Monday, September 10, 2012

Kiss Hollywood Good-By

1974, 1975 Ballantine edition
Anita Loos
Kiss Hollywood Good-By [sic]
Original price unknown, purchase price $2.00
Worn paperback
Winsome, Loos some?
The old-fashioned spelling of "goodbye" plays off of the cover.  Is the blonde hitchhiking (symbols of wealth like a fur and champagne at her feet), or is she gesturing "getoutahere"?  And why an impossibly long-legged blonde nude when Loos was short, brunette, and probably only had one sex partner in her life, her insufferable but adored husband Mr. E?  In fact, one of the points of this book is that sex is over-rated and "romance" is better without it. 

It's been a long half century since Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.  (Yes, this means that Loos spans 49 years on this blog, tying with Colette, whose Gigi she adapted for the screen.)  And Loos has actually become less of a feminist in her old age.  "To paraphrase Lorelei Lee, 'A kiss on the hand makes a girl feel respected, but a smack in the face denotes ardor.'"  That's not a paraphrase, that's a debasement.  Even Dorothy's humilation in But Gentleman Marry Brunettes can't compare to how John Emerson ripped off "his Buggie" of screen credits and money.  And Loos wants us to think it was OK because she loved him.  Sorry, no.  Nita Baby, if you like being abused, that doesn't mean you have to think someone's a wet-blanket feminist if she doesn't want to read about it.

I did enjoy the stories of Hollywood, Broadway, and Palm Beach.  Loos knew just about everyone, and she tells you what she thought of them.  Of course, she lies about her age, as was apparently habitual with her.  When she met Emerson in 1914, she supposedly was wearing a sailor suit, her hair in a braid, although the picture of her birthday in 1973, celebrating with Helen Hayes and Dolores del Rio, says in the caption she was turning 80, which would make her 21 in 1914.  In fact, she was born in 1888, so that would've been a very childish outfit for a 26-year-old.  She lived on till 1981, apparently clever and inconsistent, charming and infuriating, till the end.


  1. I don't think she is hitchhiking. No road. (^:=

  2. Good point. Then I'm not sure how she's kissing Hollywood good-by.