February 7, 2012

“Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” – and curves and bonds (among other things)…


“Gentlemen Prefer Blondes”
       Anita Loos (1893-1981)
       U.S. novelist, playwright and screenwriter
       This is the familiar short title of Loos’ famous satiric book, first published in 1925. The full title is Gentlemen Prefer Blondes: The Illuminating Diary of a Professional Lady.
       Loos’ novel is the faux diary of Lorelei Lee, a young, blonde “
golddigger” who goes on the hunt for a rich husband in the U.S. and Europe with her friend Dorothy Shaw. The bestselling novel was adapted as a Broadway musical in 1949, starring Carol Channing as Lorelei. In 1953, that was turned into a movie musical with Marilyn Monroe as Lorelei (wowing audiences with, among other things, her iconic performance of the song “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend”).  
       The phrase “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” became a modern proverbial saying that has inspired many variations and quips. One was written by Loos herself. Her 1927 sequel to Gentlemen Prefer Blondes was titled But Gentlemen Marry Brunettes. According to
some recent public opinion surveys, the majority of men may indeed prefer brunettes over blondes, except when they’re out on the town (or perhaps out of town without their wives).


“It isn’t that gentlemen really prefer blondes, it’s just that we look dumber.” 
       Ginger Rogers (playing the character Sherry Martin) 
       One of Ginger’s quips in the 1936 comedy film Follow the Fleet


“Gentlemen prefer curves.” 
       The name of a popular Tumblr blog 
       The blog is intended to be “inspirational to fuller-figured women (and men) who have struggled with their weight, and their body image, to give them confidence and to show that they are beautiful and sexy!”


“Gentlemen do not prefer scarecrows. A very thin woman may look well in clothes, but without them she doesn’t offer much to hold on to.”
       Brigitte Nioche 
       New York-based fashion consultant, writer and former model
       A remark in her 2004 book Dress to Impress that might be a revelation to supermodel Kate Moss, who once infamously said “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.”


“That gentlemen prefer blondes is due to the fact that, apparently, pale hair, delicate skin and an infantile expression represent the very apex of frailty which every man longs to violate.”
       Alexander King (1899-1965)
       Viennese-born artist, humorist and wit who was a frequent talk show guest on talk shows in the late 1950s and early 1960s (such as The Tonight Show with Jack Paar)
       Quoted in
The Jumbo Book of Blonde Jokes (2004)


“Gentlemen Prefer Bronze”
       Howard Morehead (c. 1930-2003)
       Pioneering African American photographer
       Title of his 1964 book of glamour girl photos featuring beautiful black female models
       Morehead was one of the first professional photographers to break the color barrier in the entertainment industry. He’s best known for the photos he took of famous black musicians like Billie Holiday and Ray Charles and black leaders like Nelson Mandela, which are featured in
the California African American Museum and book titled “I Shot Ray Charles”. Morehead also took “cheesecake” photos of black models for calendars and men’s magazines, many of which were collected in Gentlemen Prefer Bronze. The book was advertised in many men’s magazines of the era and was quite popular. It’s now a hard-to-find collectors’ item.


“Gentlemen prefer bonds.”
       Andrew Mellon (1855-1937)
       American banker and philanthropist who served as U.S. Secretary of the Treasury from 1921 to 1932
       Although some sources attribute this quip to rich industrialist Andrew Carnegie, it is most often attributed to Mellon. He appears to have said it in 1929, when stocks were still soaring to absurd levels prior to the great stock market crash that occurred in October of that year. In a seemingly prescient comment on the pre-crash runaway market, Mellon reportedly said: “This market will end when ‘Gentlemen prefer bonds.’”


“Gentlemen prefer Hanes.”
       Hanes pantyhose advertising slogan  
       The cleverly suggestive line used in a jingle and as a tagline in ads for Hanes “Ultra Sheer” pantyhose for women. According to the Encyclopedia of Major Marketing Campaigns, t
he ad campaign with this slogan ran from 1973 to 1989.

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