Advice from late Cosmo editor Helen Gurley Brown

Posted By KATE STANTON,   |   Aug. 13, 2012 at 4:58 PM
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Before Mary Tyler Moore, Bridget Jones and Carrie Bradshaw, there was Helen Gurley Brown.

Brown, who died Monday at the age of 90, will be remembered for her transformative influence on Cosmopolitan magazine and for her straightforward attitude toward the sex lives of single American women.

Published in 1962, Brown's first book "Sex and the Single Girl," was a treatise on financial and sexual independence for single women.

With advice on topics ranging from the importance of a clean apartment ("He does notice, if only subconsciously.") to stretching your budget ("No one likes a poor girl, she's a drag.") the enormously successful book turned the then-40-year-old copywriter into the nation's go-to expert on sex and modern singledom.

Brown became editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan three years later, imbuing her own views on female empowerment into a magazine that had mainly restricted women's issues to family and household management.

Though many prominent feminists of the time took issue with what they saw as her materialistic brand of independence ("What you really need is a black silk Balenciaga great coat," for example.) Cosmopolitan flourished under her leadership to become one of the world's most successful magazines.

Before the women of "Sex and the City" openly discussed sex positions over brunch, Brown's chatty, fearless, conspiratorial tone became the standard for young women's magazines everywhere.

"How do you find a man to love when you aren't pretty?" Brown asks in the following 1960s recording of her "trade secrets."

"I just know that 'plain girl' power to intrigue a man is there if you tap it," Brown promises as she instructs young women on the art of making it with what you have.

In this "Tonight Show" interview from the 1980s, Brown offers women a few tips on proper "bedroom etiquette, including "She wouldn't have you wrestle with the ice cubes because you need to save your strength for later."

In a more in-depth interview with Cam Montgomery Jr., Brown opens up about her own high-profile marriage and her work with Cosmopolitan, the magazine that's all about "getting somewhere from nowhere."

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