There are some great things about having a mid-life crisis. But as with any shitty gift from the Universe, the benefits are not immediately apparent. I go through the same process before I get it. Which looks like this:
1. Freak out because some part of my life sucks and I can’t take it anymore.
2. Wallow around Whole Foods until I see an eye-catching poster for a self-help guru, healer or workshop.
3. Make a list of things that make my life suck.
4. Fix those things.
Don’t ask me why I repeat these steps over and over. The big Ah ha is always the same: self-care is the first phase along the path to salvation.
This time around, I sign up for a watercolor class – as you know.
Just taking that first step opens me up to even more random and surprising gifts.
During the class, I have a chance conversation with a fierce and beautiful Brazilian woman who puts me onto the wonders of gel nails. This turns out to be the answer to a lifelong nail-biting problem, which I’ve identified as a metaphor for my confidence issues.
I hide my chewed up fingers by balling them up into fists. When I point at something, like a menu item, I use my elbow. When some driver cuts me off, all I can do is stick out my tongue, like a loser.
Until now! These new gel nails are glossy, unblemished and red. Today at the deli counter, I let my fingers linger over the ham I request. “I’ll take 150 grams, please.” And gesture like a model on the Price Is Right. I proudly use my middle finger to flip off anyone I want.
Then a few days later a woman calls to tell me she’s found my keys. When I show up late to collect them, I explain that I can’t run without peeing my pants. It just so happened this woman is a vagina rehab and fitness trainer. A detail I would never have discovered, if I didn’t inappropriately overshare. I trade copywriting for a core-building workshop. Now, being late or smelling like piss are two fewer things I have to be sorry for.
As the benefits of this core work begin to show and my waist reappears, some bravery kicks in. I stop acting so much like someone’s mother and more like the person I am under all that yelling and heavy lifting. I’m becoming more Me.
So it shouldn’t be surprising that the next time I go out, someone hits on me and insists on buying me and my friends drinks.
The whole scene reminds me of college, except instead of some dude offering shit mix or rum and cokes, he’s buying Grey Goose and Hendricks.
I can no longer feel good about encouraging men to buy drinks or anything for that matter. It goes against my feminist sensibilities not to mention my marriage vows. I would never encourage this man to join us if my brain isn’t so busy with the following thoughts:
1. He’s hitting on Alice.
2. No, it’s me.
3. Is it possible I’ve still got it?
4. I think I’ve still got it!
4. Maybe it’s because I finally replaced every pair of period-stained panties with hot ones from Victoria Secret.
By the time I make it through that internal dialogue, this charming man has ordered a second round. I just go with it. When will I ever hear so many compliments? Who will ever again find me so interesting? This drunken belief that dating rocks over my marriage lingers until…
My husband gives me shit for losing another set of keys.
I scream: “Well, some people find that quality attractive.”
“It’s true! I get hit on all the time. Maybe you shouldn’t get too comfortable. I’ve got options!”
When I call Alice later that day to complain about the man I’d married, the topic of options comes up.
“Did you even see the guy?” Alice asks, eyes narrowing into slits of disbelief.
“He was short, fat and boring as shit. He was like 70 and talked the whole time about his prostate.”
It totally figures this is the type of man I’d attract.
It’s possible that my new underwear and gel nails made me see the world for a brief moment through fuzzy, wishful thinking glasses. But the positive effects still linger. Thank God, so too does Alice’s common sense.