I wish I could see the original document entitled “A Guide for All American Girls.” But the version posted here was republished from an original manual in the National Baseball Hall of Fame Library. This guide included the rules for Charm School which, like A League of Their Own accurately portrayed, was mandatory during spring training for the first three seasons that the AAGBL existed. As I read through the Charm School Guide, I realized that I really am like All-The-Way Mae, in that I would be infuriated if anyone actually expected me to take such “rules” seriously. (Also? We are both kind of drunk sluts, but who isn’t?). The Guide is broken up into three parts: Beauty Routines, Clothes, and Etiquette. As these are clearly vital attributes of a professional athlete, I am sure that Bud Selig distributes something similar today. The Guide even came with a sassy and persuasive introduction, giving the “heroines of youngsters as well as grownups all over the world” just a few “simple and brief suggestions” which guaranteed to “prove useful to you during the busy baseball season.” After reading The Charm School Guide, I cannot overstate the absurdity of that sentence. Posted in full below, my comments are in italics.
The Charm SchooL GuideWhen you become a player in the All-American Girls Baseball League you have reached the highest position that a girl can attain in this sport. The All-American Girls Baseball League is getting great public attention because it is pioneering a new sport for women. You have certain responsibilities because you too, are in the limelight. Your actions and appearance both on and off the field reflect on the whole profession. It is not only your duty to do your best to hold up the standard of this profession but to do your level best to keep others in line.
Seriously, maybe Terry Francona should have given The Charm School guide to the Red Sox. I don’t know what my “level best” is, but I am certain that the Boston players did not employ it to keep their teammates “in line.” The only line that the team shared was the one for Popeye’s.
The girls in our League are rapidly becoming the heroines of youngsters as well as grownups all over the world. People want to be able to respect their heroines at all times. The All-American Girls Baseball League is attempting to establish a high standard that will make you proud that you are a player in years to come. We hand you this manual to help guide you in your personal appearance. We ask you to follow the rules of behavior for your own good as well as that of the future success of girls' baseball.
In these few pages you will find many of the simple and brief suggestions which should prove useful to you during the busy baseball season. If you plan your days to establish an easy and simple routine, so that your meals are regular and well balanced, so that you have time for outside play and relaxation, so that you sleep at least eight hours each night, and so that your normal functions are regular, you will be on the alert, do your job well, and gain the greatest joy from living. Always remember that your mind and your body are interrelated, and you cannot neglect one without causing the other to suffer. A healthy mind and a healthy body are the true attributes of the All-American girl.
By “simple and brief suggestions,” they actually mean “4,000 words on the subject with infuriatingly superfluous and condescending detail.” And how any of these words could possibly “prove useful during the busy baseball season” is beyond me. Women have always struggled with the notion that they “can’t have it all,” juggling a career and a family, yet these assholes expect us to play baseball, sleep “at least” eight hours each night, and make time for “outside play?” And they want us to do this, not so I hit better or field more sharply, but simply so I don’t get constipated or sleepy? What the fuck? On the other hand, a healthy paycheck and a juiced up body are the true attributes of today’s All-American boy.
1. BEAUTY ROUTINES
Your ALL-AMERICAN GIRLS BASEBALL LEAGUE BEAUTY KIT Should always contain the following:
- Cleansing Cream
- Rouge Medium
- Cream Deodorant
- Mild Astringent
- Face powder for Brunette
- Hand Lotion
- Hair Remover
You should be the best judge of your own beauty requirements. Keep your own kit replenished with the things you need for your own toilette and your beauty culture and care. Remember the skin, the hair, the teeth and the eyes. It is most desirable in your own interests, that of your teammates and fellow players, as well as from the standpoint of the public relations of the league, that each girl be at all times presentable and attractive, whether on the playing field or at leisure. Study your own beauty culture possibilities and without overdoing your beauty treatment at the risk of attaining gaudiness, practice the little measure that will reflect well on your appearance and personality as a real All-American girl.
Sigh. Each and every morning, I fight the urge to overdo my “beauty treatment at the risk of attaining gaudiness.” I mean, can you really use too much rouge medium? I also like the early inklings of a young Sarah Palin, differentiating between “real” All-American girls and, well, apparently fake ones. On a serious note, I find it so interesting how the League was CLEARLY terrified about how the public would perceive its players (poor Marla Hooch). This reads like the employee manual for Hooters mixed with instructions from your Pageant Camp counselor. And this would be about the point when I would take the handy lighter from my AAGBL Beauty Kit and light this bitch on fire.
Always apply lipstick properly before you take the field.SUGGESTED BEAUTY ROUTINE
"After the Game"
Remember, the All-American girl is subjected to greater exposure through her activities on the diamond, through exertion in greater body warmth and perspiration, through exposure to dirt, grime and dust and through vigorous play to scratches, cuts, abrasions and sprains. This means extra precaution to assure all the niceties of toilette and personality. Especially "after the game," the All American girl should take time to observe the necessary beauty ritual, to protect both her health and appearance. Here are a few simple rules that should prove helpful and healthful "after the game."
- Shower well and soap the skin.
- Dry thoroughly to avoid chapping or chafing.
- Apply cleansing cream to face and remove with tissue.
- Wash face with soap and water.
- Apply skin astringent.
- Apply rouge moderately but carefully.
- Apply lipstick with moderate taste.
- Apply eye makeup if considered desirable.
- Apply powder.
- Check all cuts, abrasions or minor injuries.
If you suffer any skin abrasion or injury, or if you discern any aches or pains that do not appear to be normal, report them at once to your coach or chaperon or the person responsible for treatment and first aid. Don't laugh off slight ailments as trivialities because they can often develop into serious infection or troublesome conditions that can handicap your play and cause personal inconvenience. See that your injuries, however slight, receive immediate attention. Guard your health and welfare.
"Morning and Night"
In the morning, when you have more time to attend to your beauty needs, you will undoubtedly be enabled to perform a more thorough job. Use your cleansing cream around your neck as well as over the face. Remove it completely and apply a second time to be sure that you remove all dust, grease and grime. Wipe off thoroughly with cleansing tissue. Apply a lotion to keep your hands as lovely as possible. Use your manicure set to preserve your nails in a presentable condition and in keeping with the practical needs of your hands in playing ball.
Again, what is with the weird quotes that sound like a porn flick? And I draw the line at one fucking cleansing cream treatment on my neck. I will be damned if I am doing it for a second time. That said, I appreciate that they felt we needed to be reminded to “wipe off thoroughly.” Blondes, who do not have to use face powder, may have more fun, but we brunettes normally remember to wipe.
Not a great deal need be said about the teeth, because every All American girl instinctively recognizes their importance to her health, her appearance and her personality. There are many good tooth cleansing preparations on the market and they should be used regularly to keep the teeth and gums clean and healthy. A regular visit to a reliable dentist is recommended and certainly no tooth ailment should be neglected for a moment.
Unwanted or superficial hair is often quite common and it is no problem to cope with in these days when so many beauty preparations are available. If you have such hair on arms or legs, there are a number of methods by which it can be easily removed. There is an odorless liquid cream which can be applied in a few moments, permitted to dry and then showered off.
I…I don’t even know what to say. This whole paragraph is priceless. I can imagine this being read in a sympathetic voice, with a scrunched forehead, while frowning slighting and nodding regretfully. Don’t worry, you hairy beast, there is still hope for you yet.
There are a number of very fine deodorants on the market which can be used freely all over the body. The most important feature of some of these products is the fact that the fragrance stays perspiration proof all day long. These deodorants can be used especially where excess perspiration occurs and can be used safely and effectively without retarding natural perspiration. The All-American girl is naturally susceptible because of her vigorous activities and it certainly pays dividends to be on the safe side. Deodorant keeps you fresh and gives you assurance and confidence in your social contacts.
Wait, they want me to rub deodorant all over my body? Like…everywhere? But how can I be sure that it will not retard natural perspiration? This does not seem safe at all. Nevertheless, as long as it will give me confidence in my “social contracts,” that’s all that really matters, right? I didn’t realize that they had Facebook friends back then.
"The Eyes are the Windows of the Soul"
The eyes indicate your physical fitness and therefore need your thoughtful attention and care. They bespeak your inner most thoughts. They reflect your own joy of living, or they can sometimes falsely bespeak the listlessness of mind and body. Perhaps no other feature of your face has more to do with the impression of beauty, sparkle and personality which you portray.
A simple little exercise for the eyes and one which does not take much time can do much to strengthen your eyes and add to their sparkle and allure. Turn your eyes to the corner of the room for a short space of time, then change to the other corner, then gaze at the ceiling and at the floor alternately. Rotating or rolling your eyes constitutes an exercise and your eyes will repay you for the attention that you give to them. There are also vitamins prescribed for the care of the eyes. Drink plenty of water and eat plenty of vegetables. We all know well that the armed forces found carrots a definite dietary aid to eyesight. Use a good eyewash frequently and for complete relaxation at opportune moments, lie down and apply an eye pad to your eyes for several minutes.
This section could not possibly be any creepier. From the weird quote to the even weirder eye exercise, I feel like whoever wrote The Guide may have been coked up during this section. Also? I bet that Josh Beckett would like to think that the eyes “indicate physical fitness.” And not the, you know, 20 pounds of fatass that he gained during the season.
"Woman's Crowning Glory"
One of the most noticeable attributes of a girl is her hair, woman's crowning glory. No matter the features, the clothes, the inner charm or personality, they can all suffer beneath a sloppy or stringy coiffure. Neither is it necessary to feature a fancy or extravagant hairdo, because a daily program for the hair will help to keep it in healthful and attractive condition. Neatness is the first and greatest requirement. Arrange your hair neatly in a manner that will best retain its natural style despite vigorous play. Off the diamond, you can readily arrange it in a softer and more feminine style, if you wish. But above all. keep your hair as neat as possible, on or off the field.
Brushing the hair will help a great deal more than is realized. It helps to stimulate the scalp which is the source of healthful hair growth. It develops the natural beauty and luster of the hair. And it will not spoil the hairdo. When brushing, bend over and let your head hang down. Then brush your hair downward until the scalp tingles. Just a few minutes of this treatment each day will tend to keep your scalp in fine condition and enhance the beauty of your "crowning glory."
Listen, I look down on any girl that wears her hair down while playing sports (be prissier, please), so I find this section abhorrently ridiculous. Have no fear, while I am sprinting for that tailing line drive in left-center, I will make sure that my crowning glory retains its natural style, assclowns. Seriously though, I am pretty sure that if you asked anyone, male or female, they would not say that hair is “woman’s crowning glory.” I can think of at least three better body parts. I am also pretty sure that if I brush my hair until my scalp tingles, it will most likely be bleeding.
Every woman wants to have an attractive and pleasing mouth. As you speak, people watch your mouth and you can do much, with a few of the very simplest tools, to make your mouth invitingly bespeak your personality. Your beauty aids should, of course, include an appropriate type of lipstick and a brush. They should be selected with consideration and care. With your lipstick, apply two curves to your upper lip. Press your lips together. Then, run your brush over the lipstick and apply it to your lips, outlining them smoothly. This is the artistic part of the treatment in creating a lovely mouth.
Patient practice and care make perfect. Open your mouth and outline your own natural curves. If your lips are too thin to please you, shape them into fuller curves. Now, use a tissue between your lips and press lightly to take off excess lipstick. If you wish to have a "firmer foundation," use the lipstick a second time and use the tissue "press" again.
Caution: Now that you have completed the job, be sure that the lipstick has not smeared your teeth. Your mirror will tell the tale, and it is those little final touches that really count.
This is weirdly sexual and overly instructive. I always knew that when guys told me I have a great mouth, they were talking about my lipstick. But never ever forget, ladies: the mirror will tell the tale.
The hands are certainly among the most expressive accouterments of the body. They are always prominent and noticeable and while feminine hands can be lovely and lily white, as described in the ads, the All American girl has to exercise practical good sense in preserving the hands that serve her so faithfully and well in her activities. Cleanliness and neatness again come to the fore. Your hands should be thoroughly cleaned and washed as frequently as seems desirable or necessary, and especially after games, they should be cleaned to remove all dust and grime. Soap and water and pumice will do this job to perfection. Then a protective cream should be applied to keep hands soft and pliable and to avoid cracking and over-dryness. Your nails should be gone over lightly each day, filing to prevent cracks and splits, oiling for the cuticle. The length of your nails, of course, depends largely upon the requirements of your play. Keep them neat and clean and your hands will always be attractive.
"All Beauty Comes From Within"
To the All-American girl, who is exposed to the elements, to the sun, to the wind and to the dust, it is most essential that every precaution be taken for the care of the skin. It should be covered with a protective substance of cream or liquid, depending entirely upon whether your skin is dry or oily. If it is dry, the cream type is recommended and if it is oily, you should use the liquid type. A good cleansing cream can serve as a cleanser, a powder base, a night cream and also a hand lotion. It is a good idea to have such an all-around utility cream on hand at all times and to use it regularly for these purposes.
FOR YOUR COLORING - again it depends on your particular complexion and whether you have an abundance of natural color tones or need very little coloring. You can determine this in keeping with good taste to acquire the necessary results. People who are naturally pale, of course, need the coloring to help their complexion.
My favorite part about this section is that the quote makes absolutely no sense, considering we are supposedly talking about the face, the most visible part of the body. I also sort of love how albinos, “of course,” need coloring “to help” with their ghastly and appalling complexions.
Clothes, of course, have always been one of woman's great problems and it might seem so to the All-American girl. However, with the exercising of good taste, the All-American Girls Baseball League player can solve her problem in a tasteful manner and without great expense, without being encumbered with too great a wardrobe for the summer months. The accent, of course, is on neatness and feminine appeal. That is true of appearances on the playing field, on the street or in leisure moments. The uniforms adopted by the league have been designed for style and appeal. From the standpoint of team morale, there is a real "lift" noticeable in the smartly turned out and neatly arrayed aggregation. And from the public appeal standpoint, it is surprising how the crowd will respond to the team that appears on the field with a neatness and "snap" in its appearance. The smart looking teams invariably play smart ball and you can add to your own drawing power and crowd appeal by looking the part of a ball player on the field. Keep your uniform as clean and neat as possible. Always secure your stockings so that they are smooth and neat and remain in place. Keep your shoes clean and shining. And see if you don't feel better and play better ball.
- A dark suit made of material that is not easily crushed. (A dark suit is suggested in preference to a light suit because it will retain its neatness better in traveling and also in inclement weather.)
- Blouses that are easily laundered will add sparkle and versatility to your suit.
- Skirts, blouses and sweaters are worn a great deal and will simplify your baggage problem on road trips.
- Sports jackets and sports coats are very popular and are worn with skirts a great deal in leisure moments at home or on road trips.
- It is recommended that your wardrobe include a dress or two for civic luncheons and other social functions in which you may participate during the summer.
- Slacks are not permitted for street wear but depending upon your other recreation and sports activities, you might want to include shorts or sportswear for tennis, golfing togs, swim suit or such other items as you feel you may need.
- Shoes are for the most part casual. For street wear and travel the various types of sport shoes are popular flat walking shoes, saddle oxfords, etc. It is suggested that at least one pair of dress shoes be included for wear with frocks at more dressy affairs or social functions and luncheons.
- Hats are seldom worn but if you wish to adorn your tresses, you will find that the small type of sports hat is often popular in the form of a cap or small brimmed slouch hat.
- Bobby socks are generally acceptable but of course, you will want two or three pairs of regular stockings for dress wear.
- A raincoat is a desirable item of the wardrobe and it might be desirable to have a lightweight, compact type to simplify your baggage problem on road trips.
- Always carry your beauty kit with you when you go on road trips and equip yourself with all necessary articles for your toilette.
Emily Post says that "charm cannot exist without good manners." You do not have to have manners that follow particular rules but the continued practice of kind and friendly impulses, a kind, proper and courteous approach, cannot help but add to your personality and give you a big advantage in dealing with your every day contacts. Here are some simple suggestions that will help you in your development of a pleasing personality on and off the playing field.
Emily Post also says that “baseball cannot exist without charm” and “a lady never reveals the color of her pantaloons.”
INTRODUCTIONS. Always acknowledge and always make an introduction in a pleasant and correct way. A man is always presented to a lady, such as: "Miss Young, may I present Mr. Smith," or "Miss Young, may I introduce Mr. Smith." The words "present" and "introduce" are equally proper. You can also present two people without the formal words of presentation merely by pronouncing the two names, such as: "Miss Young, I want to make you acquainted with Mr. Smith." Under all possible circumstances the reply to an introduction is "How do you do?" Well bred people do not say: "Pleased to meet you" but when it is actually true, you can say: "I am VERY glad to meet you." When a gentleman is introduced to a lady, she smiles, bows lightly and says: "How do you do." It is her place to offer her hand or not, as she chooses, but if he puts out his hand, she of course gives him hers.
This actually made me laugh, it is so fucking absurd. I had to read it, like, six times. Let me decipher it for you: “If you do not say “how do you do?” then you are an inbred, classless slutbag. But if you are not just lying through your teeth to be polite, then by all means, go wild and crazy and throw out an “I am VERY glad to meet you.” Make sure to stress the “very” in an awkwardly loud, breathy manner. If you listened to all of our rules – if your scalp is currently tingling, your natural perspiration is not retarding, you applied your cleansing cream twice, you pressed tissue between your lips and applied your rouge medium – then perhaps you will be lucky enough to find a man in your presence. Sweet Jesus, if this happens, you smile like a grateful fool, get down on your hands and knees, and cry out “How do you do.” ONLY HOW DO YOU DO, UNDER ALL POSSIBLE CIRCUMSTANCES. Some of you may be prudes, and we get that; but if you dare go to second base and extend your hand, it had goddamn better be lotioned properly. And you better fucking reciprocate if he tries to do anything to you. Whether you like it or not. Just be grateful he wants to touch you. You can thank The Guide for that.”
SPEECH. "You know she is a lady as soon as she opens her mouth." The first requirement for charm of speech is a pleasing voice. A low voice, instead of a highpitched voice, is always most pleasing. Making yourself heard is also most desirable. Speak out clearly and enunciate properly. Be careful with the use of slang and the slurring of words in your contacts and conversations with the public.
Do not use a loud voice, do not stare at people, do not knock into people, do not argue in public, do not masturbate in taxis, do not expose your elbows, do not wear leather, do not tattoo your tits, do not roller skate, do not use sentences longer than six words, do not become a hairy wildebeest, do not become a lesbian, do not fuck any sailors, and do not light your crowning glory on fire.
THE BASEBALL FAN. There is an old saying that "the customer is always right." This, in a sense, holds true of the baseball fan, who exercises the right to talk to your without knowing you, to shout at you from the stands and to voice his opinion, good or bad, of the play on the field. After all, he is your customer and he feels that you, as a player, and the team, belong to him. For the most part, the fans encountered in the All-American Girls Baseball League are understanding and considerate. They are loyal to their home team and its players and it is not often that a player is subjected to even good natured verbal abuse for any shortcomings or failures. In other cities but your hometown, you may expect the crowd to be good naturedly hostile to your cause. It is naturally pulling for the home town to win. Don't let this attitude bother your play. Ball players who hear all the pointed shouts and remarks in the stands are said to have "rabbit ears". Above all, don't let the remarks of any fans arouse your own ire to the point where you make a scene or display poor sportsmanship. Fans who become seriously objectionable in language or actions are automatically taken care of by the management and the fans at All-American girls League games are the highest caliber attending any sport in America.
WTF? I, as a player, do not belong to anyone, particularly a strange man who is shouting dirty things to me from the stands. The fact that such a notion is even implied is disgustingly patriarchal. Just like the fact that “the baseball fan” is defined solely as a “he” by The Guide.
Yeah, how many of these women do you think were “well known by sight?” And how many Major League bullpens would be “well known by sight?” It is nice to know, however, that people of all ages will be stalking me and I should not be alarmed when strangers or potential ax murderers approach me. At least the League will have greater ticket sales.
PUBLIC RELATIONS. Publicity is important to you as a ball player and highly important to your team and the All-American Girls Baseball League. In the interests of publicizing you as an individual or your team and league in general, you might be expected to cooperate with the publicity managers in various cities or with the newspaper and magazine writers. Don't look upon this as too much of a chore because it usually brings pleasing results. If the newsmen and photographers want special pictures or interviews and articles, do what you can to help them because in doing so you will help yourself and the future of girls baseball. Give all the information you can that you think will be helpful to them and try to give the time that is necessary and desirable in order that they, in turn, may present the facts and information in an intelligent manner.
Do “special pictures” include naked ones? They should really be more specific here. It is so…different, for lack of a better word, to see a league instruct its players to be as open and forthcoming as possible. Basically begging for press, no matter what you have to say. Want to tell them how you got the clap from a ball boy? Go for it.
And there we have it. The Charm School Guide. It is miraculous that Major League Baseball has survived without one for this long. Because, really? What kind of ballplayer doesn't know how to properly apply lipstick or remove unwanted body hair? I know this is really long, and I debated whether I should post The Guide in full, but I think it is so fascinating. It is one thing to see a short scene from A League of Their Own ("Eyebrows...there should be two") or to remember All-The-Way Mae threatening to quit when they tell her that smoking and men are not permitted, but it is entirely different to read the real-life manual that was distributed to players and not be a confused mix of disgusted, intrigued, and impressed. Impressed that a professional sports league for women could be so ridiculously sexist, but impressed nonetheless. It makes me wonder what the public would think of the WNBA, if it originally costumed its players in tiny shorts and snug tops and insisted that all women be sexed up before tip-off. I am not suggesting it, of course. But the AAGBL was overly concerned with their players appearing too masculine, and in some ways, the WNBA has become the definition of what the AAGBL feared. Like I said, I am planning a series of posts, so we will explore all of this further; I just had to share this gem of a document. Until then, I have to go deal with my crowning glory before Court. I hope you all have great weekends and please check back on Monday!