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Dreamin' pretty

Published June 02. 2012 09:01AM

Do you ever have vivid dreams and then remember them?

I had one last night. I think it might have come about because I watched "What Not to Wear" for four hours straight and then a new show, "Big Brooklyn Style."

"What Not to Wear" is a show that features fashion stylists Stacy London and Clinton Kelly who give a gal an opportunity to have a new $5,000 wardrobe, hair and makeup/make up make over, all to help them feel pretty.

After "What Not to Wear," a new show premiered called "Big Brooklyn Style."

This lady, Lisa Dolan, a plus-size gal, opened a plus-size boutique in Brooklyn called "Lee Lee's Valise." She designs her own clothes and wants all her customers to feel pretty when wearing them.

(Just so you know, I wasn't just watching TV. I was also painting but I have the TV on while I paint. I didn't want you to think that I just sit around and do nothing but watch TV and eat bonbons. OK. I have done that on occasion, but not last night. But I digress ...)

Anyway, back to my dream. I had won some kind of make-over and the ultimate prize, besides the make-over, was a string of expensive lovely pearls, which would be placed around my neck as the final part of the make-over.

Much like on "What Not to Wear," I received a chance to pick out a beautiful new dress and received a new hairstyle, to help me feel pretty.

I couldn't wait to see what the hairstylist had done for me and as she spun me around to face the mirror, I knew I was finally going to be pretty. Which was very important to me because pretty is a word I never associate with me.

Imagine my reaction when faced with a hairdo that was a cross between the Bride of Frankenstein and Marge Simpson!

Did I rant and rave? Did I throw a tantrum? Did I cry? Did I threaten to sue?

Nope. All I felt was sad. I got up out of the chair and walked toward the changing room, pulling hairpins out along the way.

"Wait! Where are you going?" the Stacy-like hostess asked me.

"Home," I replied.

"Don't you want your new dress? And what about your pearls?"

With wisdom I didn't know I had, I told her, "Keep them. They're not going to make me pretty."

I read an online survey that said women spend an average of $217 on makeup, $417 on body care, $1,069 on clothing and $250 on shoes in a year. All to help us feel pretty.

I know I don't spend that amount on makeup or body care. But since Harry is probably going to read this, I'm staying mum on the clothing and shoes.

I still don't feel pretty.

Vivian Diller, PhD, is a psychologist in New York City. Before that, she was a professional dancer and model. She offers some pointers for a woman to feel pretty. I read them with some skepticism, as you can imagine.

1. Show Confidence Inside and Out. I learned pretty quickly that success as a model wasn't about being the prettiesteveryone was. Or about being perfectno one was. It was about how you carried yourself and how self-assured you appeared. So it is for all women at any age. Holding your head up high, with poise and self-confidence, is probably the number one quality that women say leads to feeling and looking beautiful at any age. (Right out of the gate I flunk. No poise and no self-confidence. Things aren't looking too pretty here.)

2. Focus on What You Do Have, Not on What You Don't. Women who focus on features they like, rather than those they don't, and use them to serve their self-image are more likely to say they feel attractive. (Elbows. I've got really nice elbows. But I defy Vivian Diller, PhD to find a way for nice elbows help me feel pretty all over.)

3. A Radiant Smile Works Wonders. A woman's smile is reported as the single most important physical feature that leads to being viewed as attractive. Women say it conveys what they call their inner beauty. Women talk about using their smiles to bring what they feel inside to their exterior, regardless of their age. A generous smile is the best facelift you can have. (A smile is good. I like that one. Only trouble is when I smile too hard my eyes become slits and then it's hard to see where I'm going and I bump into things. Not pretty.)

4. Reinvent Your Look. Instead of holding onto old definitions of beauty or feeling anxious about change, women who find fun in reinventing their style are able to feel attractive as they age. It's like learning to enjoy walking when you may have jogged in the past or taking yoga in place of Spinning class. A flexible attitude toward beauty leads to the ability to adjust your style and fashion sense and is key to enjoying your looks at any age. (Does getting out of bed in the morning and wearing orthopedic sneakers and stretchy pants count?)

5. Sensuality from Sixteen and Sixty. As we get older, we may leave behind unlined faces and bright teeth, but we never have to leave behind our abilities to connect to others in a sensual way. Women who report feeling attractive as they age say they never forget their capacity to be sensual and hold onto it into their 60s and beyond. (Good one. I can't remember to buy milk at the grocery store. I'm supposed to remember sensuality?)

Thanks Vivian for that "insightful" look into what is pretty, which by the way, Webster describes as "pleasing or attractive in a dainty, delicate or graceful way." I was once described as dainty, delicate and graceful as a bull in a china shop. The pretty points aren't racking up here in my favor.

So, going back to my dream. Have you ever had a dream where you had learned something so profound that you knew you had to do everything you could to remember it when you woke up?

Well, that's how this one was. I learned two profound things, kind of like winning the Fortune Cookie lottery. One-there is nothing out there that can make me pretty if I don't feel pretty inside. And two-never walk away from a free gift of a beautiful string of pearls. There's no sense in being ugly and stupid.

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