Career Romances for Young Moderns

Career Romances for Young Moderns were a series of books published from the 1950s-1970s about young women striking out in different career fields. But because these were career romances, the books usually ended when the women gleefully give up their career for a man. The books paint a hilarious picture of a business world that's thankfully out-of-date. They're a little hard to come by today, but can be found in used bookstores and online.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

A Career for Lynn, a.k.a. Lynn, Cover Girl

"A Career for Lynn," a.k.a. "Lynn, Cover Girl," 1950, by Nina Wilcox Putnam

Main character: Lynn Hopewell
Career: Model
Gael's grade: C for awkward language, boring plot, indistinct heroine

Trauma #1: Lynn leaves her hometown of New Falls for NYC to become a model. She lives with her great-aunt way out in the burbs, and Auntie has no telephone, so the only way she can be offered a job is if the client calls the local drugstore and she just happens to check in in time. Needless to say, she misses a big job because JoeBob the soda jerk doesn't hike to her aunt's house and tell her she got a call.
Trauma #2: Lynn's kind of an ass. I mean, she goes to her first agency and gets instantly impatient and mouths off to an older guy who, of course, turns out to be the head of the agency, mingling with the nobodies just on the hopes that some witchy model will show her true colors in exactly the way Lynn just did. Busted!
Trauma #3: Lynn can't get a job (hey, realism) so she signs up for the Fashion World Modeling School. It totally sounds like a big scam, but apparently isn't. Yet Lynn eventually has to take a filing job at "famous fiction magazine" the Lilac Book, where she accidentally leaves her photo on the editor's desk and he decides to put her on the cover of the magazine. Which is hokey and stupid and only-in-the-movies, but is not unsimilar to the plot in the pilot of "Ugly Betty" where her idea saves the day at her Vogue-like magazine. Anyway, the Lilac Book cover lands her the coveted position of Miss Silkasheen (not making this up, people), representing "the largest artificial-silk company in the country." No one can hold her back, now!

Prince Charming: Newspaper columnist Dixon "Lanky" Wells. No, really, that's his name.
What's standing in their way? Beautiful and haughty Serena Ashley, who's gunning for Lanky and against Lynn.
How does he come to his senses? Lynn beats out Serena for the Miss Silkasheen title, and only then discovers that Serena's father was a big-shot magazine publisher and Lanky was only helping her in her career to "cultivate his source." Ooh, ethical.

Signs o' the times:
1) How about starting with her aunt not having a telephone in 1950s New York? I kind of figured the last time people used a drugstore as their answering service was maybe in the rural South during the Depression.
2) Lynn meets another aspiring model on the train, Millie Daws, who tells her she is going to use a stage name: Feathers Frawley. Now that's class.
3) The models' favorite class is panochromatic modeling, where they're made up with muddy makeup colors so they show up well in black-and-white photos. (I guess--it's kind of confusingly described.)
4) Awesomely, a friend of Lynn's is shunned from the modeling world because she worked as an "Art Annie," someone who does "photographic poses that are used by fine artists." Again, really weirdly described, but I think this means she poses nude...although maybe not. Apparently "regular models ... think art Annies blacken the name of all models."

Quote that says it all: "Marriage is the step towards the final step--which is retirement, with a good husband and a good home."



  • At 7:10 AM, Blogger Claudia said…

    "Marriage is the step toward the final step", so there are... two steps?

    These are really fun.


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