If only Helen had made a habit of Kleenex, instead of – goodness, what HAS she been using to blow her nose? Those burlap handkerchiefs were clearly a big mistake. And now she has a Heavy Date. What can she do, besides coat her honker in layers of pancake makeup?
Luckily, she has – as do all 40s-ads cartoon gals – a “helpful” friend hanging around her boudoir.Who let her in, anyway? Did she climb through the window? At first I thought this was Helen’s mother, but her mother definitely would know what was wrong (see #3). Here’s a quick guide to being a 40s Ad Friend:
1. Point out the obvious: “Gracious, Helen, your nose is red…”
2. Don’t forget the unnecessary insult: “…as a stoplight!”
3. And then the – dare we say, nosy – follow-up: “What’s wrong?” Bonus points: sound as if you are hoping for a Juicy Story.
4. Look appalled and bored at the answer: “That’s what a cold does to me…raw red nose and dozens of hankies to wash.” Eww, thanks for sharing.
5. Insult your friend’s intelligence by acting as if she was a complete moron not to know about the Advertised Product: “Silly! Don’t you know Kleenex Tissues are soft and easy on your nose during colds?”
6. Bonus insult: “Kleenex ends washing, too!” So don’t put them through the wash, Helen, duh.
7. Wait for the desperate acceptance: “I’ll try anything! I’ll die if I’m not at my best for Prom!” Hand over giant sized box/tube/bottle of Advertised Product. (Odd note: Helen is already dressed up for the Prom, so the Kleenex won’t help unless she makes a fake nose out of it and wears that.)
8. Cue the Happy Ending (Friend either disappears or becomes disembodied head): Date is (ironically enough) attracted to the very feature/thing/body part that the Moron was all worried about. Wow, he is so attracted to her “cute pug nose.” And then she jokes that she “won by a nose.” These two are made for each other: witty, Kleenex-loving, and obsessed with noses.
9. The Dénouement: Friend or Strange Lady We Never Saw Before tells us one last thing about the product. Like, for example: you can have Kleenex in your car! In a special Auto-Serv dispenser. Helen’s date probably has several of these in his little roadster. He’d better.
[From Life, February 19, 1940; big version here.]