Dear E. Jean: My best friend constantly talks about how pretty she is. I’m not kidding. We can spend two hours together and the first hour is spent discussing how pretty she looks tonight, and the second hour is devoted to how pretty she looked last night and oh by the way, did you see how pretty she looks in this photo?
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When we go out together, she is consumed with comparing herself with other women and declaring herself the prettiest. The truth is, she’s loyal, caring, brainy, funny, ambitious, and all the good things a friend should be, and she’s quite pretty. But she’s not the thinnest girl in the world, her hair is often ridiculous, and sometimes her skirt is just too short. I’m bored to death by the pretty talk. How can I change the conversation forever? —So Over the Pretty Talk
So Over, My Saint: It’s men who are supposed to go through hell to sit next to a pretty face. Not women. Tell her to put a sock in it. Really. And do it quickly or the girl won’t have a friend left. The next time she starts in, clap your hand to your forehead and whisper: “My God! I agree! You used to be a knockout!” “What do you mean ‘used to be’?” she’ll say, stunned. Which is when you smile and reply: “I don’t wish to hurt your feelings, and please forgive my bluntness, but I must tell you, my dear, you grow plainer and plainer by talking about how pretty you are.”
This letter is from the E. Jean archive.