The Ten Sexiest Women in Dallas

The trouble with considering a story like this, other than the obvious one of blathering insanity, is that it is inadvisable, unseemly, unliberated, arbitrary, capricious and of some interest to entirely too many people. It arouses suspicions, invites second-guessing, and floods switchboards at the answering services of hit-men. Journalistically, it is a monumental sin of omission in a city of 400,000 women, each of whom is sexy to someone in some dimension.

Therein lies the problem. Sexiness is one of those marvelous things that the good Lord reserved exclusively for the eye of the beholder. The beholdees are of mixed opinion. But this is no time to be faint of heart, flagging in spirit or shifty of eye. A stand must be taken right here at the Alamo of anointment. We must announce a cure for which there is no disease. Readers may want to foist their own lists; meanwhile, if you don’t mind, I’ll play through, because here I am already, my eyelids propped open with Maybelline applicator sticks and chunks of fluffy chutzpah in my ears blocking out the sounds from wiser voices, telling me not to do this mad thing.

One matter that puzzles me, I’ll begin by confessing, is how the term “sexy” fell into its current disfavor. When I began this mission, a few friends beseeched me to let it drop, don’t do it Naive to the end, I’d ask why. Because women today, came the unvarying reply, would rather be celebrated for other qualities.

Well then, my answer is, somehow the world’s gotten the wrong notion of sexiness, and I intend to set it straight The best way to return sexiness to its proper place in modern vocabulary is to give the examples which follow. You’ll notice immediately, for example, in a city swarming with thousands of uniformly admirable models and stewardesses, none has been included. The explanation is that for reasons of ultimateness, models and stewardesses are indisputably attractive, appealing, sleek, and kinetically glamorous, but generally as interchangeable as fan belts. They are wondrous chrysalises. We are looking for butterflies. We are looking for women who by a gift of nature and by the shaping of themselves have created a tapestry of design that consitutes a distinctive personality.

And, when we get right down to it, that’s what sexiness is. The quality is elusive, but palpable when encountered It is womanliness, carriage, verve and effortless unconscious cultivation. It is elan and eyelids, crystal laughter. It’s a sense of humor and a crisp-ness of thought. It’s a confidence in self, and an apple’s appreciation of an orange. Although the French are reputed to be the experts in the parameters of allure, it was the German Goethe who distilled what we are looking for in that maddeningly precise way with words: das Ewig-Weiblich, the ever-womanly.

Meanwhile, why are we calling these women the “sexiest” in town? Are we saying they are the 10 sexiest, the ten sexiest, or the 10 sexiest They don’t like our using the word A woman who wouldn’t show some opposition to being on a list of the “sexiest”, isn’t. We volleyed some other, maybe gentler, words around but they didn’t seem to work. How about “sensuous,” somebody said. That’s more restricting in its connotations than “sexiest,” was the consensus. Consensuous? Who would want to turn to a story called The 10 Sensuousest Women? In this collection, everybody’s using their right name, and in bringing you our version of 10 of the damndest total women in town, we’re using “sexiest” in the broadest ramifications of womanhood in all sizes, shadings and ages. So let our conscience and page 2297 of Webster’s New International Second Edition Unabridged, 1947, be your guide: “Sexy: spicy with that which concerns or appeals . . .” We are dealing with breadth and depth and totality – and also, let me add, with a couple of women whom I have never seen in person. They are draft choices, and I just work here

You think this was easy work? Think for a moment how awkward and offputting it is to sidle up to a man at a party and mention to him that you are placing his wife on a list of the 10 sexiest women in Dallas. The one man to whom I mentioned the fact took an unhurried sip of his drink and nodded with a total absence of surprise, in the manner of a guy who has just been told that his Mercedes 600 sure is a neat car.

Naturally, I had a compelling reason to undertake the job. In case 1 ever want to do an article on The 10 Dumbest Things I Ever Agreed to Do, I would need something to head the list.

Speaking of lists, the quest for our 10 sexiest began with a tentative one, conceived in utmost secrecy and circulated with the furtiveness of a Solzhenitsyn manuscript in the cellars of Minsk. As soon as a few selected gentlemen in town were asked for their suggestions, the original roster of some two dozen names began to escalate at the rate of a chain letter in Las Vegas.

After two weeks and eight new sets of fingerprint smudges, the keeper of this crinkly document noticed two remarkable things: while the list of raw names grew beyond control, geometrically, there was, simultaneously, a curious pattern forming in the repetition of some of the names.

Once the decision was made to limit our selections to the 10 sexiest rather than the city’s 50 or 63 or 89 sexiest, the rest was easy. All it required was two final editorial sessions of unremitting enmity, two fist fights, and some bullet-biting.

Our finalists, we feel, incorporate most of the elements in varying proportions, which we believe comprise the alchemy of allure. The final confirmation came from photographer Bob Salomon, who descended upon our selected women with his able assistants, stylist Scott Fisher and make-up artist Cindy Stevens of Vidal Sassoon. “In all my life,’ reported Bob, “I’ve never encountered a group of ladies more gracious, more dynamic and more enjoyable to work with. Each is unique, but the one thing they have in common is a lot of spirit.”

That’s sexiness. Maybe now you’ll agree with me that it’s a word worth preserving for its usefulness … and its truth.

“Stormy Meadows? Oh yes. The stripper?” If I had a quarter for every time someone said that to me, I would grab the money and take Stormy out to dinner. It would probably be at McDonald’s, because most people in Dallas by now, despite the deceptive stripperness of the name, know Ora Meadows for what she is: the most irrepressible public relations woman in all of Chuckledom. Stormy is nearly always laughing, the throaty and hearty laugh of a longshoreman bubbling out of the Earth Mother of matronliness. Stormy Meadows is on a first-name basis with the world. It calls her “Stormy” and she calls everybody “Baby.” Amazingly, considering her breadth of acquaintances from Governors to derelicts, she managers to keep most of the “Babies” straight In a remarkable career of personal public relations (Stormy is a flower-sender instead of a corporate releaser of coldly portentous ’news releases’), she is revered and accommodated by the media with which she only works one-on-one. Born hn Lewis-ville, she attended what is now TWU. “Was that when it was called TSCW?” “Hell no, Baby, when I went there it was C.I. A.- College of Industrial Arts. We wore uniforma I got called up on the carpet for riding to school with a man. It was usually the iceman.’ Stormy had a spectacularly indiscreet one-day career as a salesperson at Neiman- Marcus, when she asked a young woman who had purchased some jewelry why the bill was being sent to a man’s office when they weren’t even married She worked on Film Row for 10 years, then hit her stride in hotel p.r. She has never married, although the guys who have asked her included three film stars, one of them only two years ago. A girl recently asked Stormy, “You used to be slimmer, didn’t you?” “Baby, when I was your age we used to go out on a dinner date and never quite get around to having dinner. Later, we started having dinner first and we never got around to anything else.” This is all inherited. Her 89-year-old mother is a pistol. Stormy’s favorite reading has always been “Anything to do with selling.” Her big film: Gone With the Wind. Stormy says if she could be any sexier, she’d like to be a little more like Nell Ivey, Lou Lattimore Allison, Carol Corgan, Gayle Harrison, Polly Hitt (good choice!), Marie Sutton, Patsy Perrett and Carol Parker.

Ellen Burstein is outspoken. You have to be to get someone to pass the bread in a family consisting of a New York State Supreme Court Justice (her mother); a state senator (her sister); an NBC cameraperson (another sister); a free-lance print media writer (another sister); an actor (a brother); and a doctoral candidate in philosophy (another brother). She is frankly feminist, but also effortlessly sensuous. And, as a visitor to her apartment said, “If she has read all those books she has around in the place, she is damn well read.” She probably has, and is. Ellen Burstein (B.A., Carnegie Mellon, M. Ed. Pscy., Columbia) wants to be a producer. Toward that end, and to get experience in the trenches, she took a $10,000 annual salary cut to leave a Newsweek TV affiliate and join the news staff of WFAA-TV in Dallas, the better and faster to learn anchoring, reporting and producing. She is oriented toward investigative reporting, and in her six months in Dallas has dealt mainly with the medical beat Her series on child abuse should be on the air about now. Her Yorkie’s name is Adam, the Toffler book Future Shock “had a great effect on me; so did Eric Fromm’s The Art of Loving.” Favorite movie: Amarcord. Her work has kept her in a restrictive social orbit, and her list of nifty women is heavy on the media: “lola Johnson, Molly McCoy, Roberta Hammond, Donna Drews, Linda Metcalfe, Dr. Ellen Loeb, Mickey Gamble.”

“Chief, the way I see the role, we need someone in this part who is tailored and smashing and has unquestioned, uh, whatayacallit, probity. Yeah. We need a younger Rosalind Russell, only maybe even a lot better looking. But brainy, a lady who automatically saya and does the right things without saying, ’See, I’m brainy.’ We need a woman, say, who can get involved in family and civic stuff and society and who can actually keep it straight, knowing the difference between winning the Zonta Award and the Areta Award and the Linz Award. Somebody born in Houston who was Phi Beta Kappa at the University of Texas and has a master’s in sociology from Columbia? Somebody on the board of Dallas Theater Center, Planned Parenthood, Dallas Association for Retarded Children, Jewish Welfare Federation, Dallas Chapter American Red Cross, YWCA, sponsor of Opera Debs, all that, chief, and still find time to go to movies a lot as chairman of the city classification board Someone who could do all that, chief, and still say, very believably, that the thing she looks forward to most of all after a long day of newsmaking is going home and sitting down with her husband and daughters, let’s call them Ted and Nancy and Janie, and just talk and laugh with each other. This role screams for a kind of centrist woman who will say she wishes she could name a weighty favorite book, but for pure enjoyment, it’s Gone With the Wind and the favorite movie would be Rebecca (PG), and would say that some of her most-admired, on-the-ball women are Dr. Louise Cowan, and Vivian Castleberry, Mary Miller, Helen Strauss, Adlene Harrison, Billie Marcus, Margaret McDermott, Mary Ray, Katherine Dillard, Gertrude Shelburne, Dean Regina Kyle and Marty Lynch. What we need is Annette Strauss, boss I’ll call her agent.”

In Spanish “pando” means suede. It’s just a shame that ’Villal’ doesn’t mean anything, for what images one could conjure about soft beige alabaster in the case of Cathi Villalpando. But forget it, for this woman would prefer to be thought of in terms of her title, which is special assistant to the Regional Director, Department of Commerce, Office of Minority Business Enterprises. Her civil service rank is GS-11. It is semi-lofty. In a side duty as a congressional public affairs officer, she supervises and coordinates ribbon cuttings, press conferences and dam turning-ons in an 11-state area What’s a nice girl like Cathi Villalpando doing in a government like this? Learning a hell of a lot about business, minority and otherwise In fact she sees several gaping holes in the local marketplace, such as a need for an authentic Spanish-Mexican restaurant that would cater to Spanish-speaking people If and when she leaves government service, she’s liable to go into business herself. She’s from San Marcos, went to Southwest Texas State University, worked with OEO in Austin and has been making substantial waves despite the handicap of looking like some Mediterranean madonna. Her favorite reading is Cervantes: “I have his entire collectioa” Her most memorable night at the movies was The Candidate: “I like politics.” Her favorite women are Federal Judge Sarah T. Hughes, Adelpha Callejo, Irene Martinez Garcia, Eddie Bernice Johnson, Desi Craig, Judy Jordan and Iola Johnson.

Certainly all of us at some time have encountered a woman who is icy, tall, lithe and withdrawn. That wasn’t Rhita Freling, who is in fact rather short and a nicely proportioned petite She is affable and can be intense in a conversation, with a tendency to step right up to the microphone or to your lapel. Vivacious is a word some of her admirers opt for. Her solemn dark eyes have the effect of a visual handshake. Rhita met Richard Freling at the University of Texas, and they were married in his last year of law school. Their next anniversary will be their 20th. “I like contemporary movies better than the old flicks where the hero was always riding off into the sunset. They’re more open and realistic” The big book for her is War and Peace, and her somewhat surprising, but certainly relevant, reason for liking it is, “Because its richness cannot be digested in only one reading.” Her ambition is to be a good skier; her fantasy is to become a super skier. Rhita Freling’s choices for her favorite women are “Freda Simmons, for her enthusiasm. And Nancy Moses, because she goes out of her way to be helpful, although she’s also beautiful. Flo Wiedeman, because she’s sensational. And June McGuire, for her graciousness.”

Heather Emrick has been the unquestioned media princess of Dallas for several years, known widely as KVIL’s Girl Friday. She was used frequently as a sort of utility v.i.p. for the station’s many promotional events, once personally led 62 junketers on the station’s tour of Europe. She was never an air personality, but she might as well have been since the station’s disc jockeys made a thing of mentioning Heather about as often as the time and temperature Heather recently left KVLL to become president of Emrick Enterprises. (She and her second husband, former stockbroker Greg Emrick, purchased Vicki Britton’s Club in March.) Heather has a chilling and virtually flawless kind of beauty, an undercurrent of allure blended with a squeaky clean essence; a gatefold girl for the Milk Producers Journal. Born in York, Pa., Heather was on the move like an army brat; her father, a restaurant chain executive, kept moving to places like Canton and Dayton and Lexington. She came to Dallas when she was 12; worked briefly for a dermatologist then secretaried for Braniff, then found her niche at KVIL. You may or may not learn much about her from her favorite book: “1 just don’t read” Her favorite film was Funny Girl. Her list of local women on the ball: Lucy Caswell, Frances Niles, Betty Holloway, Judy Jordan, lola Johnson, Vicki Britton, Marilyn Chapman and Connie Cottoa

Joan Jackson died in October of 1971. As she was being pronounced dead at Parkland Hospital from the shattering injuries of a car crash, an intern gouged a duct of life into her throat. It is called a tracheotomy. There were weeks of coma, and afterward, a profoundly transformed Joan Jackson. Today she clutches life with a joyous grip, paints and writes poetry in a continuum of fervor and a dimension more subtle, but infinitely more powerful, than before. Her larynx did not survive the accident intact. Her speech is a remarkable rasping monotone, bereft of inflection but bristling with bright emotion nevertheless. The eye can trace a faint red line encircling the graceful neck, as if some wondrous Dr. Frankenstein of rectitude had set about to restore a flawed creation of beauty. Poet and painter, Joan Arnold Jackson thinks and speaks in imagery. Perhaps all you need to know about her are her favorite film-“I guess it would be Butch Cassidy. Because those two guys had spent all those years together, and then that afternoon when they were dying in the sun and sand, they were still talking to each other and interested in what the other thought about it” – and her favorite book: “Any book that makes me think.” Joan Jackson thinks some of the women who should have been on the list are Irene Kidder, because she has no inhibitions and a great mind; and Terry Weber, “on smashing looks alone”; and Bobbie Wood, for intelligence and sensitivity; and “My grand-mother Mrs. L E. Askew, who has been totally feminine for 82 years.”

Thump your fingernail against the rim of a particularly fine wineglass of imported crystal. Another imported item puts out similarly resonant vibes, and her name is Magrit Brinker. The wife of Steak and Ale’s founder Norman Brinker, Magrit Liselotte Fendt Brinker is probably one of the most widely liked and admired women on the beauty and social circuit, and definitely one of the most misspelled. Her spirit is a souffle. Their intimates cite Norman and Magrit Brinker as one of the most ideally happy couples in the realm of possibility; there is money, travel, an athletic regimen, a quite open affection, and the class to cope with it. Norman, as the saying goes, can pick em. His first wife, the late international tennis star Maureen Connolly Brinker, would have been on this list, too. Magrit Brinker’s ebullient appeal has the courtliness and reserved verve of European style. She was born in Magdeburg, attended university in Hamburg, and came to the United States with a degree in business. Norm Brinker found her managing the Brasserie at the Fairmont. Try to find someone who doesn’t think she’s a hell of a person. Her favorite writer is Dostoyevsky, especially Crime and Punishment. The film she remembers, being enamored of sweep and grandeur, is The Agony and the Ecstasy. Asked for her own roster of Dallas women who would appeal to men, she offered this “top-of-my-head ” list: Annette Strauss, Jo Ann Stroud, June McGuire, Claire McKinney, Carla Francis, Polly Hitt (good choice!), Dorothy Ling and Rita Bass.

In 1969, Fayteen Holman packed in a 13-year career as a Dallas model, checked her savings account, warned her two kids to get ready to have chicken-pot-pie a lot, and entered El Centro as an unemployed divorced freshman. She made ends meet for a while as partner in a modeling school, embarked on a course of study in education, and graduated magna cum laude from North Texas State. Now Dean of Women at Greenhill School, Fayteen will be leaving Greenhill at term’s end to operate, as co-director, the Women’s Potentiality Institute, a career-coping offshoot of the transactional analysis field. Dean Holman could probably run for president of the Greenhill student body and win; she enjoys universal respect and affection from the students who say they would like to emulate her elegance and straight-headedness. About that name, which reminds me of one Claire Trevor might have had in her role as a heart-of-gold truck-stop waitress, she had no other options. She was the sixth child born to her family in Wellington, Texas; My mother was going to name me Mary, but my grandmother wouldn’t stand for it. Somehow she came up with the name Fayteen, and when mother said ’How about Mary’ for a middle name, then?’, my grandmother said, ’ A girl named Fayteen doesn’t need a middle name.” Her most memorable reading was Schweitzer’s book Out of My Life and Thought. Movie: Gone With the Wind. The women she thinks men here should admire are Esther Burns (her mother); Judge Sarah T. Hughes, Helen Fulton, Margaret Folsom, Davie Tatum, Shirley Medaris, Wenonah Hanson, Caroline Michaels, Rhea Wolfram and Margie Schugat.

As an institutional beauty. Paulette Reck Thomas considers herself a rara Avis, the Avis being capitalized as in the car-rental company that’s always a glorious second. She was Miss Maryland, twice, in the Miss USA and Miss World pageants, and both times went on just to miss, as first runnerup. In the latter case she lost out to Gail Renshaw, who went on to become famous by not marrying Dean Martin. There the beauty queen syndrome ends, for there seems to be quite a bit inside the head; Paulette, who is from Baltimore, has crisp opinions and expresses them with the embracing nip of Chesapeake waters in a clear voice that is sturdy and sultry. She worked in Dallas and Denver as a model. She is 5’8″, not exactly a sample size, but she has a good contact in the garment business, her husband Daniel, a vice-president of Jones of Dallas, manufacturers of women’s sportswear. Paulette is a student in occupational therapy at Texas Woman’s University. She committed to the field awhile back while working with her three-year-old daughter Ashley’s foot problem. Paulette has a degree in art from Villa Julie in Maryland. Her book is Gone With the Wind, thus a daughter named Ashley. “A son would have been Rhett.” Her favorite film: you name it, so long as Clark Gable was in it. Paulette’s all-star women’s team includes Keith Daniels, for wit; Robin Dodson, for aplomb; Sally Ann Hudnall, for a youthful aura; and also Molly Grubb Lynn, Susie Sirman, Susie Sisson, Kim Dawson, and Germaine Brown, who dances under the name of Chastity Fox.

As I mentioned, 10 sexiest women ago, it is all arbitrary and capricious, and even somewhat binary in that the compilation has spewed forth types and traits and characteristics that cover a lot of ground, but not all. It is incomplete, for in the foregoing formula 1 seem to have omitted the meticulousness of Betty Hol-loway, the platinum lankiness of Liz Sanders, the riveting zest of Gloria Kane, the coltishness of Diana Block, the stylish gravity of Laura Wilson, the regal categoria of Mollie Dominguez, the charming zaniness of Susan Sebastian, the dark pensiveness of Schatzie Lee, the caramel looks of Anita Ford in her Wackenhut uniform, the Titian zowie, Lynn Wdowiak; the competently exotic lola Johnson; the fresh sincerity of the new girl in town, Harriet Adams, the Empire forehead of Debbie Tompkins, and, last but not listed, No. 11 on your program but No. 1 in ye hearte, Polly Hitt (good choice).


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