than-perfectly-put-together side and I’m OK with that. Yet, whenever I see a pink book cover with a pretty, perfect girl in high heels sipping a martini I feel compelled to own it. Especially if it’s full of useful (or useless) tips on how to be that sassy, modern girl (always displayed in illustrated form because I’m fairly certain she doesn’t actually exist).

Since I’m currently trying to read through my backlog of books (so that I won’t feel so guilty about buying any more), I decided to actually read one of the pink mainstays on the shelf and see whether I was as drawn to the book’s content as I was to its cover. I had actually read Three Black Skirts and The Bombshell Manual of Style ages ago (and remember nothing from either), so I grabbed How to Walk in High Heels. The cover is a light shade of rose with a slender, illustrated girl on the cover – she’s wearing just her undies and high heels as she teeters on a stool changing a light bulb, clearly illustrating the books premise that you can be a domestic goddess AND a style goddess too. Of course you can!

The book itself is pretty cheeky and fun. It’s British, so there are all those wonderful Brit-isms and, while Morton is herself a bit of a style goddess, she takes the piss out of the genre a little bit throughout the book. There’s actually quite a bit of useful info throughout, as well as essays by Stella McCartney and other fashion mavens. It’s a few years old, so the tech section is woefully out of date and, being British, there are elements that don’t really relate to my life at all (I now know how to order a Pay-Per-View movie in Sky TV, for example), but it was a decent read. One of my friends on Twitter pointed out that the info on how to change a tire was actually really useful. Being a non-driver, I skimmed that section, but I can see her point.

While I’m pretty sure that reading the book didn’t change my thoughts on fashion (interesting, but not really my thing) or make me over into a glamourous, light bulb changing domestic diva, I can’t say I didn’t enjoy it. I think that these pink books speak to a part of my subconscious that is fascinated by women who manage to be bombshells in the same way shows like Sex and the City make you sort of wish you could swap places with Carrie Bradshaw, but only for an hour or two.

I’m happily moving on to a book that’s neither pink nor helpful now, but I will remember my time with How to Walk in High Heels fondly. And, who knows, maybe someday I’ll find myself pulling it out again, because there are times when being a domestic diva comes in pretty handy – especially if you’re trying to manage it in stilettos.

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