Bootlegged from the Sisters of the Immaculate Love Scene (SOILS) list-serv:
From the Desk of: Lady Ilyse-Veronica Eleanor Raquel St. Paul-on-the-Thames Snootle
President, RWA Chapter 987451, the Perfect Image Girls (PIGs)
Re: New Protocol on Proper, Positive and Prudent Public Images for Professional Romance Writers
To: All Platinum-Level Members
Dear, dear friends,
I hate writing this memo, really I do, but since That One has assumed office we have to face some unhappy changes, and not just upon The Hill. Before you e-mail me let me say that I know exactly how you PIGs feel. It has been suggested that right-minded writers keep any pictures taken with our darling Forever First Lady of Proper, Positive and Prudent Perfect Public Images up on the front pages of their web sites, right next to the click-through for the Limbaugh Live Feed and the new Anne Coulter book.
Now, onto new business: you know this ridiculous thing they're calling a recession is going to cause a teensy bit of a headache for us while our stock brokers -- the ones who haven't been arrested yet -- sort out our investments and move some of the emergency slush funds over to the island accounts. In the meantime, we PIGs have to prepare for the upcoming twenty or so decent romance writer conferences we'll be attending this year. Many of you have told me that you cannot afford to splurge as you should in order to keep up with the latest fashions and demonstrate to the rabble how real romance writers keep their image perfect, so I've done a little research to find some temporary alternatives until your bank accounts are a little healthier.
My main idea comes from this web site for poor families I accidentally found while searching for a cheaper, I mean, easier recipe for pate foie gras to give to the cook, and I read this charming article about something they call the lipstick effect. Apparently the poor can feel really wonderful about their self image simply by purchasing a new lipstick. Of course, this is why they're poor, but I thought, why can't we PIGs do a little of that ourselves?
As vital as lash extensions and brow waxes are, I suppose those would be the first things I'd give up if I were as poor as these frugal people. Not that I am or I ever will be, of course. To distract from one's skimpy lashes and overgrown brows, I think we should invest in some cosmetic colored contact lenses, starting at only $29.95 a pair. Just be aware that those icky paranormal writers are buying the vampy black-rimmed red and black sclera lenses, so don't order those. Oh, and for those long nights at the Tiki Bar when you don't want to see exactly who is hitting on your hubby, you might try the lenses that make you temporarily blind.
No PIG needs to have bad hair at a conference, not even after one has to let go the live-in personal hair dresser. Did you know that you can buy some hair extensions that cost as little as $79.95? For goodness sake, Jessica Simpson wears them every day, why shouldn't we PIGs? And while I know how heart-breaking it is to give up the standing monthly touchup-and-trim appointment at Oscar Blandi Salon, there is a ray of hope: buying his root touch-up pen. Or if that's a bit pricey, consider what the poor writers do. Before I fired her my assistant raved about the lasting effects she got for her roots by using a Sharpie to fill them in ; evidently they really do have them in every color now.
I can't imagine not having the $2-7K one must pay for a decent a threadlift, but if that's beyond what you have in your wallet you can invest in 1.7 ounces of a face lift in a jar for a mere $145.00. Why, that's cheaper than caviar on sale!
Fashion is always a serious concern for PIGs. One simply cannot wear the same old Dior rag one wore to last year's Vampire Rodeo. My advice is to snatch up a lot of old sweater dresses from the thrift store (they're the shops in the parts of town where the day servants live; look for signs that read "Goodwill" and "Salvation Army.") Have your maid punch some holes in the knits and launder them in hot water and bleach three or four times and then tell her to sew the tags from your designer outfits into the collars. The results are beautifully couture-ragged and will make you look like you've just come back from spending a week in Paris with Kate Moss as your personal shopper.
You can also now rent stunning designer handbags, jewelry, sunglasses and even watches from only $25 a month. I would have never spent so much on my last Balenciaga evening clutch if I'd known I could lease it for a week or two. For you inspirational chicklit writers, whom we all know are perfect princesses at heart, accessorize the part with a crown or tiara starting at $29.95. No one but we PIGs will know that they're not genuine diamonds, and your secret is safe with us!
It's vital to show how busy and important we PIGs are at the con, but of course now that so many of us have sacrificed our secretaries, we must make do with temps. I recommend you hire a personal assistant to follow you around the con. Make sure she carries a steno pad with her so she can write down everything you say, a bottle of hand sanitizer in the event one of those grubby unwashed aspiring writers tries to touch you at the big booksigning, and some miniature Stoli's for those times when you need a little belt. If you have a few extra dollars in the kitty, you might hire a celebrity to hang out with you. I tried to get George Carlin myself -- you know how shocking he is, and if one is going to make a splash, one should have an attention-getter -- but the girl said he wasn't in any shape to attend (pout.)
I've heard too many of you PIGs complain about running out of decent perfume and being unable to afford a dozen new bottles. Ladies, there are ways you can smell appropriately expensive without even paying for it. Go to any department store with a high-end perfume counter, mention that you're going to appearing with Usher at his next booksigning, and ask for vial samples you can take to your agent to make sure they don't clash with his new fragrance, which apparently he takes a bath in. I swear you won't walk out of there with less than fifty of their freebie vials. In a pinch, tear the perfumed strips from your old copies of Vogue and Elle magazine and tuck one into your bra every morning before you go down to the con. You will smell like a real PIG for nothing!
I know we can get through this minor crisis, girls. All we must do is keep our heads and think like the PIGs we are.
Love and Air Kisses,