Look better naked Mood The Struggle

An Ironic Twist of Weight

perfect female body

Earlier I vowed on this blog that I would lose 8 pounds in preparation for the family reunion I’m facing at the beach this weekend.   I figured if the threat of bikini clad South American cousin in-laws weren’t enough to motivate me to get in shape, then making my goal public would.

No cigar thanks to an avalanche at work.  I know exactly what to do to get in shape, but my old frenemies stress, cortisol and procrastination undermined my vanity and rendered my 5’2” 126 lb frame 2 lbs heavier.

My lunch. 3 Reeses Miniatures, 2 Three Musketeers miniatures and one or two Snickers Miniatures.

Hey, I know this isn’t a big deal, but when you’re 44 and spending 72 hours half-naked with other human beings, you need gallons of mojo.

It wasn’t just about the weight though.  I was mad because I let this get the better of me.  I know how I am.  I’ll hang back.  I’ll second-guess my Spanish.  I won’t dance, even after that third drink.  I’ll stay in the kitchen slicing onions.

I’ll be the dumpy person I feel.

So like any rational woman, I went on a Cooler Cleanse 3 day juice fast.  I don’t know if it was the light-headedness, constipation or listening to too much Gotye, but by Day 2 I felt a little…enlightened.

It occurred to me that I’m feeling insecure because for a large part of my life, I’ve thought of my looks as an asset.  One I’ve probably leaned on more than I should, especially when I’m feeling vulnerable.   Which means my looks aren’t merely an asset; they’re armor.

Rusty armor.

But being north of forty there are some privileges I’m not taking advantage of.  Like, the fact that no one is expecting (or wanting) me to be the hot girl anymore.  Sure, I’ll always want to look great, but I have an idea or two about life.   And what’s more cringe worthy than an older woman clinging to her looks like they were her only Trump card in life (um, hey Janice Dickenson).

Which is why I love the badge of formerly because it acknowledges a history of hotness, but moves one forward with elegance instead of desperation.

I also have a weapon I didn’t have 15 years ago; charm-dom.  This is a mash-up of charm and wisdom (it’s not in Merriam Webster, I made it up).  This doesn’t mean you’re the one who dazzles with your blah blah.  Nor does it mean you drop sprinkles of Yoda into every conversation.  Rather, charm-dom is about how you make other people feel when they’re in your company.   It’s about giving up your ego up a bit, making others feel big, special and  facilitating the fun.  Besides, our family is getting older and stuff happens.  And no one will care or remember what I look like, only the fun they had (or didn’t).

Ok, mindset now well-adjusted; here’s how I power up on the outside for the beach.

1. A spray tan from Tamar @ Gotham Glow.   I am so pale, it’s hard to tell where the beach ends and I begin, so this is a must.  Beside, it does more for my cellulite than Soul Cycle.
2. A Brazilian.  Below the belt, I’m usually pretty low maintenance, but there is something about getting this done that makes me like a stripper (in a good way).
3. A fabulous sunglasses wardrobe.  Hides my insecurity in style.

4. Eric Javitz sun hat. With an SPF of 50, the requisite 6” brim and squish-ability, it’s worth every penny.

5. J. Crew Maillot.  The secret here is ruching in the belly area and just enough of a plunging neckline to highlight my cleavage (At least I have that).    And no, this doesn’t look like a Miracle Suit, it’s from J. Crew. (See above)

6. Gauzy cover up in bright color. I like ones that cover just enough of my upper thigh hippy area.  Think of this like a camera filter for your body.

7. A chip-proof pedicure.  I’ve become addicted to those CND UV gels pedicures for my feet.  It’s a more expensive way to go, but its like toe Teflon that lasts forever.  A necessity in open toe season and when you’re tootsies are getting assaulted by sand, surf, shells and life.

8. Luxe beach towel.   Don’t underestimate the power of your surroundings; you’ll look better laying down then having your upper thighs spread out in a beach chair. I like these pastel broad striped ones by Sferra.  Plush, huge and thirsty.

9. A melt-proof beach face.  I skip moisturizer all together in favor of Skinceuticals Sheer Fusion Defense SPF 50.  Then, it’s a touch of Fresh High Noon Bronzer, Bene-Tint on my cheeks and lips, Laura Mercier eye-shadow base, and finally Christian Dior Universal Eyebrow pencil.  Mascara is a waste of time if you like the water, because no matter what, you’ll emerge looking more Goth than Bond Girl.

10. Camera.  The beach has such wonderful light (use a flash for noon) that I can’t help myself.  Plus I love seeing the reaction of people when they see a really great picture of themselves they didn’t expect.

Look out beach and thong loving South American cousin in-laws.  Spanish will be butchered and someone else can chop the onions.


  • Reply
    August 16, 2012 at 8:42 PM

    Try forty f*cking seven!!! Been there, know your pain!

  • Reply
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    Sasha Stubblefield (@CrowsCupCell)
    August 21, 2012 at 4:46 PM

    Hi Becca. Sasha here (from Crows’ Feet, Cupcakes, and Cellulite). Okay, I’ve officially fallen in love with your blog. Your writing style, in two words, kicks ass 🙂 Loved this post. And love your blog concept. It’s official: you’re my new blog crush 😉

    • Reply
      August 21, 2012 at 9:16 PM

      Thanks so much Sasha, that means a lot coming from you!

  • Reply
    October 19, 2012 at 4:08 PM

    Concerning the formerly reference – as a step up from plain, I can pretty much go about my day without any out of the ordinary interference. Not invisible but no spotlight either. Being more on the introverted side, this didnt bother me and made me feel so comfortable that I get weirded out when a spotlight is on me. I may never have head swiveling as part of my day, on the other, I will never really know what it’s like not to have it any more. I remember reading an interview of some older former supermodel and her discussing how it was difficult to interact with people without getting the special attention she used to have before because it was so customary and now it wasn’t. Hate to say it, but considering how male dominated popular culture has tried hard to make older women unnecessary and invisible – it made me feel just a bit more comfortable knowing that I wouldn’t experience the same thing because I was never a formerly. On the otherhand, older women ARE taking more public prominent roles, and the idea of “formerly” doesn’t really register the same way – when women like Christie Brinkley, Jennifer Moore, Halley Berry, Demi Moore, Jennifer Connelly, Jennifer Lopez, Jennifer Aniston, Angelina Jolie, Salma Hayek, Michelle Pfeiffer, Iman are redefining what it means to be an “older” woman. It may be a bit unrealistic for the average woman considering the amount of time and money these women have at their disposal, but the idea of thinking of someone in their 40’s as not hot is kind of dated. Should you be trolling with the likes of Ashton Kutcher for wedded bliss, trying to have babies, and trying to prove hotness against a 20 year old?…well, that’s a bit misguided. But you can certainly have fun on a different level, that doesn’t have to be considered a “formerly”. It’s more stages than anything else.

    • Reply
      October 21, 2012 at 12:01 PM

      Amen, and thank you for your incredibly thoughtful comment.

      I couldn’t agree more and you’ve given some wonderful examples, especially with Salma Hayek who’s got a lot of substance underneath that 32FF chest. I get kinda bummed when I turn on anything on Bravo and see anyone over 40 looking so downright plastic and desperate. And what’s even sadder is that in Hollywood, it seems a lot of women go crazy after 40 (you cited Demi, but Heather Locklear is another and I worry Cameron Diaz is on her way too).

      Maybe formerly isn’t the right word after all. Maybe it’s something that suggests a better phase of life we’re moving into, the things we have to look forward to rather than mourn what’s gone.

      Any thoughts?

      • Reply
        October 21, 2012 at 4:42 PM

        Truthfully – Heather Locklear and Lisa Rinna, are examples of the lost and desparate. Demi Moore BEFORE she hooked up with Ashton Kutcher was what I was thinking off as a positive example in line with the other women. During Ashton Kutcher and after – HOT MESS. Cameran Diaz and her INSISTENCE that she is happier, sexier, more in love with life at 40 – just screams insecurity. I am not saying that she can’t be, I am just saying she seems to be invested in that the rest of the world NOT think of her as shriveling, formerly, single woman with no kids or husband (external male view). Brooke Burke better example of fulfilled: Happy, satisfied, maintaining – moving on, but not letting go. Gwyneth Paltrow, Jada Pickett, – good examples, too. Madonna – BAD role model…get out of your pre-teen daughter’s closet! How sad!

        I don’t think any of these women are saying: I’m gonna let myself go and enjoy the wrinkles. I just think 40’s is too young to think of someone as over the hill and not sexually available or attractive. However, it’s going to be a different kind. Not sure what is out there to describe that but it’s not Cougar…I hate that word. I don’t think it’s a complement at all.

        • Reply
          October 22, 2012 at 10:45 PM

          I actually like Lisa Rinna because she sorta knows who and what she is. I mean for God’s sake she’s the Depend’s spokeswoman now (that’s either extreme comfort in your own skin or she’s got a kid to send to college). She’s never put her self out there as some one who has it all together. But agree about Heather and Demi. To me what was so disheartening is that they had this “I got this” veneer that was totally false.

          Personally, I don’t think 40 is over the hill at all, but it’s how others respond especially when you’re with a lot of younger women, but I guess that’s a post unto its own.

          Anyway, there has to be something better than cougar. I stopped drinking dirty martini’s because I read somewhere it was “the official beverage of cougars everywhere”.

          • fairytalesandcoffee
            October 22, 2012 at 11:05 PM

            You know, I think you are right about Lisa Rinna – I think all the plastic surgery and silicone(?) she put in her lips kind of stuck with me. Truthfully, I was remembering some things from a few years back, so I didn’t rely on any recent coverage of all. I agree it is the “idea” of 40’s to OTHER people, both men AND younger women. I think to younger women – 40’s is the boogeyman. I knew people who were freaking out because they turned 25! Personally, I am just hoping to enter my 40’s the best I can. Everyone get’s there eventually (hopefully), I am just going to make a point to tune out douchey men when I get there while not ignoring reality. Sadly, I do have a preference for younger men (no more than 5-6 years) so it will be very interesting when I get there (forties).

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    November 8, 2013 at 10:30 PM

    As someone who had her first child (unplanned…yeah, I know, I know) at 42, I am sometimes taken aback when I see the hesitance of people who don’t know me and are unsure if I am my kindergartener’s mother or grandmother. So, I tackle it first with, “I’m an old mom…” But, secretly, I think I’m a lot younger than some of the uptight (what is that thing they do: competitive? judgmental?) moms who are in their 20s and 30s. No one knows that I’m really 12. That’s the great part.

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