Helen Gurley Brown on Money, Sex and Having It All
Like womankind's answer to Hugh Hefner, Brown was as much a philosopher as she was a publisher.
She may have left us at 90, but trailblazing, sex-positive Cosmopolitan editor Helen Gurley Brown will live on with a trove of quotable material -- from her landmark 1962 bestseller Sex and the Single Girl, its sequels and beyond.
Like womankind's answer to Hugh Hefner, Gurley Brown was as much a philosopher as she was a publisher, tossing off a stream of pithy and provocative meditations on what modern women can and should desire.
In a word, she wrote the Joan Holloway playbook -- and though the Mad Men character is fiction, there were millions of real-world Joans who heeded her call.
Here then are some of Gurley Brown's wisest, funniest and most outrageous quotes.
Helen on money:
“Money, if it does not bring you happiness, will at least help you be miserable in comfort.”
Helen on being bad:
“Good girls go to heaven, bad girls go everywhere.”
Helen on vanity:
“One of the paramount reasons for staying attractive is so you can have somebody to go to bed with.”
Helen on humble beginnings:
“Nearly every glamorous, wealthy, successful career woman you might envy now started out as some kind of schlep.”
Helen on having it all:
“The message was: So you're single. You can still have sex. You can have a great life. And if you marry, don't just sponge off a man or be the gold-medal-winning mother. Don't use men to get what you want in life - - get it for yourself.”
Helen on feminism:
“Cosmo is feminist in that we believe women are just as smart and capable as men and can achieve anything they want. But it also acknowledges that while work is important, men are, too. The Cosmo girl absolutely loves men!”
Helen on listening:
“Never fail to know that if you are doing all the talking, you are boring somebody.”
Helen on her wilder side:
“I was mousy on the outside but inside I'm this tiger and I have to get on with it.”
Helen on husbands:
"Marry a decent, good, kind person who will cherish you."
Helen on sex:
"If only one of you is in the mood, do it. Even if sex isn’t great every time, it's a unique form of communication and togetherness that can help you stay together with a good degree of contentment."
Helen on success:
“I hope I have convinced you—the only thing that separates successful people from the ones who aren’t is the willingness to work very, very hard.”