Archive for July, 2011
Water pressure issues required a house call from the utility company. The serviceman was a 40-something. He was well-built, handsome and had dreamy green eyes, but when he left the thing my girlfriend & I couldn’t stop talking about was his teeth. His mouth was full of uncommonly white teeth, a study in symmetry, surpassed only by the sincerity of the way he showed them.
Everyone finds certain traits appealing. I have a weakness for a good smile. Always have. Back in college, on those odd occasions (like Sadie Hawkins Day) when I had to ask a guy for a date, I always chose the guy with the nice smile. I didn’t realize it back then, but it was a smart move, as those who smile are generally better company.
I wrote about teeth several months ago, and have sometimes regretted it. (Oral Fixation) Since that post, some of my guy friends have become apologetic about their teeth. I love good teeth, but also realize everyone isn’t lucky enough to have them. Many factors can prevent us from having the smile we’d like, but because a pleasant smile is about so much more than just teeth, even those with imperfect teeth, can have a charming smile.
A few years ago, a change in my outlook caused me to start smiling more. It wasn’t anything I did intentionally, but as I evolved into a “smiler“, I realized the impact. Smiling does more than change one’s expression, it changes one’s life.
I started paying more attention to others who smile. During that time, I learned things. People who smile look younger and age better. (Smile lines are much more pleasant, than frown lines on a mature face.) People who smile are perceived to be more friendly, approachable and likeable. Smiling makes it easier to meet people and/or make friends. Smiling alters the voice, making us sound more animated and pleasant. When we smile, the body reacts with a mood-enhancing effect. In other words, smiling makes us happier.
Recently, my mood & personality were feeling flat, and I couldn’t figure out why. It was hot & humid, but not enough to sap my energy. I wasn’t tired or stressed. Everything around me was great, yet, I was feeling very blah. Then it hit me–it was the braces. All the new stuff in my mouth had made smiling less natural. I didn’t feel myself, because I hadn’t been smiling as much.
It might seem insignificant, but to those who recognize the complicated mind/body connection, it’s hugely significant. I started to think about the biology of the smile as the subject of a blog post. Writing that post would require delving into the science of stuff that isn’t fully understood. So I turned to the guys at The Perfect Male Blog for help. They expertly decipher the science & psychology of behavior on their blog. Fortunately, they were kind enough to agree to write about this topic for de blog. This made me so happy, I almost forgot about the braces.
Deb’s Note: I am in love with The Perfect Male Blog. The Perfect Male’s perspective is a perfect compliment to the imperfect female’s perspective as given on de blog. Just as de blog attracts many male readers, The Perfect Male Blog, though written for men, is great reading for women too. I am sure you’ll agree when The Perfect Male visits de blog next week. Check out their site and be sure not to miss their take on smiling, next week on de blog.
Overheard in a used bookstore: “The trouble with these books is they’re so literary.”
The remark struck me as funny, but it probably shouldn’t have. Granted, I was in Bullhead City, AZ, but when it comes to books we don’t all like the same things. Some books are good enough almost anyone can enjoy them–as evidenced by the Harry Potter series, but there are many books that aren’t as easy to enjoy. I read lots of books, as a result, I end up reading some that aren’t very good.
When it comes to books, you are either a reader or you aren’t. Because I am a reader, I enjoy combing the shelves of places where used books are sold. I could save money by going to libraries, but that wouldn’t allow me enough time form the same relationships with books. To me, starting a book is a commitment to see it through to the end. Sort of like a marriage, though we begin with a preconceived notion of what’s to come, unless we stick with it, we have no idea how it will end. When a book starts poorly, I keep reading, in the hope it will get better, but as with relationships, some books are just more satisfying than others.
It is my assumption, that most of those who read de blog are probably “readers”, but since nobody has time to read everything, I read books looking for bits of not-to-be missed brilliance, with my readers in mind. (No need to thank me, but I’ve saved you tons of money and time you might have spent reading some awful books.)
Over the past several months, I’ve read dozens of books about men, women, and relationships. A few stand out. If I had a library, instead of using the Dewey Decimal System, I’d use a system like the one employed at a certain store, where I used to rent videos. One of their employees took it upon himself to personally share his opinions about the videos he had viewed. If he had scrawled on the vinyl case, “Clayton recommends”, customers could be reasonably sure the movie was worth watching.
My library would have “Should be Mandatory” sections. I’d chose some books for young people who know nothing of history & politics, and other books for those who believe they know everything of those subjects. I’d probably recommend some books on religion to those who have no faith, and some secular books to those who only read theology.
But who needs a library, when having a blog offers the same egotistic opportunity to tell others what they should read? So since summer vacation is the perfect time to pick up a good book, here’s de blog’s summer reading list. No matter what your current relationship status, there is something for everyone on this list. Not only that, but each book is chock-full of worthwhile for those seeking a new or improved relationship.
Marry Him: The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough – by Lori Gottlieb
This one tops my list because it’s incredibly well-researched and is actually fun to read. Bestselling author, Lori Gottlieb provides answers to why fabulously-eligible women sometimes have trouble finding their dream man. Lori shares her own experiences as she explores online dating services, tries her luck with a matchmakers, and seeks the help of a dating coach. It’s a fascinating look at ways women sabotage their chances with great guys. If you aren’t smarter after reading this book, you might as well just start talking to yourself and collecting stray cats.
He’s Just Not Your Type (and that’s a good thing): How to Find Love Where You Least Expect It by Andrea Syrtash
This book is a natural follow up to the one suggested above. The author suggests that if all your relationships end the same way, it might be because you keep dating the same type of guy. Ms. Syrtash encourages women to get out of their comfort zone, by dating the guys who aren’t their type. (It worked for me.)
The End of Sex, Erotic Love after the Sexual Revolution by George Burr Leonard
Don’t tell anyone, but I like sex. Can’t blame me, I was raised after sex, drugs & rock & roll replaced the mores of my parents’ generations with an openness that changed everything. Suddenly sex was plentiful, cheap & easy. Unfortunately, sometimes cheap lacks quality. When our society traded quality for quantity, it was at the cost of the three M’s–the magic, the mystique and meaning of sex. The author makes a great case for monogamy as a source of exciting challenge and adventure. I read this book every few years, because when it comes to sex, I’m a 3M kind of girl.
Why Men Love Bitches: From Doormat to Dreamgirl – A Woman’s Guide to Holding Her Own in a Relationship by Sherry Argov
The title of this book may be off-putting, but it’s not as it sounds. While women may believe being submissive is a virtue, being too agreeable can subvert a relationship. This book isn’t really about being bitchy, as much as it’s about not being so desperately weak as to allow oneself to be walked on like a doormat. Women, being naturally accommodating, often put up with stuff they shouldn’t. Between the covers of this book is the lesson (or reminder) there is such a thing as being too nice. It’s all about getting respect, because a woman who is properly respected, needn’t be bitchy.
Passionate Marriage: Keeping Love and Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships by David Schnarch, Ph.D.
I’ve read plenty of books about sex, intimacy & romance, but most of them give the same advice . . be open to new things, tell your partner what you like…ZZZzzzzzzzz….If you’re past that, you’ve probably already realized it’s possible to have great sex within the confines of a not-so-great relationship, or a great relationship that isn’t sexually satisfying. This book is for those who want to enjoy both a great relationship and great sex. If sex makes you uncomfortable, this may not be the book for you, then again, it might.
Being a Woman: Fulfilling Your Femininity and Finding Love by Dr. Toni Grant
There are way too many books out there suggesting female perfection will eliminate marital woes. When I came across this book, the photo of the author with her perfectly-styled hair had me fully prepared to be wading through another volume of tips women gave daughters in previous generations. Fortunately, the days of housewives who wore pearls to vacuum are over–if they every existed.
Being a wife or mother in a post-feminist society presents new challenges to the role of a woman. Dr. Grant acknowledges ways feminism has changed our roles, while also realizing women aren’t all the same. She offers suggestions for balancing every aspect of a woman’s multi-dimensional personality, while still being the kind of woman a man will adore.
Okay that’s my list. These savvy books are too good to be returned to the library or sold back to the used bookstore. If you find any of these titles of interest, it is my sincere hope you’ll enjoy them and learn useful things from them. Because I found the first book listed above to be particularly brilliant, I will be sharing my interview with author Lori Gottlieb soon. Lori has written for a host of publications including, Glamour, People, Mademoiselle, Atlantic Monthly, Redbook, Time, Self and Elle. (In other words, this babe has it going on!) In the meantime, I wholeheartedly recommend “Marry Him” to any woman who is frustrated by dating.
Sometimes ordinary people do extraordinary things, and we eat it up with a spoon. We go crazy when we hear stories about things, like school children raising thousands for charities or housewives launching successful companies in between P.T.A. meetings. Unfortunately, we are just as amazed, but much less impressed when extraordinary people do ordinary things.
Amy Winehouse was an extraordinary personality, with an extraordinary talent. The naked emotion in her songs, combined with her unique voice will be the last living will and testament of a life cut short. Sadly, a persona as grandly scaled as her hair, fueled the media and public’s appetite for news of her troubled life, causing some to forget she was an ordinary person who just happened to be extraordinarily talented. Under all that wild living was a troubled girl, who knew she was living dangerous. She knew her path was one of self-destruction, but our media-driven culture shows little compassion toward high-profile personalities, when they wrestle the same demons as society’s lesser-knowns.
I don’t care much about the life & times of celebrities, but the news of Amy Winehouse’s death saddens me. Since my first hearing of Winehouse, I have been fascinated by her roots in North London, her training as a singer, and her descent into ever-darker places. Her foray into music, began at an age when most of us are still trying to figure out who we are. As her voice & talent became the driving force of her life, she hardly had time to develop a foundation solid enough to withstand the challenges of young adulthood. Like many other young stars, she quickly became a victim of “too much, too soon.”
Her music was an exposé of pain; her songs those one would expect from someone who had been around long enough to know stuff it takes a lifetime to learn. Except, she hadn’t lived a long life–she‘d lived a short life on hyper-drive. Death by fast living is cliché, but I have often thought fast living speeds up the hands of time, causing one’s life clock to run out sooner than intended.
If she hadn’t recorded the hit song Rehab, we might have never have heard of her, but she also might have been seen as a more sympathetic character. Some will say she chose her own fate. In songs and interviews she often acknowledged her own self-destructive ways, even suggesting her own death in her early writing. This causes those who would judge her, to ask, why, if she knew she had problems, didn’t she just quit.
Those are the same people who say things like:
Fat people should just stop eating.
Alcoholics should just stop drinking.
The emotionally damaged should just start coping.
It’s all so simple to those who don’t understand the nature of addiction. Those who have been there, will tell you it isn’t so simple. With addictions, the desire to use is constantly battling the desire to quit. That would be struggle enough, without the additional complication of the effects of one’s chosen “opiate”.
No matter how big the personality, sometimes their problems are bigger. The same sensitivity that causes some to be able express what others feel, can also cause pain that seeks to be anesthetized. Michael Jackson, Marilyn Monroe, Karen Carpenter, Ernest Hemingway, Judy Garland are all reminders that talent is of no use in dealing with pain. Considering the difficulty we all experience over incidences of public embarrassment, is it any wonder celebrities crumble under the pressure of having every mistake or misstep scrutinized and magnified by tabloid journalism?
There will always be those who live their lives in unforgettable scale. Amy didn’t wake up one day and decide to become a drug-addled disaster–anymore than Belushi planned to die in a Sunset Strip hotel.
Social media provides a glimpse into the collective reactions to her death. There are those who have already condemned her as her own killer, those who will see her timely induction into the superstar death club with the likes of Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison and Kurt Cobain as a fitting tribute to her talent, and those like myself who will grieve her death along with the sadness that she died before she’d left a bigger discography. The most compassionate reactions will come from those who knew her best. Instead of seeing her, as a train speeding to disaster, they will remember that before cocaine & heroine, there was once just Amy–a nice Jewish girl who went astray, a girl whose dalliances with drugs & alcohol, displaced the life she could have lived.
Almost every woman–and a few men, have cried (or cussed) over their hair. Almost everyone has had the unfortunate experience of leaving a salon light-headed and lighter in the pocketbook, but less-than thrilled with the result.
Hair, good or bad, can be a head turner, but considering that hair is basically dead cells, its amazing how much time, money & energy we spend on it. I find it especially ironic to consider that most of us aren’t nearly as invested in our teeth, as we are our hair. Hair comes and goes. Bad hair is usually a very temporary condition–if only bad teeth were as easily remedied as bad hair–when a tooth (or teeth) went bad, they’d already be growing their own replacement(s).
Of course with teeth style & color options are limited, but with hair there are so many choices:
Short vs. Long
Curly vs. Straight
Natural vs. chemical.
If the style options aren’t enough to keep us constantly contemplating a change, there are all the implications. Our hair can affect how masculine or feminine we seem, how old we appear, or convey how stylish we are–and that’s just the hair on our heads. An abundance of luxuriant hair on the head is good, but on the body–not so much. We may be simultaneously, trying to remove the hair we don’t want while trying to cultivate and preserve the hair we do want.
Because most of us vacillate between loving or hating our hair, we quickly learn the value of a good haircut. A good hair cut can be expensive, but a great haircut is worth the price. Because I just got braces, I can’t afford to have a bad haircut. If my newly acquired mouth full of orthodontic apparatus isn’t enough to leave me feeling attractiveness-impaired, the last thing I need is a bad cut. With braces I’m just one bad haircut away from being something like a “purse-holder”. (For those who have never had the misfortune, “purse-holders” are the girls who are never asked to dance, and therefore stuck watching purses, while their more attractive friends are dancing.)
My hair was due for a change, it was too long. My hair was too long. Short-hair people probably won’t understand that, but take my word for it. There is such a thing as too long, and mine had reached that place about three months ago. Though I was badly in need of a haircut, I was not in no mood for a bad haircut. Taking the philosophical approach, I did the one thing I know that guarantees a good haircut. I got a haircut the no-lose cut–the one that makes me feel good no matter how it looks.
If you are as fortunate as I am to be able to grow long hair, at least once in your life, you should consider donating the stuff that would end up on the salon floor to Locks of Love. Thanks to Oprah, I think everyone in the country knows about the non-profit organization that makes wigs for children who have suffered hair loss due to cancer or alopecia. Because my hair grows quickly, I’ve been fortunate enough to donate hair a few times.
The helplessness we feel when someone we know is affected by illness or cancer is something that we all eventually experience. When there is nothing we can do to change the outcome, we do our what we can to improve outlooks. Donating a ponytail is nothing to someone with a healthy head of hair, but to a individual who is suffering from alopecia or dealing with the challenges of an illness, it could make a huge difference.
No matter how my hair looks today when I leave the salon, I’ll leave knowing I just got a great haircut!
Apologies to the gentlemen readers of de blog, but it’s been over a year since the topic of the “girl talk” blog ventured onto the subject men would rather not read about. Count your blessings. We could justifiably whine about our periods once a month, while sending all men we know postcards (or missiles) from Crankytown, but de blog women have better things to do. Pardon us, as we delve into the one part of the female anatomy that fails to capture men’s imaginations.
I was enjoying the company of a friend I’ve known forever when, in an enthusiastic conversational exchange, he accidentally got me with a bit of spittle. Had he not been so apologetic and visibly embarrassed, I might have teased him. (After all what’s a friendly little exchange of spit between old friends, eh?) Though I was unfazed, clearly, to him it was a less-than-fabulous moment. We all have them.
The best days are those on which we feel fabulous, look fabulous or when circumstances convince us we are fabulous. In a perfect world, women would wake up every day feeling spunky, competent and beautiful. Alas, this is not a perfect world.
Lack of sleep, too much stress, bad hair, favorite jeans in the hamper, or moments of self-doubt can leave us feeling less than fabulous. Still, when it comes to being diva-rrrific, women have all the advantages. We have more wardrobe options and grooming helps than men care to employ. Not only that, but are allowed to play dress-up whenever the mood strikes us. That’s one of many reasons I love being a woman, but there are so many more. For starters, we can cry without having anyone question our sexuality, we carry cute handbags instead of sitting on sciatica-inducing wallets and we can do one thing men can‘t–give birth.
Anyone who has witnessed birth, knows it is a miraculous thing, but the downside of the miracle is approximately every 28 days fertility has a way of posing unpleasant inconvenience. Nothing quite like cramping, bloating or bleeding to diminish our fab-quotient.
Even though it isn’t always possible to feel our best, we don’t have to surrender to everything that would drag us down. I feel the same way about my period, as I do about maternity clothes. It’s bad enough to be in a less-than spectacular condition, without making it worse by wearing dumpy clothes. I want to wear what I want to wear, every day of the month.
That’s why, when I first saw the new panties from Sexy Period, I had to have them. Not only that, but I wanted all my girlfriends to know about them. Once upon a time, women burned their bras to symbolize women’s liberation. Stoke those fires again, it’s time to burn your granny panties.
Smart, confident women have always defined fabulous, but the definition has now been broadened by two women who decided to turn their idea of sexy leak-proof panties into a reality. (Victoria doesn’t know any secrets this good.) I got in touch with the brainy beauties at Sexy Period, and they were more than gracious in offering to help me spread the word. In fact, they are giving de blog readers a chance to win their choice of undies from Sexy Period.
So here’s the deal. Visit http://sexyperiod.com/store/collection/ to check out the goods. Then send de blog an e-mail with a photo of the panties you’d like to burn and a note telling us which smokin’ hot pair of undies you’d like to win. (Style, Cut and Size) Photos will be posted, but we won‘t identify which shameful panties are yours. A panel of judges will select the winner.
Just so we’re clear here, this is serious (and lighthearted). Photos should be tasteful. This is not a solicitation for pictures of women in their underwear. (Lord knows, there are already enough websites devoted to that.) Men may send in photos too, but if any of my gentlemen readers are wearing panties, please lie and tell us they belong to your mother, sister, girlfriend or wife.
The more the merrier, so spread the word by sharing this link: http://www.deblogsite.com/?p=3257
Entering: Contest is open to anyone 18 or over. Entrants must submit a photo of the panties they’d like to ditch in a usable digital format. Along with the photo entrants will be required to specify which style and size of Sexy Period panties, they’d like to win. Entries (note with photo attachment) must be e-mailed to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Photos will be posted in a gallery format on de blog. By submitting a photo, you are agreeing to allow the photo to be used by de blog or Sexy Period for promotional purposes. To prevent panty-pervs from stalking de blog readers, entries will be identified in a way which does not disclose the identity of entrants.
Winning: Finalists will be selected by judges appointed by de blog. Sexy Period will choose a winner from the finalists. All decisions are the sole discretion of the judges from de blog and Sexy Period.
The prize will be one pair of panties (your choice) selected from www.sexyperiod.com. It is the winner’s responsibility to provide a valid shipping address in accordance with the delivery restrictions of Sexy Period. Prize will be shipped directly from Sexy Period via U.S. Postal Service.
Winner will be notified via the e-mail address used for entering, at which time, shipping address will be required. After notification, the winner will have 5 business days to respond. Failure to respond within the time limits, will result in forfeiture of the prize; in which case it will be awarded to another entrant, as selected by our judges.
Deadline: All entries must be received by July 31, 2011, (11:59 p.m. PST)
Photo and slogan “All 28 Days” are copyrighted material are used by permission of of Sexy Period. de blog reserves the right to refuse acceptance of any entry that is deemed inappropriate by de blog or Sexy Period.
Recently, I had the pleasure of spending a holiday weekend with friends in their 70’s. My husband and I enjoyed their company immensely. After the weekend, I found myself envying their active lifestyle. They seemed to have the enthusiastic ability to go anywhere, hang out with anyone, and enjoy everything. I know many younger couples who aren’t as good company.
We are so fortunate to live in an era when older adults are more fit, more energetic and more active than ever before, but some people allow themselves to age before they need to. If I’m fortunate enough to live a long life, I’ll be dyeing my hair an unnaturally youthful color and lamenting the fact that the fashions in the “juniors” department never used to be cut so small. I can’t help it, I come from a very long line of very vain people. I hope to look as good as I can, for as long as possible, without appearing like an amnesiac who has forgotten her true age.
Don’t misunderstand, I’m not crazy about looking older, but I’m not interested in trying to recapture my youth. There is plenty from my younger years I miss, but youth is largely over-rated. With age comes many things that threaten our health and well-being, but looking back on my younger years, I think I’m darned lucky to have survived. By God’s grace, I survived heartbreaks, angst, insecurities, stupidity, countless bad decisions and too many foolish risks.
I am very content with the age I am today, but have little enthusiasm for the “golden” years. As I see it, if youth is Heaven and old age is Hell, I’m in chronological purgatory. It’s an awkward age, but I rather like it here, in this limbo between Forever 21 and AARP. I’d be content to stay here forever, but unfortunately, I’ll soon be revisiting my past. I’m going back to THE Awkward Age.
To go with the arms and legs that have always been a little too long for my body, his week I’m getting braces. Which means, I’m just one bad haircut or acne outbreak away from puberty deja vu. Braces are one of very few things I missed as a teen. Though braces are de rigueur for most teens today, when I was an adolescent they were reserved for families who could afford them or those whose dentitia was bad enough to mandate them. Since I was in neither category, my dentist’s best effort to straighten my teeth, without orthodontics, had to suffice.
I had considered braces a few years ago, because I’d never been completely satisfied with my smile, but as crazy as it sounds, seeing the computer-imaging of my face with a perfect smile, didn’t seem like me. My generous-sized Hispanic teeth, all aligned with perfection, was wasp-y and foreign. On those computer-generated projections, I saw the smile I’d always dreamed of having, but I realized, I liked the one I had just as much. Unfortunately,whether or not we like it, our bodies are continually changing–including our teeth. I had a couple issues in my mouth that continued to progress a little each year. It was time to embrace a new smile in the hopes of having a happier mouth later on. So…this week, I’ll be joining the ranks of millions of adolescents with tin grins.
The preliminary phase of preparation for braces has been more uncomfortable than I’d imagined. I wish I could feel more enthusiastic about the improvements the braces should bring, but right now, I’m just trying to enjoy a last hurrah with fresh vegetables. While my teeth are lining up, like so many tin soldiers ready for inspection, I‘ll be missing chomping on juicy red apples, garden carrots, summer corn, crispy refreshing celery and delicious raw broccoli. Goodbye crunchy & chewy things, maybe we’ll meet again when soup season comes. At least I don’t have to wear headgear.