If She Could, I Could – by Fauna

I haven’t really got time for a post, but I came across this item in Steinbeck’s Sweet Thursday, a slim novel in which matchmaking plays its part. (It’s a sequel to Cannery Row, for Steinbeck fans.)

Anyway, a character named Fauna is trying to sandbag the local most eligible bachelor with a girl Suzy, who just blew into town. And she has a truckload of advice for Suzy on how to make herself appealing.  She has enough advice, she claims, to write a book entitled If She Could, I Could.

So, in the spirit of advice being only worth passing along, I have transcribed the short volume for you. This being a family-friendly blog, I have expurgated anything bleep-worthy.

Rule 1:

They ain’t  no way in the world to get in trouble by keeping your mouth shut. You look back at every mess you ever got in and you’ll find your tongue started it.

Rule 2:

Next thing is opinions. You and me is always busting out with opinions. Heck, Suzy! We ain’t got no opinions! We just say stuff we heard or seen in the movies. That’s the second rule: lay off opinions because you ain’t really got any.

Rule 3:

There don’t hardly nobody listen, and it’s so easy! You don’t have to do nothing when you listen. If you do listen, it’s pretty interesting. If a guy says something that pricks up your interest, why, don’t hide it from him. Kind of try to wonder what he’s thinking instead of how you’re going to answer him back.

Rule 4:

Don’t pretend to be something you ain’t, and don’t make like you know something you don’t, or sooner or later you’ll fall on your [derrière]. And there’s one more part to this one, whatever it is: they ain’t nobody was ever insulted by a question… The nicest thing in the world you can do for anybody is let them help you.

Rule 5:

Nobody don’t give a particular about [you] one way or the other. It’s hard to get them thinking about you because they’re to busy thinking about themselves. There’s two, three, copper-bottom ways to get their attention: talk about them.

Rule 6:

If you see something nice or good or pretty, tell them. Don’t make it fake, though. Don’t never start a fight, and if one starts, let it get going good before you jump in. Best way in the whole world to defend yourself is to keep your dukes down.

Additional warning:

Now look, Suzy – tonight, just before you say something, say it first to yourself, and kind of dust it off. …Sometimes if you look at it you don’t say it. A whole lot that passes for talk is just running off at the mouth.

All of this goes a long way to polishing Suzy me. One  item Suzy discovers herself, on her date:

She then lifted her glass slowly, looked at it carefully, then sipped and held it a moment before she put it down. S-l-o-w-ness. It gave meaning to everything. It made everything royal. She remembered how all the unsure and worried people she knew jumped and picked and jittered. Just doing everything slowly, forcing herself, she found a new kind of security.

This little epiphany occurs after she manages to bite back a “Whattaya think I’m an invalid?!” when he opens the car door for her going in and out. I definitely identified with that one.

And Fauna’s final advice:

Just remember a lot of things:

first, you got to remember you’re Suzy and you ain’t nobody else but Suzy.

Then you got to remember that Suzy is a good thing – a real valuable thing – and there ain’t nothing like it in the world.

It don’t do no harm just to say that to yourself.


12 thoughts on “If She Could, I Could – by Fauna

  1. Fauna’s got a lot of good things to say- I wish I had had her around when I was dating 😀 We all have some sort of inner Suzy that needs polishing.
    Especially the opinions comment- I personally have to learn to keep them to myself, except when really necessary.

  2. this victorian advice might get you hitched, but it will not make you happy. there’s a more recent work that espouses (pun intended) a similar philosophy- it’s called “the frum rules” and it is not fit to read. it may be true that no one listens to or cares about your opinions, but do you really want a spouse like that? oughtn’t he to care what you think?

  3. Rule 2&3 remind me of something one of my Rabbanim says. He teaches Shalom Bayit to married couples and counsels them early on. Apparently(maybe this is only Israelis) many are ready for the get about 30 days after the Ketubah. He says that 11 times out of 10(his bad math, not mine) its that you have two people talking and giving an opinion and no one listening.

  4. I loved this! Thanks for sharing it.

    You’ve convinced me, I’m going to hunt down Steinbeck’s books to read.

  5. GP – Steinbeck wasn’t a Victorian. He died in the 1960s, if my memory serves.

    Some of it is just funny, but some is actually good sound advice, and I hope people can tell the difference.

  6. GP,

    Did you catch Bad4’s typo in this post?

    It’s important, please find it and correct her.


  7. i know he wasn’t victorian, and i know the book is set post-WWII. i was just describing the nature of the proposed (also intended) style of interaction. as per wikipedia, steinbeck died in 1968.

    Best4, if you’re going to make fun, at least do a decent job (that’s “say better” in your language, unless you’re female and don’t understand shprach except maybe by proxy). i don’t call people on typos, as they result from human error, not ignorance. also, if you want to avoid being on the receiving end yourself, you’d best use a semicolon after “it’s important”.

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