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Letters From The Land of Midlife Dating
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To Dye or not Dye
Last night I went on a date. In his profile the man said he is a well know figure and therefore did not put his photo on the web site. I won’t go into a description but I will say not having a profile picture covered a multitude of sins.
However as the evening wore on I found myself enjoying his company. He was smart. He clearly enjoyed a good conversation. I liked him. At the end of the evening I asked him what he thought of our date. He told me he didn’t think we’d be sexually compatible.
How had we’d gone from a first date to our nonexistent sexual relationship? I didn’t want to be rude so I asked him what gave him this impression. He told me, “You are a woman of quality and very pretty. But…..”
What on earth could be behind this but? In front of me sat a man in his mid-sixties. Overweight. He had a receding hair line. And I’m being generous in that description. His voice held the booming quality of a man who enjoyed life, liquor and food. Shouldn’t I be the one worried here about how his body would or would not be sexually attractive to me? Coming out of the shower naked I’d win every time.
Does he want a trophy on his arm? Are we back to the conversation of dyed versus natural hair? From his perspective natural hair could get in the way of social expectations. Should I offer to wear a wig? Joke!
He said, “I’d like you to wear make-up and dye your hair.”
Holy cow! Really? Here we go again. Make-up and dyed hair is sexy? I grabbed a handful of my shiny, curly, silver-streaked hair. I leaned over and handed him my hair. “Feel this!” I ordered. “Does dyed hair feel like this?”
“No.” He rubbed his fingers through my hair. “This feels great. Dyed hair doesn’t feel like this.” He gave me a quirky smile. ‘You got me on this one.”
I pulled on my hair. He held on. I tugged again. He continued to rub his thumb across the strands of my hair with a look of surprise and wonder on his face. I had to forcefully tug my hair out of his hands. He gave an embarrassed laugh like I’d caught him enjoying something forbidden. He said, “I’d still like to see you in lipstick and mascara.”
A deal breaker: lipstick and mascara. Honestly it seems a small concession. I wear colored lip gloss. But the truth is what drove me crazy about mascara is trying to take it off. I woke up with raccoon eyes and pieces of mascara floating inside my eyelids. Baby oil or Vaseline are the only products that did a half-way decent job of taking off mascara. But the substances create their own problems. And I mean half-way in the literal sense. It left flakes under, around and in my oily or jellied, eyes. Oily streaks on the pillow transferred into my hair. And my eyes were bright red with the irritation of floating debris. A mess.
So here I was wearing a body hugging red cashmere dress over a ‘slim and athletic’ body that has practiced daily yoga for over ten years. It is dawning on me that on dating sites, men are willing to say, ‘no fakes lips please,’ or ‘stay away from my money’ and only date me if you are ‘slim and athletic,’ these men have forgotten to clarify another requirement. “All women who apply for a date should dye their hair and wear make up.”
This man can only see I’m not wearing lipstick and dyeing my hair. I would not measure up in his eyes in public or at events we attended. He might even be embarrassed taking me places. It would be a bone of contention between us forever. Eventually he’d coerce me into dyeing my hair. I would not recognize the woman in the mirror and I would hate him.
Remember the dentist? He shivered with fear about getting older. Sometimes when he looked at my hair he winced. It’s enough to wake a woman’s sleeping dragon.
To me, women who dye their hair, too often the colors look garish. Their hair color fights with their skin tone. Lines pop out on their face. It looks harsh.
At yoga there was a woman over six feet tall. Italian ancestry her dark hair was dyed blond worn long and curly. Even her eyebrows were dyed. She looked like a real life giant Barbie doll. What is it with these women imitating Barbie? Her breasts were so big I could not conceive God could grow them that large. On the other hand I couldn’t believe a woman would choose breasts of this magnitude. The whole look was so overblown she reminded me of a female impersonator.
Yet I have watched men chase her across parking lots to ask her for a date. As I stood next to her one man said, “Do you have any friends that look like you?”
One evening at yoga she walked down the hallway and a man asked her, “Are they real?”
She became enraged. Storming up to the front desk she demanded the man be banned from the studio for insulting her.
This is how far away I am from breast augmentation. I’m happy when my breasts shrink a little. It means I’m on target with a ‘slim and athletic’ figure. A boyfriend once said to me, “You are the only woman I’ve ever known who is happy about smaller breasts.”
Okay…back to my date. Hair dye and mascara are deal breakers for each of us. They will predict a sexual relationship…I have no words…We parted after dinner knowing we’d never see each other again. I liked him. But I will wait for the right relationship because I know my body (health) and spirit cannot take another stress filled lifestyle. It is within the crucible of a genuine love, a love functioning well on a variety of continuum, that I have the best chance of survival.
As I said before, based on men’s dating requirements, the only thing I have going for me is the visual; slim and athletic. I can’t tell you how many times men have sighed with relief at first meetings. They say, “You look just like your picture.”
Isn’t beauty in the eye of the beholder? Well, the answer is yes and no.
Your drab sister, who will not dye her hair,