Say you're a post-divorce, midlife gal who has not been on a date in 17 years. Just say that's your deal. And say you made the courageous choice to accept the offer of a date in the near future.
And say this post-divorce midlife gal is self-aware enough to realize she may require assistance in updating herself in general to prepare for this 17-years-in-coming date.
Who's she gonna call?
If you want the brutal, whole truth nothing but the truth, it's a no brainer. Ask a gaggle of middle-school girls: highly fashion-hair-makeup-conscious middle school girls. Who else is going to tell you The Whole Truth? Who could possibly be a better dating coach to get you back in the game at top speed?
Since my daughter (mercifully) runs with a group of girls who tolerate their embarrassing mothers, I gathered her posse of lovelies and – against all advice from every friend, colleague, co-worker and family member I asked – gave the group an assignment:
Emergency Maternal Midlife Makeover and Dating Coach Session
First, of course, we had to establish rules of conduct. I intoned:
Be honest, but not cruel. Focus only on things I can remake before Saturday night: behavior, clothing, hair, makeup, accessories, general comportment.
Remember my feelings. Do not hurt them. Do not judge me. Your suggestions must be made with empathy and understanding, you 6th Grade girls. Don't treat me like you treat each other. Or other people. Or yourselves. Be kind.
My daughter made a general announcement that made my chest heave with pride and love, my eyes well up with tears.
Remember, she's still my mom, even though this is a total, massive fashion - and everything- emergency.
"Oh, definitely don't cry on the date," one of them shouted at me. "Look at how her whole face puffs up and gets so red. Ugh. Not attractive."
Tip #1: No crying on date.
That was easy. How bad could this be, I thought. I'm on my way.
Where to begin, they wondered out loud? General grumbling and whispery secret-telling.
New rule, I announce: No telling secrets. Makes me feel bad. Very triggering. Reminds me of, well, being a 6th Grade girl and having my friends tell whispery ear secrets and feeling bad.
"I'm worried she's too sensitive to go on a date," another girl noted with great seriousness.
Tip #2: Seek therapy to work out old issues and regain self-esteem before date.
Now we're getting somewhere, I thought. I can totally do that before Saturday. I'm sure they have like, speed therapy or something. I'm on it, I assure them. I got this.
More general grumbling but at least no whispery ear secrets.
"I think we're going to need to break this process up and take it in stages," my wise daughter announces. "It's too big a job for one afternoon."
Tip #3: Create reasonable goals. Define three areas for makeover and stick to them.
We decided we'd done enough work for the day and everyone was hungry so we broke for after-school snack. They locked themselves in her room, the DO NOT DISTURB sign flapping on the door like a fish out of water.
Stay tuned for Midlife Makeover Part II: What Not to Wear (like, ever)
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