I have a hot boyfriend. Ask the few friends whom I’ve shown his pic to. Are they jealous? Maybe. When you’re married for years and years, things can get mundane. Well, not for me. I’m living out a fairy tale right now, and in the process, I’m learning a thing or two—or six—about beauty, and how much work it is when you’re dating again after a long time out of the game.
I was never much for dating. I had just one date in high school and two in college. I was a disaster at it back then. My first kiss ended with me screaming as the guy missed my mouth and planted one squarely on my eye. I never saw him again. Now I find myself dating at 60 and it’s a whole new world. Dating when you’re young and fresh is a lot easier than when you’re over 40. These days, it takes real work, especially in the beauty department, and I’ve learned a lot already about how to look and feel my best.
I’ve always taken care of my looks, motivated by the genetics in my family. My grandmother was quite wrinkly and when I learned it was in the genes, I vowed to fight it every step of the way. So I make it a practice to slather on moisturizer day and night and hit the gym, even if that means working out at the ungodly hour of 5:30am. Hot guy’s mom recently said that I must not eat in order to stay so thin. Yes, I eat, but it is true that my diet is different than it was in my 20s. Because no matter what you do, as you age, time takes its toll on your looks, so you may as well do what you can.
Here’s what I do.
DATING OVER 40: 6 THINGS I DO TO FEEL BEAUTIFUL
I have no lips but I’m wearing lipstick. For the first time in my life, I’m doing something avant-garde: I’m wearing lipstick. Why? Because he asked. I guess he likes it. And it’s had a snowball effect on my beauty routine. Before I go out, I now spend more time getting ready. Gone are the days when I just slapped on some mascara and a little eye shadow and called it a night. And guess what? Now men stare at my mouth, which I have to admit freaks me out a bit—but I’m getting used to it. I used to just fly under the radar, and now my lipstick makes a statement. It says Look at me!
I’m taking the girls out. I’ve always been one to wear the pants (mine, that is) and feel just fine in them. Now, though, I’ve bought some dresses and it’s changed things. Dresses are more form fitting, it turns out—especially in a combo of leather and stretch material. I’ve got this one particular number that really shows off what my daughter likes to call a little boobage. What am I doing exactly by wearing clothes that draw attention to my curves? Hmmmm, I remember when my daughter used to dress sexy and my question was: What message are you sending? I could ask myself that one now. But frankly, I don’t care.
I’m taming the beast. When you don’t have a man in your life, you can live like a hairy beast. You don’t have to shave your legs as long as you’re wearing pants. You can have long, beautiful hair, shining, gleaming, streaming everywhere, and not worry. You may not even notice the hair that lives on your upper lip. (Damn menopause and lost hormones.) Now, it’s wax time. And how about those mutant brows? Somehow at my age, there are now stray hairs that are 15 times the length of the regular ones, and they stick out at all angles. Some of them are so grey they are in desperate need of a dye job. Then there is the hair on your head. I finally understand the female obsession with the hair salon. I’m getting mine cut regularly so when I wake up next to my man, I don’t have bed head. I can just run my hands through my hair and go. A good haircut is a great investment.
I’m realizing my abdominatrix days are over. I hate the idea of my guy touching flab on my stomach or pinching what have become known as love handles. It wasn’t so long ago that I was known as The Abdominatrix as a result of making friends do all sorts of ab exercises. Thank goodness that the mighty menopause hasn’t gotten around to turning my arms into bat wings yet and I still have some fine butt dimples. But I did end up with two herniated discs trying to get in super shape valiantly fighting the battle, so may have to give up my superhero moniker at this point.
I’m developing a hand-foot fetish. Nowadays, weekly manicures and even pedicures are high up on my schedule. Because here’s the thing: If he’s going to hold my hand, I absolutely must make sure that he does not have in his possession a gnarly one that looks like I’ve been working under the hood of a car all day. Plus you can’t play footsie with calloused feet. He’s not looking for some dermabrasion as you rub your foot on his leg. I should take stock in Nivea Extended Moisturizer.
I’m letting myself be happy, and it’s making me glow. All this effort has been well worth the trouble. I’ve learned this, and I’ve learned it pretty fast: Boyfriend or not, looking and feeling pretty makes me feel better about hitting the big 6-0. The fact is, as long as perception of my age is different than my actual age, I’m fine. If you’re happy with your life, which I am, age doesn’t matter at all. And I’m very happy. Glowing, even. It’s about time.
Holly Pavlika is an award-winning creative marketing and social media veteran and SVP, Brand Strategy at Collective Bias where she oversees marketing, PR and social strategy. She’s also the founder of MOMentumNation, her blog on marketing to moms leveraging social media.