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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.