Dear readers, Jane is going to attempt something... different. Something... unusual. Something we know a few others online are toying with, and having some success at. Jane is going to add fiction to our blog--only on Sundays, mind you. Each Sunday we will bring you either a complete short story, or part of a short story...with the continuation of said story on the following Sunday, and every Sunday thereafter, until the story is finished.
This is as much for Jane's benefit, as it is for your entertainment. Jane needs to work on her fiction writing skills. What, you may ask, does this have to do with marketing to women online? Has Jane not been loud enough about the value of telling stories? Women love stories!
While our stories will always be complete fiction (just like the one's on Law and Order), they will give you some insight into what women think, and do, and want...in a perfect world. The kind of world where they visit your website and buy stuff. Marketing to women online...in six easy lessons--or more.
Let's start today with the beginning of a story called,
How to Fool Your Way into the Upper Echelon
in Six Easy Steps
“Elsa, your soup is getting cold.”
It was only because she didn’t fancy living like a monk in a small room with only a pillow for company that Marilyn didn’t reach over the bouillabaisse and strangle her best friend, Elsa Corstairs. Having a roommate was integral to paying the rent, of course. But she really did want to wring that skinny little neck until those big green eyes popped right out of their pretty little sockets.
Elsa, who used to be plain old Betty Jo Hufflyly back in MinnowLake, PA, was becoming a celebrity here in Philadelphia, signing autographs everywhere she went, and it was more than a best friend could endure. Especially, Marilyn fumed, since Elsa hadn’t done anything remotely celebrity-like!
“What?” Elsa lifted her gorgeous sea-green eyes (thank-you Bausch and Lomb), from her soup to Marilyn’s face and blinked. Behind her, a short, round woman with clown red cheeks and a china doll face was wobbling back to her table, oohing and ahhing over her autographed napkin like a nine year old in the presence of Jessica Simpson.
“Ellie,” the woman called across the room to her friend, “Just look—she wrote: 'Best of Life to You!' And signed her name. Isn’t that precious? Look—her handwriting is just like royalty.”
Marilyn dropped her soupspoon on the tablecloth. “You have never been to Tibet,” she gritted at Elsa.
“She doesn’t know that,” Elsa shrugged, dipping her soupspoon into the bouillabaisse and bringing it to her lips with a dainty slurp.
“And you have never written a bestseller,” Marilyn glared at her.
“She thinks I have,” Elsa tucked a perfect blonde curl (thank you Clairol) back into place behind her left ear, letting her fingers play with the sparkling cubic zirconium earring dangling on it.
This is Gregory’s fault, Marilyn decided, sending their waiter fiery glances. He was mesmerized by Elsa’s perm and smooth complexion (thank you Marcel’s on East St). A gentle flutter of those long eyelashes, a wink, a breathy whisper in his ear, and off he went, merrily spreading the news that the entrancing young woman at the table by the French doors was a best selling author, just home from Tibet, where she had spent the last 5 months researching the Dali Lama for her new book. Even now a group of five old women with blue hair and bifocals was peering around Gregory to stare at Elsa and Marilyn.
Elsa dabbed the corners of her mouth with her napkin, sent a nod and a smile to the geriatric crowd across the room, looked over the table at Marilyn with a bland stare and said, “I am not like other people.”
“You’re an assistant librarian, for Heaven’s Sake,” Marilyn reminded her. “You have never ridden an elephant in the Far East, you do not know Nicole Kidman, and IF you ever write a best seller it will be titled, ‘How to Fool Your Way into the Upper-Echelon in Six Easy Steps’, not, ‘Broken Heart, Broken Dreams, the True Story of a Woman Possessed by Love.’”
Elsa’s face went blank. Her eyes glazed over in a Betty Boop stare Marilyn had never seen before. Ut-oh, I’ve gone too far, Marilyn thought.
“I think you have something,” Elsa said. “Something really sensible. ‘How to Fool Your Way into the Upper Echelon in Six Easy Steps.’ I think I could do it.”
Marilyn knew she’d be sorry she asked, but she couldn’t help herself. “Do... what, Elsa?”
“Write the book, of course.”
“Write the… Elsa, you have trouble spelling U-turn, how are you going to write a book? Writing also involves reading; have you read anything this year, other than the directions on your nail polish bottle?”
“Well,” Elsa smiled and tilted her head, “you’ll help me,” she said.
And that was that.
I was a fool, Marilyn thought later that night. Sure, at 22 you do do foolish things, like agreeing to accompany your best friend to newer, greener pastures more than 250 miles from your hometown; and like applying for a job at a publishing firm called Smith, Smith and Smythe, and not even getting excited about being accepted as a Jr. Editor, letting Betty Jo do the screaming, screeching, and dancing all over the place.
Philadelphia was Betty Jo’s answer to a dream. Marilyn had to admit that MinnowLake, PA wasn’t anyplace to land a husband, unless you liked men whose idea of fun was spinning their dates around on a barstool at Clancy’s Horseshoe Tavern, then watching them prance crookedly to the ladies room to throw up. Every time Marilyn remembered Judd Spears and Calvin Tooley, who hung around Clancy’s every Friday night offering warm beer to any female willing to test drive their rusted out Ford truck, she gave a shudder and thanked her lucky stars she was out of MinnowLake for good.
It was a year ago September that she and crazy Betty Jo ran off to find love and happiness here in Philadelphia. Love and happiness in the guise of sweeter scented earlobes and clean mustaches. Betty Jo had promised everyone that she and Marilyn would return with rings on their fingers and bells on their toes, ho! ho!
Truth was, Marilyn wasn’t looking for razzle, dazzle. She wanted warmth, laughter, and someone who would have dinner on the table-- with a smile, thank you-- when it was his turn to cook. Was that so much to ask?
Now, a full year later, she was lunching with Elsa—aka Betty Jo—at various upscale restaurants in and around Philadelphia, overworked, under appreciated, and still manless. While Elsa supported the local economy with weekly purchases at Allmart, maintaining her liquid green eyes, her smooth complexion, her blonde tresses, and her full lips-- which attracted a truckload of attention wherever she went-- Marilyn spent her nights munching chocolate, pouring over bad manuscripts. ("What kind of idiot," she was fond of asking Elsa, "writes things like, 'The forces of evil are among us, Professor,' in a sci-fi novel, anyway? It can't be just the manuscripts I get to review...can it?" So far, Elsa hadn't answered. Marilyn was fairly certain it was because Elsa didn't understand the question.)
“Let’s face it,” she said to her tired reflection in the vanity mirror night after night, “you will never be Elsa. You will never live a lie, telling people you are something you aren’t. You will always be five foot four— with plain old brown eyes, a pointed chin, and black curly hair that never does what you want it to.”
This night was no different. Anti-climax after their fun-filled luncheon. Marilyn sighed, wiped mascara from underneath her eyes and gave her reflection a serious nod.
“Ok, so you will always be an average girl, with average looks, but…you will NOT always be a Jr. Editor at Smith, Smith and Smythe. Someday you will be a Sr. Editor and you will be responsible for picking all the major best sellers. None of which will be by Elsa Corstairs! Elsa, on the other hand," she gave her hair a flip with her fingers, " will always be an assistant librarian.”
With that, she laughed, threw the pink washcloth on the tub, and stormed off to bed. As she turned out the light, a nagging thought slithered into her head. What if--just what if--Elsa did meet and marry JB Gotrocks III? No, she shook her black curls against her wrinkled pillowcase and closed her eyes tight. It couldn't happen, not in a library?
Not really...could it?
Stay tuned for Part II of: How to Fool Your Way into the Upper Echelon in Six Easy Steps...next week!