Guest: Margo Maguire

Please welcome Margo Maguire to the convertible today!

I’m past the age of worrying about being in the in-crowd – in fact. I’d sort of forgotten about it. But an article I read recently brought back memories of earlier days. It seems that for all our years of battling to be a sisterhood of enlightened women, there are still throwbacks – supposedly intelligent ones: college-educated sorority girls! I recently read an article that listed the rules for the pi phi sorority at Cornell University. Here are a few of them. I think they were written by the president of pi phi – who is, apparently, the sole arbiter of fashion …
  • No watches with timers or any kind of Indiglo light are allowed. (“I will have the time to keep you informed, so unless your watch is a piece of jewelry, you don’t need it. Put on a bangle.”)
  • Pi Phi members should not wear satin unless they weigh under 130 pounds or the piece is from Dolce & Gabbana or Betsey Johnson.
  • No “frumpy” clothes or “muffin top.”
  • “Booties ok if you can pull them off, aka probably not.”
  • On jewelry: “I won’t tolerate any gross plastic shizzzz. I love things on wrists and I demand earrings if your ears are pierced.”
  • No chapped lips or mustaches.
  • “Blush is not optional.”
  • Hair must be “freshly colored.”
  • You best have a mani/pedi when you get to Ithaca.”
Seems to me that there are some really nice ways to tell people that their fashion choices aren’t quite right for them, rather than coming down with a bunch of harsh  (and ridiculous) dictates. Inviting them to a spa day (great place to get rid of the mustache) might be better. Or having a group shopping spree to choose some really nice jeans or better shoes, or more appropriate jewelry would be a better way. I’ve known some really amazing people who never cared much about fashion rules – and the world is a far better place because of them.
A lot of romance novels feature heroines who don’t always follow the beaten path. This is true of Maggie Danvers, the heroine of my newest book, The Rogue Prince. She’s a young Regency-era widow of a wastrel viscount, and cannot depend upon her super socially-conscious family to help her. Anonymously, Maggie uses her artistic talents to earn (yes, earn!) the funds she needs to get out of debt by drawing caricatures of the people she meets at social events. And she makes lots of money by selling the cartoons to the newspapers. If her family and friends found out what she was doing, they would disown her.
Her primary subject is a man who has come to England disguised as a prince, seventeen years after being transported to a penal colony for a crime he did not commit. He’s fabulously wealthy now, and is out for revenge on the two privileged little jerks who set him up. He intends to ruin them and their families, just as he and his family were destroyed. But he meets Maggie and starts to fall for her, without knowing that she is connected to the two – she is the widow of one, and step-sister of the other. Destroying his enemies will destroy her.
Which brings me back to pi phi . With everything we know about being a hero or heroine, we know they usually do the right thing. They might have a few lessons to learn on their path to becoming “heroic,” but we can usually see some indications that they’re on the right track. Those sorority girls? What do you think? Do they have any insight at all? Will they ever mature and become heroines in anyone’s life – even their own?
Hey – I’m up for a giveaway. I wonder what you all think about this list of rules and how you managed to live through the dictates of the “in” crowd. I’ll draw one name and send her a copy of The Rogue Prince, my May release from Avon Books.

Please visit Margo at her website!
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31 Responses to Guest: Margo Maguire

  1. Laurie says:

    I remember going through RUSH week when I was a freshman in college. Both my brother and sister had been in a frat and a sorority.I was accepted in but I turned it down. I realized I was too independent.I wanted to wear jeans and T-shirts. I hated makeup of any kind. I hated the fake affection. I needed "my space". I didn't like all of the rules and requirements.As for this girl's rules and attitude, I doubt that she will change. She obviously comes from a rich, pampered home… life. I'm sure she and her sorority sisters will find guys to cater to their whims and expensive tastes. In the future they will be in charge of some society fundraisers.Maturity will be a long time coming to this spoiled, conceited lady.

  2. Deb says:

    Hi, Margo. Congrats on your release!I was never in the "in" crowd during high school years, but was the nice girl everyone talked to. I had a chance to join a sorority in college, but chose not to do so because I didn't want to be told who to be friends with, what to wear, and what rules to follow. I've known some very nice women who were in sororities and others who are still snobs today.

  3. LSUReader says:

    Those rules–Ugh! As if young women leaving high school and entering college just don't have enough outrageous life rules to look out for. All I can surmise is that Pi Phi must be full…and need no new members? Just think of the kind of members they would attract–The ones who can't think for themselves! Thanks for an interesting column.

  4. Laney4 says:

    I've always dressed in what I felt was appropriate. There's no way I'd adhere to someone else's rules. That's why I moved out from my mom's house! (Mom said we couldn't wear jeans as long as we lived there, I was not allowed to buy green-coloured clothes because she didn't like green, and I couldn't get my ears pierced because God would have given me holes in my ears if I was meant to wear pierced earrings.)I had (and still have) a few close girlfriends who also danced to their own drummers. We are all college/university educated, we're all happily married for over 25 years each, and we're apparently not the "norm". It's good not to be "the norm", though! We have values. We've raised kids who help others. They in turn dress comfortably for themselves and dress up when warranted, just like their parents. And who do others turn to when they need help? Us, of course. And I wouldn't have it any other way.

  5. Helen Brenna says:

    LOL! I can't believe that list. Wait a minute. Yes, I can! I think some of those young ladies will grow out of that stuff, but many won't.Love your story concept. Hope your book flies off the shelf!Oh, and welcome!

  6. I was never part of the "in" crowd in high school or college either, but I've managed very well, thank you. It's sad there are girls who will allow themselves to be manipulated by rules like that.I do have some terrific girlfriends who love to do group shopping sprees. We'll advise each other and be honest. I forgot, though, that we do have one very important rule: You MUST wear proper foundation garments. ::grin::Marilyn

  7. lois greiman says:

    Beautiful cover, lovely concept. Nice that we don't have to live by the silly dictates laid down during the Regency era. But I guess we all feel some kind of societal pressure. You're right though, Margo, it lessens as we age.Thanks for joining us.

  8. Hi, Margo!Sororities. Quoting Bugs Bunny, it is to laugh. My college didn't have them. (I went to a woman's college. We knew better.) I remember visiting my best friend at UMass soon after she'd pledged. She and the sisters were headed for the lib en mass, and they looked like a line of clones. Then I looked in the mirror and realized I had the same haircut. Ah, youth. I'm with the muffin top warning. No ban, just a warning. When you grow up you'll realize that jeans that fit look and feel much better than jeans that don't.

  9. Leanne says:

    GREAT cover! And I already love your heroine!:) I wasn't in the in-crowd either. I think that has helped me as a writer. As for the RULES, I don't like satin much anyway. tee-hee

  10. Virginia says:

    Hi Margo, congrats on your new release! I was never in the in-croud when I was in school! I was just the one they came to when they needed someone to talk to! This didn't bother me! Thanks for sharing your books with us today they sound fabulous and I do love your books!

  11. Hi everybody! OMG – I just realized today was 5/1 and I had a webinar to attend. So sorry I'm late! It's great to see you all here. I'm enjoying your take on the whole sorority thing. Laurie – I think you're right. This girl will never change. Good for you for having the maturity at that age to understand that you needed YOUR space!

  12. Deb – I think you're right. A lot of people in sororities turn out just fine. A sorority or fraternity in itself isn't a bad idea – kids are far from home and it's instant comeraderie. That's great, as long as it's taken for what it is.

  13. LSU Reader – I think there are some pretty good sororities, but this one just struck a chord with me. Yuck!

  14. Laney4 – Things were a lot stricter back then, weren't they! I've been reading the article on The Pill in Time magazine this week and it's a trip down memory lane. There's been quite the sea change in the past 40 years!

  15. Hi Helen – Hey, thanks! And congrats on your RITA nomination. So great!!

  16. Marilyn – LOL! Something we must always remember … just like my heroines and their corsets, eh?

  17. Hi Lois – yeah, whew. Absolutely delighted we don't have to abide by all those regency-era rules. Not that I'd have been born into the aristocracy…

  18. Yes, Kathleen – some of that advice is actually good! It's just the WAY it was delivered. 🙂

  19. Leanne: 🙂 I'm a denim and seaker-type person, myself…

  20. kmt1976 says:

    Back in the day, when I went to college, I had the clothes my parents could afford for me to wear. The college already had the "no pants or jeans" rule. We had to wear heels AND nylons to the dining room. Needless to say, I wore the same dress to many meals.

  21. I had the same rule, kmt! But it was only on Thursdays. Or was it Wednesdays? And during my summers I worked as a bank teller and we were not allowed to wear pants there, either!

  22. Yikes, I am not good at these type of rules. Nor do I funtion well in 'in crowds'. But, I can understand the need for some rules in some situations!!All the best for your release!

  23. I want to thank the ladies of Riding with the Top Down for having me today! It's been fun!

  24. runner10 says:

    Never been one to follow the rules.

  25. robynl says:

    wow, what a list; I don't agree with most of the rules(of course).Pi Phi is trying to make over members b/c I guess they aren't good enough or good enough looking.I wouldn't want to be told what to do, when to do it , etc. No thanks.

  26. Betina says:

    Margo, I ADORE your cover! And the book sounds scrumptious! I'm not a fashion maven, but I have to agree with the "muffin top" thing. And I have to agree that most of these gals will grow out of this "rule" mentality in a few years.

  27. cait045 says:

    The 'in' crowd people were my friends but I wasn't of one group because I played sports, was a part of the play productions, and in honor classes so I didn't fit in one click.I agree with no muffin top. It drives me nuts just go up a size its no big deal if you look better.

  28. gamistress66 says:

    I survived the "in crowd" in HS & college (and even after college) by not being part of it but accepting early on that I'm just fab enough and am better off on the fringe where I can continue to be fab me 🙂 Never was good at "politics" and with rules like those I'd have been out the door. Thank heavens.

  29. mariska says:

    Hi Margo, I love the cover of your book, and really looking forward to read it :)I'm not that rules person, never followed all of them, as i'm free and happy just to be me !

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