Friday, April 15, 2011

Ugly Duckling Week - "Plain Jane Fell in Love"

Today's Ugly Duckling story, "Plain Jane Fell in Love" from Heart Throbs #135 (November 1971) involves another glasses-wearing lady -- as depicted by Mike Sekowsky. Fantastic splash page, no?!

Bespectacled Bonnie is hired for her efficiency and neatness to be the "Gal Friday" of fashion consultant Coral Babbitt -- a job which involves frequent and high dosages of glamor. Constantly surrounded by women getting makeovers takes its toll on Bonnie, and soon she finds herself wondering if she could also use a change.

In her dreams, Bonnie is beautiful with a full social calendar and suitors aplenty. In reality, it is fashionable and fabulous Miss Babbitt who gets the guys.

One day, a young man named Jim McHugh comes into the office looking for Miss Babbitt. After his initial visit, Jim continues to drop by -- but not for Coral. Bonnie clearly becomes the object of Jim's infatuation. Bonnie starts crushing on Jim as well, but she is convinced that he only comes by because he is in love with Coral.

Bonnie decides that resigning from her position as Miss Babbitt's employee would be the best thing to do for the sake of her sanity. Just as Bonnie is about to go to Coral's office with her resignation letter, Jim walks in. He tears the glasses off of Bonnie's face, unpins her hair and kisses her. Surprised, Bonnie looks in the mirror -- liking the reflection staring back at her. Suddenly, a bitter Miss Babbitt walks in. Jim lashes out at her for "keeping" Bonnie unattractive to lessen competition.

Taken aback, Coral tells the two lovebirds to scram. They hightail it out of there -- giddy with excitement and adoration for one another, and the possibilities inherent with blossoming love.

Kind of romantic, huh? I am usually not a super huge fan of Sekowsky, but this story has a nice pace to it and Bonnie's golden flowing locks add a nice visual touch. For Bonnie's sake, we can only hope that Jim is an optometrist and has a fresh set of contact lenses waiting for her!


  1. "Something happened to me, too, Jim... Even without my being able to control it!" Ugh. Sekowsky isn't the problem here. The writer is.

    I'm certainly no expert on women, but I'm pretty sure that it has never been appropriate for a man (even if he does looks like young Ewan McGregor) to walk into an office, mess with a working woman's accessories and hair, and then smooch her at her desk. Wouldn't last month's working women be appalled? Someone will be calling Human Resources.

  2. I particularly like the appropriation of the ugly duckling motif into the genre. And besides, who could honestly say they have not played this role at some time in their life.

    However, while a featuring a very sincere and identifiable lead, and a suitable romantic ending, this is still not an extra-interesting story. Though, I really enjoyed your witty commentary Jacque.

  3. "Jim, what are you doing?"
    "First, let's get rid of these things, Bonnie."
    "Wait, Jim, my glasses!"
    He then turned me around and...
    "Your hair is meant to be this!"
    "But Jim, Miss Babbitt prefers..."
    "Forget Miss Babbitt!"
    And then...
    "That sweater looks uncomfortable, and that brassiere is an affront to your womanhood!"
    "Jim! What? Wait...I..."
    Riiip! Snap! Pop!
    "Stop hiding behind your facade, Bonnie! I want to see the real you!"
    "But Jim I..."
    "We don't need things like skirts to define the woman inside you! Here..."
    "Really now, Jim, what the hell--"
    Tug! Rip! Yank!
    Before I could utter a word of protest...
    "There! Now turn around and look in the mirror, Bonnie! What do you see?"
    "Uhh, a fleshy colored blur? Can I at least have my glasses back, Jim?"
    Then Miss Babbitt walked in.
    "Holy $*@%!! I know it's casual Friday, but I don't think that's appropriate attire for an H & R Block office! Bonnie, you're fired! But first, get me a double mocoa latte esspresso and two sugars..."

    End scene.

    Actually, the actual comic story is quite romantic, if highly improbable. But then again, real life is seldom like the idealized notions we imagine they should be.

    Thanks for the post, Jacque.
    Jacque, are you wearing glasses? Come here, let me...there, that's better. And your hair should be free, like this...and that scarf around your neck, let me really tied this knot good, didn't you? urf...