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Born in Arkansas to a family of modest means, Helen Gurley Brown worked at countless secretarial jobs and was an advertising executive before writing the 1962 international bestseller Sex and the Single Girl, marrying the love of her life, becoming the diva of the New York magazine world, and editing Cosmopolitan magazine for 32 years. In her farewell column in 1997, Brown offered her Cosmo readers three pieces of advice: every woman has something that makes her unique and gifted; men are not the enemy; and sex is among the best things in life. With these brief directives Brown summarized the philosophy that made her such an important and contested figure throughout the second half of the twentieth century. Imagine the life of a single woman in 1962. Women were encouraged to attend college primarily to obtain an Mrs. degree, newspaper ads listed jobs by sex, women could only obtain credit through their husbands, and unmarried women became suspect by the time they reached their mid-twenties. Along came a firebrand named Helen Gurley Brown, who had remained single into her late thirties and who had the audacity to encourage her unmarried sisters not to grab a husband, or to hide their single status, but to live, instead, in what she called superlative style.