Date cake with a shot of reality, please

I was a mess. My mind was a mush ball of rampant thought patterns that wigged out loud at the face staring back at me in the dresser mirror in my bedroom at the very concept of entering the dating game again at 50 years old.
And yet there I was posing, scrunching, pruning, and pouting—and having the countless open-ended conversations with myself about meeting him for dinner.
Do I shave my legs, wear extra underarm deodorant, cologne, or “au natural,” and what top should I wear?
Should I duct tape the “Buddha?” And what if I forget to pluck the radical chin hair and stragglers on my upper lip?
Do I paint my toenails, get a manicure, and colour my hair or just pull out the grey ones?
One thing I knew for sure. It was going to be a date worthy of an eyelash curler and waterproof mascara. I don’t get out much and thus have little practice in the art and polish involved in using such enhancements.
As the matter of fact, I think the last time I used an eyelash curler was an evening in 1972 when my parents were out of the house. I snuck the little silver tongs out of my mom’s drawer in the bathroom and clamped them to my eyelashes.
She would never be the wiser.
Of course, I didn’t factor in that there is a right way and a wrong way to use an eyelash curler. In an instant, my left eyelashes were curled downwards to the floor and I couldn’t see out of that eye while the right eyelashes were bent like a crooked staircase because I didn’t position the clamp close enough to the roots.
I looked like Quasimodo’s sister.
And as I discovered the other night, some 38 years later, I haven’t really improved my outcome much. I should have read past the #2 tip of the online article, “How to Use an Eyelash Curler” by Julyne Derrick.
I turned on my blow dryer and heated up the eyelash curler before applying it to my eyelashes—having no idea that I wasn’t supposed to put the waterproof mascara on until after I’d curled them.
There was a sudden moment of panic that I liken to getting your fingers accidentally stuck together with Krazy Glue. I realized in wide-eyed terror that I had fused the mascara-laden lashes of my right eye to the curler.
I rushed back to the online article, bent over my laptop with the silver metal tongs hanging from my face, and re-read the instructions—hoping all the while that my Skype friends didn’t hail me just then and activate the video camera lens on the computer screen.
“Never curl lashes after you apply mascara—as the mascara dries, lashes can stick to the curler and be torn from the roots.
I didn’t know what to do other than jump in the shower and hope for the best. I had a full face of makeup and the best hairdo of the week, and it was all washed down the drain to save my lashes from the evil eyelash curler.
I came away unscathed and started the process all over again, muttering under my breath all the while that for all the trouble I was going to, the guy had best be worth it.
I had “been there, done that” and for Heaven’s sake, you’d think that by this time in my life I would know what I did and didn’t want in a man partner.
After all, times also had changed.
This date cake was an interview process, right? The kind of interview where I hand him a card at the beginning of the evening that states, “Please apply for this job only in the manner specified by the employer. Failure to do so may result in your application not being properly considered for the position.”
Another card would be presented that listed all the Essential Skills necessary to do the job, including critical thinking, problem-solving, significant use of memory, and continuous learning.
I walked out of the bedroom head held high, suave and smooth in my “Bodywear by Ganz” and waterproof mascara.
My two-year-old granddaughter was standing in the kitchen with her mother. I said matter-of-factly to the little fry, “Don’t you think I’m cute as a button?”
Julie just looked at me and chirped, “You are silly. You’re not a button, you’re just my Granny.”
Out of the mouths of babes.

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