Giving new Hillary some good advice on low self-esteem

January 11, 1995|By MIKE LITTWIN

The news was shocking. Hillary Clinton, the world's most powerful woman and not just because she can out-arm-wrestle Bill, had invited advice columnist Ann Landers to the White House for a chat. (This is completely true.)

You'd expect this from, say, Nancy Reagan, who had her own personal astrologer/fashion consultant, who also served, but only when asked, as the national security adviser.

While Nancy Reagan might have Ann Landers' home phone number committed to memory, Hillary is a little different. I can see Hillary Clinton consulting maybe Hegel or Proust. I never thought of her turning to "Ask Beth."

And yet, according to sources, Hillary told Miss Landers her life was a living hell and also that, whenever she invited the Gores over for dinner, they just wouldn't leave no matter how much she hinted.

Clearly, Mrs. Clinton was desperate. If you've spent any serious time with the Gores, you'd understand.

Let's look at her life.

Nobody likes her hair.

And besides that, nobody likes her.

In fact, complete strangers go on TV and call her nasty names when, as far as she can tell, the worst thing she ever did was write some incredibly complex health-care legislation and made some fast bucks in cattle futures.

No wonder she appealed to Miss Landers, who came to the White House along with some friendly gossip columnists. Hillary told them she wanted a complete make-over. She was advised to visit the Clinique counter.

That wasn't it, she explained. She wanted to make herself over so that people would like her.

The place went dead silent. You could have heard Bill Clinton's pants drop.

Ann Landers thought she had heard it all. She'd answered the one about the boss who had bad breath and nobody wanted to tell him. And the one about the dog who had bad breath and no one wanted to tell him. And the one about the husband who had bad breath and was also ruining the country. (Was that from Hillary, she began to wonder.)

But how do you make over people like Hillary?

I'm not sure what the advice was, but it was reported that Mrs. Clinton wants to be seen in a new, softer, gentler, kinder light. She said she had been "dumb and naive," which, I believe, is the title of a current hit movie. She also took responsibility for virtually everything that had gone wrong in the Clinton administration, except for the, uh, flap about her husband's briefs.

"I haven't seen Bill's shorts since the mid-'80s," she explained.

The meeting with Landers came about, of course, after a letter from the first lady -- a letter I was able to obtain exclusively.

Previously, Hillary had written to Dear Abby, Miss Manners and the Playboy Adviser. She asked Miss Manners what you do when somebody calls you a bitch. Miss Manners replied: "We, of course, have been called much worse. The best course is to invite the offending woman and her son to dinner at your place on the same night you invite the Gores."

The letter to Miss Landers went like this.

Dear Ann Landers: As a graduate of a prestigious law school, I don't usually consult advice columnists. But I don't know where else to turn.

It isn't that my husband cheats on me (he does) or that his favorite Beatle is Paul.

It isn't even that people are always shooting at our house (they are).

The problem is, nobody likes me. I mean nobody. I can't turn on the radio without somebody named "Jack from Dubuque" saying he'd pay my way to visit Dr. Kevorkian.

I always thought I was a nice person. I have excellent table manners. And yet, even when I was a kid, I never got invited to sleep-overs. Until I met Bill, anyway.

What can I do to be more popular?

-- Blue in the White House.

Dear Blue: It sounds to me like you're being too hard on yourself. I'm from Iowa myself, and I never go anywhere near Dubuque. You've made it tough on yourself. You have to remember: Nobody likes a lawyer. Have you thought about a new career, maybe something in the health-care field?

But if you really want to be popular, get Mr. French Fry out of your life. He's the one who's dragging you down. Dump him, and at least half of America will want to be your best friend.

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