Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Those Maybelline Mascara Eyes: Flirting 1940's Style

Maybelline collosal lash mascara - courtney murray rhodes
    Tom Lyle and Evelyln, 1967                        

Mascara Queen - Evelyn Boucher

Tom Lyle was the engine that built the Maybelline mascara cosmetics company, but Evelyn Boucher was the eyes and ears that helped him to know what women wanted. It was Evelyn, as Sharrie attests, who observed women in public. She would do the marketing research and then talk to Tom Lyle.

"Nana had very good insights," says Sharrie. "She and Tom Lyle would have dinner together and she let him know - this is what women are looking for. This is what they want." Maybelline mascara is what women wanted. Tired of looking like a plain Jane, women began roaring with the roaring 1920's and there was no turning back

Beautiful Eyes Can Be a Woman's Most Captivating Asset

It was Tom Lyle who said, " A woman's most powerful possession is a man's imagination." It was "Miss Maybeline," who took this quote and ran with it. "Nana was a presence," remembers Sharrie. "She was controlling, but she was also a very good listener. As a teenager, if I was having boyfriend problems, she would say to me, 'Let's relax, darling, and discuss it. You girls today show everything. In my generation, we had more sexuality and romance in our little finger than you girls have flaunting it today."

Miss Maybelline's Tips on Flirting

Batting those beautiful Maybelline mascara eyes and being a good listener is what Evelyn Boucher ingrained in Sharrie as a way to get a man."  A man really enjoys being listened to and that's what my grandmother taught me," Sharrie explains. "She would say to me: 'Darling, what you need to do is stir a good martini, be a lovely hostess and read up on the news. Then, when your man comes home at night, you look lovely, you make him a drink, and you discuss the politics of the day."

"Nana would tell me: 'You give him the topic, start him talking, and you just look beautiful and flirt while he's doing all the talking. He will think you are the most brilliant, lovely person.'"

Mascara, A Sense of Humor and Nana

One of Sharrie's most favorite memories of her grandmother is Christmas 1967. This memory is in her book, The Maybelline Story. Sharrie's eyes grow soft as she remembers this special holiday: "The Williams family had gathered around the piano. For one brief evening we were just this little family from Kentucky. Nana loved to play songs like, "Bally High," and "Some Enchanted Evening." My uncle Ile (Tom Lyle) loved to play the piano, too. They decided they were going to have a big "piano off," contest to see who could play the best. "

Sharrie recalls her great uncle, Maybelline mascara king, Tom Lyle, approaches the piano, makes big sweeping posturing movements. He then sits down and proceeds to play, "Turkey In The Straw," amid howls of laughter. "Nana is dressed in a beautiful designer gown, sitting in a rocking chair. Well, she laughed so hard she fell out of the chair. She then gets up and dramatically plays, "Some Enchanted Evening," missing chords on purpose. We all laughed so hard. Nana won, of course."

A Beautiful Heart As Seen Through Beautiful Eyes

Miss Maybelline, Evelyn Boucher, was a woman of elegance. According to Sharrie, she never left her house without her makeup on, especially her mascara. If you came to visit her and she wasn't ready yet, she would make you wait. Even though she could be extremely aggravating, as Sharrie recalls, she had a great sense of humor that could get you through the worst of any problem.
"Nana would always say to me, 'Let a smile be your umbrella.' She would always rise to any occasion. It was the cardinal rule in our family. She was our beam of hope, as she would tell me, 'Darling, sing the old songs, like "Pennies From Heaven." Those are the ones people want to hear."

Tom Lyle Williams was the Maybelline mascara king. He was indeed the king of the hill at one time in the budding cosmetics industry. Within this incredible family dynasty there was a queen, Evelyn Boucher, "Miss Maybelline," who knew the way to a man's heart was by flirting with those sexy Maybelline mascara eyes.

Copyright Anne Mount. Contact the author to obtain

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