Walk sexy and carry a big purse.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Larger than life

My version of porn came in the mail this week.
Yep, you guessed it - the latest Lane Bryant catalog. Too early for fall fashion hype, I guess you could call this edition late summer. Inside are big beautiful women wearing the hottest jeans and sizzling lace bras in colors like desert flower and raspberry sorbet.
I've spent a lot of money at Lane Bryant since becoming a size 14 about 12 years ago. There are less expensive places to buy plus-sized clothing, but nowhere else carries larger sizes in the very hottest styles. Dresses, pants, jeans, career clothing, sexy tops for play, jewelry and the best lingerie a big girl could ever ask for - you can find it all at Lane Bryant.
I went to Target last week and was dismayed to find about six disheveled racks of plus-sized clothing shoved into a corner next to the MATERNITY wear. A plus-sized woman and a pregnant woman are FAR from the same thing (thank God), but this is how plus-sized women are forced to shop. We deserve better.
And Lane Bryant knows that. They don't use size 0 women to model the clothing in their catalogs, as I've seen some stores do with plus-sized clothing. No, LB uses curvy women, women whose thighs brush together when they walk, women more like most of us.
The women in the LB catalogs look confident, not guilty that they have a little extra flesh on their arms or junk in the trunk. And when I pull on my favorite LB dress, my sexy denim pencil skirt or LB jeans for a night out, I don't see myself as a large woman. I see myself like those models in the catalog - larger than life.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Beauty Queen No. 1

Today I emerged from the sick house and fixed my hair and makeup for the first time in two days, and did it feel good.
I don't understand women who don't get pleasure out of firing up the straightening iron or applying eyeliner. Maybe Coco Chanel said it best: "I don't understand how a woman can leave the house without fixing herself up a little. If only out of politeness. And then, you never know, maybe that's the day she has a date with destiny. And it's best to be as pretty as possible for destiny."
(And yes, I totally lifted that from Bringing Pretty Back's blog. You all should check her out on my blog list).
I got my inspiration long ago from Beauty Queen No. 1. Mom. Oh, how I loved as she sat in front of her brightly lit vanity mirror, putting on eye shadow in shimmery jewel tones, and smoothing on the perfect pout in brick red or burgundy. I was absolutely fascinated and couldn't wait until I got old enough to wear makeup. She was the prettiest woman alive, without a doubt. Then she would put on her perfume and lots of gold jewelry. To this day, when she spends a night with me, the house smells like her perfume even after she leaves.
It's only natural that I would be the Avon girl 30 years later. My friends see my eyes light up as I bring a new woman into the fold and tell her about the quality products I sell, and show her the eyeliners, shadows and lip colors I wear myself.
I loved those dark, sumptuous lipsticks my mom still wears to this day, and I'm beginning to believe that the love of lipcolor is genetic. I feel naked without my lipstick. I have pinks, purples, reds and browns in stick form and gloss.
A girl's got to have her gloss. I've heard that destiny says pale, pasty lips are a DON'T.
What's the beauty product you can't live without?

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

I'm too old for Cosmo: One woman's story

I've been home from work the past couple days nursing a cold. Much better today, even summoned the energy to whip up a batch of homemade, mashed redskin potatoes that came from a friend's garden.
Yesterday was a different story. Stayed in bed all day with the kind of puny where even your hair feels ill. Now THAT'S sick.
Monday night, realizing the sneezing and itchy throat that had hit wasn't just allergies, I planned for the worst - sick, single woman. When you're married, your spouse can run to the store for juice, chicken soup and Vicks-scented Puffs with lotion. When you're single, you must plan for at least 72 hours of being holed up inside your house, with little or no contact with the outside world, kind of like how the Red Cross recommends preparations for the aftermath of a hurricane or other natural disaster. Hopefully your pantry is stocked and your Netflix movies have arrived.
So Monday night, I bought the soup and Vitamin Water. At the register, I threw in Cosmopolitan and Redbook. Tuesday I was too sick to hold my head up and concentrate on something, such as reading a magazine, for longer than 30 seconds.
But today, on the mend, I thumbed through Cosmo, which I haven't read in years, and realized - not only am I almost out of the 25-34 year old age bracket, I've also aged out of Cosmo!
Apparently "skanks" and "strippers" are words commonly used in Cosmo. The word "sex" appears in four of the nine teases on the cover (including "Sex During Your Period (It's So Worth It)." Yeah, um, no thank you. The articles talk about actors and actresses I've barely heard of. Am I supposed to know who Blake Lively is?
Was I this vacuous in my 20s? I certainly hope not. Which may also correlate with my lack of dating as well....
Redbook is better. More attuned to woman in their 30s. On the back cover is an ad for Vassarette lingerie, showing a beautiful plus-size model. One of the articles is, "What no one ever tells you about marriage." No one EVER tells you how hard marriage is, all the compromise, and willingness to do so, it involves, and how, no matter how hard you try to keep it from happening, you lose part of yourself after you get married.
I still haven't found the perfect women's magazine for voluptuous, fashionable, SMART and childless women, but being too "old" and too fabulous for Cosmo ain't so bad.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Guys, don't shoplift the pootie

A movie I've watched over and over is "Jerry Maguire."
I've been thinking of that scene during which sports agent Jerry (Tom Cruise) is talking with Rod Tidwell, an arrogant football player but loving family man played by Cuba Gooding Jr.
Rod asks Jerry if Jerry "shoplifted the pootie," meaning, took advantage of a vulnerable single mom.
I should state for the record that my pootie has not been shoplifted, but I think men should be barred from taking advantage of vulnerable divorcees. We wear our hearts on our sleeves, hoping for something better than what we've had. We hope to find a man worthy of our friendship and admiration, our biting wit, our cutting-edge fashion sense and our culinary skills.
We are often disappointed.
We had hoped, as survivors of the great battle known as divorce, that we'd emerge from the fight to find a world in which we had grown beyond the hot and cold treatment, the calling and texting one minute, then dead silence for days. In other words, the games that men play. I say men not to bash them, but it truly seems that men are more likely to toy with our trust than the other way around. Come on, we understand we're just friends, we understand boundaries. We don't have to consume you, but some common courtesy would be nice.
It's been two years since my divorce, but I still haven't given up hope of finding a mature man who won't get a cheap thrill out of shoplifting a woman's heart.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The "cool aunt"

Some people may think I'm anti-kid because of my zero tolerance for bad behavior.
I just remember when I was a child, and when my brothers and cousins were small, that on our worst days we were still better behaved than the kids people drag into restaurants, stores and other public places these days. We were taught to defer to adults, to look them in the eye and listen when they spoke to us and to not interrupt when adults were talking. Can't say that about a lot of kids now. (And stay off my lawn too, you little whippersnappers!)
I'm probably a little biased, but my friends' kids are wonderful. Today I had the pleasure of taking 13-year-old Erin, my friend Heather's daughter, to see the Community Playhouse's production of "High School Musical."
My friend Wendy's daughter, Kristen, 15, was in the play. I was bursting with pride to have Erin, who is wonderfully smart and articulate, with me and also to see the talented Kristen singing and dancing on stage.
These kids are good to me. My friend Misty's daughter, Nai'a, along with Kristen, call me Aunty Jenny. They like to pose for pictures with me at get-togethers and Kristen and Erin even think I dress pretty cool.
I loved spending time with my cool Aunt Dawnie when I was younger. She is almost a decade younger than my mom and other aunt and made us laugh by singing us funny songs. She paid me by the page to read to her as she practiced for her stenographer classes. I always loved that. It made me feel special. I'd like to think, because I was the only girl in our four-kid group of brothers and cousins, that I was her favorite.
I may never have children of my own, and that's OK. I'm glad that my friends, wonderful moms themselves, and their children let me play the cool aunt from time to time. I hope I'm carrying on the tradition of my own Aunt Dawnie.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Fat isn't a dirty word

Why is it OK to call someone thin, but fat is considered a dirty word?
"Oh girl, you are not fat," someone will say to me when I refer to my size that way. How else would you describe me? I'm overweight. I'm fat. I'm OK with it.
The other night on Facebook I saw where a friend posted an older picture of herself. In a comment about the picture, she said she hoped she would look that good again after weight-loss surgery next year.
Weight loss surgery can improve a person's health, and I'm all for that. But let me tell you, this woman is beautiful. She is one of the most friendly, open people I've met and I've never seen her without a pretty smile on her face. The paintings she creates are like an extension of her beauty.
I told her that her inner beauty shines, and that makes her beautiful inside and out.
Not that I don't have a similar picture. It's 1995, I'm sitting on the floor of a friend's beach house on Isle of Palms and I'm wearing a bathing suit. No rolls of fat, no extra chin, no makeup and what I marvel at the most is the lack of cellulite on my thighs. I was a size 10 and thought I was fat.
I know I'm fat. I know I need to lose weight for my heart's sake, but I'm thankful I don't feel that pressure to be thin to be physically attractive.
I feel pretty on the inside. It took a divorce to get there, and finding that funny, outspoken, loud and smart woman I was before I got married. A very dear friend saw me not long after I became separated and I'll never forget what she said: "You look beautiful."
So what is beauty? Is it on the inside or the outside? Is it about size or something more? I'd certainly like to believe it's about something much more.
But it doesn't hurt to dress it up in pretty frocks, sparkly accessories and peeptoe heels.

Friday, July 23, 2010

"What a great date," my date said, adding some extra cream to a latte at Starbucks. I agreed, taking a sip from my white chocolate mocha, anticipating the lovely flavor meld from my first bite of pumpkin bread.
I had dressed to impress - a long, multi-print top in pink, purple, gold, turquoise, black and white, over blue jean capri leggings with ruched cuffs, a black crochet shrug and maize peeptoe slingback heels.
We rode in my date's beautiful white Mercedes to Sushi 101 off Providence Road in south Charlotte/Ballantyne to start off the evening. I don't think I've ever ridden in a Mercedes before, and the smooth ride was quite a luxury compared to the bumps and road noise of my cute and reliable, if not so luxurious, Civic.
The sushi menu always overwhelms me. I want to make the perfect choice, and the "fishier" offerings always daunt me, compared to the standard crab, shrimp and avocado rolls.
I wanted to try something new, and opted for a "Professor Vu Roll." Shrimp tempura (fried shrimp) with cream cheese, topped with tuna, crab and scallions. The tuna is what scared me. I also chose unagi, or eel. Eel? Yes, it came highly recommended from some sushi experts but I had always been afraid to try it before.
I also had a cucumber salad - sliced cucumber with crab salad in a delicious, light soy viniagrette.
My date shared with me a spicy tuna roll, and tried the unagi.
Sushi is like art on a plate to me. I love the colors - the pink of the seafood, green from the avocado and the bright orange or red pop of fish roe the color of candy. The sushi I chose this time didn't come rolled in roe, which I missed. I love the texture of the fish eggs, and the "pop" they make as I chew. It feels exotic.
But I loved each bite tonight, and was so proud of myself for trying the tuna and unagi. One of the chefs offered to let us try a bite of octopus, but I was stuffed to the gills (ha ha) already. Maybe next time.
With our overpriced coffees in hand, we headed back to Lancaster. I said goodbye to my date under the yellow moon.
Yes, Joli, we should do girl's night more often.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

I'm a Facebook addict, but have no idea how to do a blog, so bear with me. One Size Fits All will be my place to express my love of clothing and fashion and talk about being a single woman. The title is a reference to fashion, to a woman's love of dresses, shoes and makeup and looking good and thus, feeling good about herself. It's also a hint to the different topics I plan to cover here, from the pain in the neck that is dating, to health, books, art, pets and all the things I love and want to share with you.
It has been two years almost to the day that my husband decided he didn't want to be married anymore. He gave me my freedom, after many years of my working very hard on the relationship. I just couldn't do it anymore, and to move into my own place again was a relief.
It doesn't mean being on my own again, after seven years in that relationship, was easy. I felt bad about myself on the inside. A turning point came when I had my own art show in Lancaster. I wore a dress for the first time in forever. I looked good. I felt good. And that began the transformation.