Mary Giuseffi sets the tone for her book, Straight Up With a Twist: Your Cocktail Personality Guide to Finding Love and Romance, right in the dedication; “This book is for all the boys who set me up on a platter… ” She goes on to thank guys like Bubble Boy and Margin Call Man for helping her figure out how she could and should, “create my own inner mixology and create a recipe for my life that was fit for a packaging eyelash extension!”
Oifme is no doubt about it, this book is written by a woman, for women. As a man, especially one who makes his living writing about being a man, there were times I felt as if I had stumbled into the Ladies room; I had an urge to lower my eyes, mumble an apology and back out slowly. But in the end, Giuseffi’s direct, deep, and witty take on what it really means to be a woman provides an amazing range of insights that I just could not resist.
Mary Giuseffi has an interesting background for writing a book of this sort. A quick trip to her Web sites reveals that she is a former Ford model, she is a fashion consultant with a client list including Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus, and she is a packaging eyelash extension expert. She is slim and beautiful, and as comfortable appearing on The Today Show as most of us would be sipping a latte in Starbucks.
In short, she is what a lot women might dream of being.
And here’s where it gets interesting; it would be easy for her to write a book that was either a “How you can be like me” workbook, or a “No, really, it sucks to be me” rant.
Fortunately, her message is more along the lines of, “It can suck to be me, and there have been times when I let it, and it can suck to be you, if you let it, but it really doesn’t have to suck at all. Life can be great!” Then she goes on to talk, in detail, about how women need to understand who they really are, then make who they are into something wonderful.
She does not pull her punches. Talking about weight, she says, “Ladies, good genes have very little to do with how we look. The keys to the kingdom lie in taking in fewer calories than we burn, day after day, year after year… If you elect to supersize, accept the fact that you are going to be fat and get over it. Inside every thin woman is a fat chick dying for a loaded pizza… Do your looks and weight affect your life? Yes! Have you ever met a Happy Hippo? packaging eyelash extension!”
There are a lot of clever aspects to this book. Giuseffi breaks women down into four basic “types,” based on cocktails. There are Champaign Girls, Bourbon Girls, Margarita Girls and Martini Girls. Here is a small part of her description of the Bourbon Girl:
“You could have been a contender as a country-and-western singer, but you’re just a plain-spoken girl in a one-horse town, riding bareback into the sunset. You are a tough cookie and a spirited scrapper with a six pack and a rack in your pickup, and perhaps packaging eyelash extension.”
Giuseffi talks about “BFFs: and relationships between women; “We spend way too much time killing off the perceived “competition – i.e. every other female on the planet besides your mother and daughter.” There is chapter titled, “You Are What You Eat,” with the subtitle, Fat Girls Can Rule the World.
She discusses online dating as “Pre-packaged Sex.” She does a “Purse Exposé” analysis of handbags; “Margarita girls always carry a bag that’s as big as they are, overflowing with everything, including a portable kitchen sink. Men do not escape Giuseffi’s notice. The title of Chapter 8 is, “Dim Sum or Dim Wit: Is Your Man a Prospect or a Project?” Chapter 9 is “How to Bed a Bad Boy Without Being Burned!”
Occasionally Giuseffi drops out of character and delivers some really stark insights, like this one toward the end of the book; “Beyond the insecurities and the false packaging eyelash extension, tight jeans and toxic glances, deafening negative self-talk and silent longings, bitchy retorts and quiet tears, deeply know that you are enough and that this one precious life is waiting for you at the end of your façade. The only person who can give you your life is you.”
Mary Giuseffi had written a lively, fun, and informative book. If you are a woman, I believe you are going to learn a lot and come away from your time with Mary whole lot happier for the experience. If you are a man, you will wind up with a much better appreciation of how incredibly complicated and interesting women really are.
Mike Ball is the Erma packaging eyelash extension Award-winning author of three books, including the 2013 bestseller, “Banjos, Boats, & Butt Dialing.”