By Louise Lague
December 27, 1982 12:00 PM

One of the brightest little books of 1982 was Bruce Feirstein’s Real Men Don’t Eat Quiche: A Guidebook to All That Is Truly Masculine (Pocketbooks, $3.95), a 93-page quickie that has zipped through 17 printings since May. Feirstein clearly hit a nerve as well as a funny bone. If the revolution in sex roles has left men mumbling into their beer, women these days are equally befuddled. Should they be feminine or feminist? Are they to be tough or tender or what? Or, as Freud might have asked, what does a Real Woman want?

To settle the debate, PEOPLE consulted Associate Editor Louise Lague, whose observations of Real Women began with her mother. She contends that Real Women are diverse: They can be found in playgrounds, boardrooms, bedrooms, schoolrooms, offices and supermarkets. Real Women go about their lives without calling attention to their womanness and never use it as an excuse or privilege. They are secure enough in their womanhood to neither flaunt it (like a starlet) nor flout it (like some feminists). They are women who, above all, are doing what they want to, daring when necessary, but without carrying on about it.

REAL WOMEN DO:

Love men, but have never wished for an instant that they were men.

Know there’s nothing heroic about natural childbirth.

Understand Richard Simmons.

Know how to drink.

Wear their hearts on their sleeves.

Think they probably can’t have everything, but go for it anyway.

REAL WOMEN DON’T:

Get emotional about fabric softener.

Use the word “divine,” except in prayer.

Discuss their sexual adventures.

Take showers outdoors while drinking Pepsi Light.

Spend more time on their hair than on their men.

Show off their Underalls.

Drop everything to go off and “find themselves,” though they’d love to.

REAL WOMEN ON THE JOB:

Real Women don’t weep, except in the ladies’ room. They never throw temper tantrums, bark orders or whine. Frequently they aspire to having male secretaries. Often they work harder than men in the same job. Occasionally they really tie one on at lunch. They are willing to suffer workplace winks. They never consider suing the boss, except for excellent reasons.

REAL WOMEN’S HOBBIES:

Watching soap operas while rolling socks

Doing needlepoint

Keeping track of local gossip

Ordering things from catalogs

Plotting career moves

Flirting

Practicing brave, serene smiles

Quitting smoking

Reading unit pricing labels

Phoning baby-sitters

Nurturing mentors

Nurturing girlfriends

Humoring men

Going on diets

Putting children back to bed again

Hunting for lost earrings

Doing aerobic dancing

Promising to have lunch

Promising to throw dinner parties

REAL WOMEN IN LOVE:

Are fully capable of making the first move.

Don’t tell their new boyfriends everything about their old boyfriends.

Think it’s cute when men try to cook, but don’t trust men who really can.

Send men flowers.

Don’t discuss sexual techniques afterward.

Will ask a guy for a date but never call a man just to chat.

Don’t pick up the check.

Always knew that nice girls do.

Never sue for palimony.

HOW REAL WOMEN DRESS AND GROOM THEMSELVES:

Real Women try not to dress like men, little girls or Barbie dolls. They do not wear their hair in greasy little spikes all over their heads. They do not try to cook romantic breakfasts in filmy negligees, ” because they know that egg yolk sticks to ostrich plumes. They know how to turn a long skirt into a strapless dress and how to steam wrinkles out of clothes in the shower. They never spend more for a dress than they would for a refrigerator. They seldom wear size 4.

REAL WOMEN HATE BUT TOLERATE:

Housecleaning

Monday Night Football

Lucy Ewing

Celery sticks

Birth-control devices

People with au pair girls

Making coffee once at home and once at the office

The Miss America Pageant

REAL WOMEN’S MOVIES:

Norma Rae

Rich and Famous

Body Heat

Annie Hall

Coming Home

Gone With the Wind

Auntie Mame

Cat Ballou

Shoot the Moon

Julia

All About Eve

The French Lieutenant’s Woman

An Officer and a Gentleman

REAL WOMEN:

Dolly Parton

Betty Friedan

Bette Midler

The Queen Mother

Penny Marshall

Barbara Cartland

Lena Horne

Simone Signoret

Carly Simon

Diane Keaton

Millicent Fenwick

Katharine Hepburn

Betty Ford

Mary Kay

Maggie Thatcher

Miss Piggy

UNREAL WOMEN:

Victoria Principal

Bo Derek

Wendy O. Williams

Betsy Bloomingdale

Donna Summer

Brooke Shields
Morgan Fairchild

Diane Von Furstenberg

Grace Jones

Princess Anne

Lee Radziwill

Strawberry Shortcake

[This article contains a table. Please see hardcopy of magazine or PDF.]

[This article contains a table. Please see hardcopy of magazine or PDF.]