Catch Up

Girly, giggly and mad about sex.

When I was 21 years old I received remote executive coaching from none other than Helen Gurley Brown, founding editor of Cosmopolitan Magazine and author of the groundbreaking  classic  ”Sex and the Single Girl” which in the early 60′s had helped kickstart the sexual revolution.

It was the 1980′s by the time she entered my frame.  I was bottom of the food chain at an advertising agency, literally sorting the mail, when her new book “Having it All” found its way to me.

Having it All wasn’t even in my vocabulary at that point, Paying the Rent was. But it was the right book at the right time. My mother had  recently died  and in the throes of grief , I was in dire need of emotional distraction.  (Sometimes I wonder if my mother hadn’t died, and if I hadn’t picked up the book would I be following a completely different path?)

Gurley Brown’s  message to ‘mouseburgers’ across the globe  seemed to be that “you can get to the top, and be skinny all at the same time”!  (she included her recipe for cottage cheese and tuna salad to eat at your desk.). I took the book’s advice and “threw myself into my career”. I would “get to the top”, “climb the ladder of success”, “be the boss”; I literally had nothing better to do.

When I did “get to the top” at 33 I found it was rather like opening the curtains in an expensive hotel room only to find the view to be the cruddy back alley and not the panoramic sea vista I thought would magically appear. That was because when I ran an advertising agency, it wasn’t really me at that time, it was probably more Gurley Brown.

But I don’t regret it and certainly will always be grateful for Gurley Brown and all she taught me.

She died at 90 years of age in August this year after the most interesting and eventful life.

So here’s a toast to a ground breaker, a game changer, and a woman who really did it her way  – girly, giggly and mad about sex!

(Incidentally years later I found myself at an intimate dinner in Auckland NZ with Gurley Brown on her her 76th birthday. What a treat to be able to say to her that she had literally changed my life).

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