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Fitting Room Therapist

prettyI hate shopping.

Unless it’s for Christmas decorations, special baking ingredients, or helping my kiddo pick out something he really wants, I’d rather be a zillion other places.

The stop at the shop was a fly-by on my way home from day twenty-something in a row at work.

In the harsh direct lighting of the fitting-room cubicle, I was left alone with my naked self, and worn out panties.

There’s something about being naked with myself that shakes me down.  All of a sudden, I am face to full-length face with a three-quarter, panoramic view of my bare tushie. It makes me sweaty and anxious. Not ideal.

I wear suits to work, and jeans at home. Rarely do I do anything any more that doesn’t involve work, sports-mothering, or getting cozy with my keyboard, and literary obsession.  When it comes to love-making, unless I’m in a relationship, sex-o-the-day seems like a waste of wardrobe. Light candles and answer the door naked is my philosophy.

But I’m getting off-track darlings. Let’s go back to the stale air of the fitting room cubicle. I have to travel next week. For work. It’s a casual environment, but not so casual I can wear my yoga pants and Parrothead t-shirts.

In the harsh light, with one knee high rolled half-way down my calf, and my spare tire glowing in the fluorescent lighting, I let myself admit just how tired out I am.  “I’m dehydrated, tired, and coming down with a cold“. Immediately my internal therapist gave me permission to go home and rest.

Years ago, it would have been a very different internal voice.  years ago, I would have berated myself for not living up to the physical ideal that we know all ‘worthy’ women hold themselves too.

Years ago, I made a quick stop into the mall between work and going home. I had the rare, single-parent luxury of working late  (please don’t miss the irony in that statement). So depressed about my own body image, I made myself stop for a glass of wine.

I was so tired out, the wine made me tipsy, and when I get tipsy, I get happy and giggly. Suddenly all was right with the world, and the shopping mall I was in. I was feeling so good that I meandered into Godiva and treated myself to one of my favourite things in the world; a milk-chocolate covered marshmallow.

I then made my way to A favourite store. When the unsuspecting saleswoman asked if she could help tipsy ol’ me, I took her on a tour of the shop, pointed to everything I liked and instructed her to bring it to me.  All in XL.

I sat my naked body down in the fitting room and savoured every bite of my milk-chocolate covered marshmallow. When the saleswoman timidly asked how madam was doing, I managed a slurred and sticky, “Splendid”, between licking the last of the melted chocolate off my fingers.

I’ve become a whole lot more comfortable in my own skin since then. That drunken evening of not-giving-a-rat’s-petunia in the fitting room was a turning point for me.

If you’re a happy drunk, I highly recommend tipsy-toodles shopping as step one in your quest for fitting-room-freedom. It’s a whole heck of a lot better than berating and hating yourself.

Today I happily  made my purchase (sober), and then drove home with the windows rolled down and the dulcet tones of Willie Nelson blaring full-blast. I’ve come a long way since that day I felt so sad and unworthy that I needed some hooch to get me through the whole fitting-room ordeal.

Who is that blonde-haired, well-turned out woman with the awesome taste in music,” I could hear the man in the jeep next to me thinking as he eye-balled  the Willie-Nelson-mobile while we were stopped at red light.

She’s a woman who’s come a long, long way“, I thought to myself as I stepped on the gas. It was time to go home and rest. This old bod has been good to me, and it’s time to love it back.

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Christmas Style

" A girl should be two things; classy and fabulous."~Coco Chanel~
” A girl should be two things; classy and fabulous.”
~Coco Chanel~

I’m a classic kinda gal. I like to buy simple things that stand the test of time; clothing, china, furniture.

Coincidently, that’s how I like my men – simple, classic lines and here for the duration, or until the bubbly wears off, either one, depending on just how simple he is.

But I digress. I give you a few thoughts on Christmas style.

1) As always, function trumps beauty. High angle view of a young woman lying in snow making a snow angelIf you are dressed to the nines for a walk in the woods, a skating party, or skiing, no one wants to spend time with you. Dress for the occasion; black tie – wear a tux, formal – a suit and tie, active and outdoors – dress warmly and carry tissues.

2) Sparkles. Unless you are a six-year-old girl sparkles are gauche. Ok, I’ll give it to anyone up to and including 18 years of age but that’s it. There is nothing worse than being scared to death like I was this morning by a septuagenarian duded up like a sparkly, blue, whale at Starbucks. Ooga-booga, I almost lost my nog-latte. I was terrified sea-weed or a mermaid was going to drop out from under the sequins.

johnny depp3) Men and scarves. Avoid any fabric that even has a hint of shine. Something manly, a light cashmere in a warm tone of blue, grey, brown, green, or even eggplant. Simple, classic, and very sexy. An investment you’ll never regret. Of course, if you’re Johnny Depp or Stephen Tyler, anything goes.

4) Costume jewelry. Who cares, it’s fake. Go all out, and entertain yourself. At a certain age, no one looks that closely other than yourself. Indulge your feminine love for sparkles here and make yourself happy.

5) Boots. I love boots; sexy, sleek, stiletto-heeled boots. I also like not having a concussion. Again – dress for the weather. Switch footwear if you have to, before heading indoors, and be sure to carry a shoe/boot bag for such occasions. It also helps to have a wonderfully strong, handsome man drive you to your destination so you can be dropped off at the door while he hunts for a parking spot, and then wades his way through the ferocious weather to be by your side.

6) Undies. They add an extra layer of warmth. Optional for your cozy romantic night in by the fire.

channing-tatumin hat7) Hats. Go 20’s style ladies, with lovely lipstick. Also, avoid men wearing tams, toques with ear flaps, anything with tassels and ball caps. Ball caps are adorable, they’re just not winter adorable. Not even Channing Tatum can carry off a stupid hat.

8) Red dresses, like red coats and nighties, scream, ” I need attention! Please, oh pretty please, won’t you look at me.” With a pout of course. winter whiteBe classy and wear something with great lines, a dark colour, and punch it up with some classic pearls or gold. Winter white works well too.

9) Cafe attire. To encourage a hospitable atmosphere, shake the snow and slush off your pretty little tootsies before stepping inside. Make sure you layer because it can get pretty chilly with a door opening and closing. Scarves are de riguer.

10) Babies and dogs. The more adorable and silly the better. Please stop dressing your children like small adults. They are not adults, they’re kids. They are not extensions of your busy, professional self, they are little people who like to play.bunny suit

Wishing you comfort and joy this Christmas!!!

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Ten Man-Wardrobe Yummy’s!

   You’ve been educated as to the top ‘Ten Man Wardrobe No-No’s, now it’s time for a list of the great things you likely already possess that women love to see you wear.

1) A clean crisp T-shirt. Not one obviously chosen because it clings to your pecs. If  you’ve deliberately chosen a tight shirt, we assume you’re arrogant and not gal-worthy. Just a clean, neat T.

FYI – yes, I am going to use as many images of the yummy Mr. Tatum in the post, just for inspiration. Trust me gents…if we adore you, you will always look this good in our eyes 😉

2) A great bathing suit. Not an eensy-weensie-budgie-smuggler, but a manly suit we can picture you lounging in. Nothing too fancy, just a very simple, suit.

3) A short haircut. Ok, not exactly something you can hang in your closet ( I hope!). But short, neat hair is manly hair, and, I must admit I have a thing for a neat hairline at the back of a man’s neck. Oh my!

4) Boxer shorts and T-shirt to wear while you’re making us breakfast. There’s nothing sexier than watching a man cook for you while enjoying your morning coffee. I suggest something like this;

My apologies, I couldn’t find one of Mr. Tatum cooking my breakfast, but this will do. Just imagine the boxer/t-shirt breakfast combo.


5) A ball cap. All men look kind of sexy-sweet in a baseball cap. It makes us want to take you home and show you the bases.

Man with baseball cap

6) A space for our stuff. You know, just to let us know we’re welcome. Kind of like the drawer we clean out, or share with you in our bathroom. If you want us to bring our sexy little night-wear, you must create a space.


 7) A suit. That fits. Yes, I get it, you want to be a ‘man’ and non-conformist, but trust me on this one. Women want to be taken lovely places and be escorted by a gentleman. We do not want to be taken everywhere with someone looking like they bought their suit for high school graduation and never bothered after that. Let us enjoy knowing you made an effort too. It makes taking that suit off of you so much more sumptuous!

8) A baseball, hockey or football jersey. No a tight cycling jersey does not count. They are gross. Look manly for us…take us to a game…buy us a beer and let us snuggle next to our manly man.

9) A signature scent. Not a cosmetics counter full of man-make-up, just one lovely signature scent.



10) A heavy coat, boots and gloves. Not sexy you say? Well, to us gals, that means you’re ready to save us from having to clear the snow or do any very cold work outside. This way, you get to be our manly men, and we get to keep the home fires burning, maybe even take a nice hot soak with a lovely gin and tonic so that you have something warm to snuggle up with when you come in.

M-65 US Army Parka with Hood


Ten Man-Wardrobe No-No’s

…in public or when there is any risk of being seen in public…

1) Rokusaku Fundoshi  – basically traditional Japanese underwear for men. Most men from the 70’s would refer to it as a banana hammock or budgie smuggler. Although it is recognized as a traditional garment, it is still occasionally used as swimwear. No one, not even my beloved Johnny Depp or hot young lover could get away with this.

A man wearing a red rokushaku fundoshi (front ...

Japanese man in a traditional swimwear Fundosh...

2) Keen, closed-toe sandals. Just ugly. I don’t care how rugged, practical or comfortable they are. They make you look either like a geriatric or an over-sized, hairy toddler.In my opinion –  just, no.

My New Keen Sandals

3) Wife beaters – also known as muscle shirts or singlets. No matter how buff you might be, any man wearing a wife beater is perceived to look like this;

4) White sweat socks. This is a particular aversion that I have, and can tell you gents out there that white sweat socks, if worn under any other circumstance than in the gym or running are extremely emasculating.

5) Skinny Jeans.  Skinny jeans do not flatter a man’s figure, no matter how tall, small or magnificent. Rock stars are the only exception. Chances are you look more like this guy than a rock star.

Street Fashion - sf - Jasper

6) White shoes. Maybe on the golf course in Florida if you’re over 75.  Perhaps running shoes worn for sport ONLY. That’s it. No other exceptions. Wearing something like this says two things; you’re trying too hard, and you could never put your gal’s needs first.  Most women hold out for a guy with less Peter-Panish, Sicilian-Mafia shoes. 

 7) Fabric/Leather/Hemp necklaces. Just plain tacky. Unless you are Channing Tatum, and all we want you to wear ever is a small twist of leather, please don’t try to be cool. Trying to be cool is not cool.


 8) Bikini underwear. Yes, ripped guys look good in ads, but no woman wants a manly man in her bed wearing these itsy, bitsy, flitsies. Just ew.



9) Overalls. Unless you are Channing Tatum and we’re picturing you naked anyway….never, never wear overalls.  Even a young Ashton can’t make the overall, wife-beater look attractive. Sigh….


10) The murse. I know, I know, technically this is not an item of clothing it’s an accessory. There’s the rub. Men do not come with accessories. Real men come with raw, masculine sex appeal….not a bag full of girly kitsch.

Man Purse / European Carry-all


After great research  I came up with this list with the assistance of thousands (or so) of women who are experts in what makes a man attractive or not. The above ten items fall in the ‘or not’ list.

Creative Writing · Entertainment · Fashion · Girl Stuff · Health · Life · Men's Issues · Relationships · Singles · Uncategorized · Women's Issues

How to Pick up Beautiful Beach Babes; A Reflection on Bogus Beach Bag Essentials

Bundesarchiv Bild 183-15781-0011, Ahlbeck, Url...
Bundesarchiv Bild 183-15781-0011, Ahlbeck, Urlauber am Strand (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Adam Levine’s glossy, seductive eyes look out at me from the cover of Details June/July issue. He’s looking down at me from a magazine rack at my local bookshop.

Mmm, tall, I like that. I am drawn into his gaze. What, with his thin lips parted as if his tongue is ready to caress my lips, I take the magazine from the rack, and hold it to my buxom bosom. Tonight you’re mine Mr. Levine, and I’m going to have my way with you.

In the “Getaways” section on page 54, the magazine expounds on, “The New Beach Essentials”.  There are 14 items on the list, and it does not include ice, a cooler, or beverages; three things that any wise man would take to the beach. Wisdom by the way gents, is the first step in being irresistible to the fairer sex.

I’m going to break it down for my very yummy male readers – the good things on the list, and the stupid things. After that I’m going to give you a few of ANDSHELAUGH’s own tips on how to be a Beach Stud, regardless of the abs you’re packing.  

Let’s start with the not-so wise suggestions;

1) A designer towel. Price tag – $145.00. No woman wants to spend time with a man who wastes $145 on a towel. Grow up.

2) Canvas slip-on shoes. I did grow up on the beach. Canvas slip ons are a great way to walk the boardwalk or sidewalk, but not the actual beach. Nothing is attractive about sand weighing down your shoes, making you walk like a penguin. Wear flip-flops or, if the sand isn’t too hot, let your footsies go naked. It’s a great way to smooth calluses so that when you snuggle under the stars later with your beach babe, you can flirtatiously rub her legs with your smooth feet.

3) Pleated shorts. N.O. No, because you should be in a bathing suit. What kind of man packs a freaking wardrobe for a day in the sun? Women don’t want to be with high maintenance. Women want to be cuddled and loved, and have someone to carry their bags.

4) A warm pull over. Why would you need a woman after the sun sets if you have fleece. Be careful of the signals you’re sending. Fleece=I don’t need you to come cuddle me with your soft female body. 

5)A camera that costs over $8,000. Are you serious?! You’ll just look like a geek with an odd camera because no one would ever know you’re sporting that kind of bling at the beach, and for $8000 wonderfully intelligent women would realize what a dork you are for not, at the very least, demanding it be water-resistant.

6) Casual button-down shirt. Again – please gents, don’t bring the wardrobe. Egomaniacs are not sexy.

7)Skin care, facial moisturizer and cooling mist. Hello man-purse. Sunscreen is enough. Not all three kinds they recommend, just one tube my lovelies, otherwise we will assume you are not looking for women.

Wise suggestions;

1) A beach towel – just not one that costs more than, say $30 at the most. It’s going to be in the sand all day after all. Plus, the goal is to get it a bit dirty rumpled  if you meet the right beach babe and she wishes to (ahem), share it with you.

2)An oversized tote to carry your gear in. It’s recommended here that you bring canvas, but women like ‘rugged’ men who come prepared. Try a waterproof kind from an outdoors shop. MEC for instance.

3)A hat. Not the Henry-Fonda-from-On-Golden-Pond-bucket-hat that is in the magazine, but a ball cap. Please avoid the over-done, ultimately red-neck-tacky straw cowboy hat. Cliche.

4)A soft crew-neck T-shirt. Yes. We like  to snuggle into a fresh, clean shirt after spending the day in the sun.


6)A good book. Nothing is a better conversation starter than; “What’s that you’re reading? Is it any good?”

7)Fast drying swim trunks. Yes, we do not want to see a clinging silhouette of your shriveled, fresh from the sea wiener. We like the illusion that loose and flowing fabric lends to your man-pack.

8)Lip-balm. Keep’em soft and supple boys ’cause if you do it right, you’ll be using those babies later.

Other beach must-haves for men at the beach who wanna get with the girls;

1) Music. Something you can play later if the mood is right.

2)Shower kit – you know soap. So you can rinse off between daytime in the sun and sand and a night on a blanket under the stars listening to the waves. A small, clean towel is handy too.

3)A blanket that you “keep in the car for emergencies”.

4)Lighter – so you can build a fire in the dunes. Safely of course.

5)A cooler filled with ice, water, and perhaps some lovely bubbly, you…”…happened to pick up on the way, but don’t mind drinking now”. If you don’t have cups, you’ll find a way to get it to one another’s mouths.

6)Your phone, so you can program her number. That way, if you must, you can break out a bit of the man-wardrobe on a real date to let her know you are stylish AND ruggedly practical.

7)A ball, or frisbee, or other sporty piece of equipment you can play a game with. What better way for us to see you in action, and you to see us?  I hear working up a sweat is a powerful aphrodisiac.

There you have it my fabulous, gorgeous and lusciously sexy beach boys. That’s the list. Follow it, make some small talk, and I guarantee you’ll be a hit with the ladies at the beach this year. If that fails, call me. I’ll be at the pool.

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To ‘C’ or Not to ‘C’, That Is the Question

“My husband said ‘show me your boobs’ and I had to pull up my skirt… so it was time to get them done!”
~Dolly Parton~

In a red-neck version of a Gomer Pyle accent; “When God was giving out brains, you must have thought he said boobs and asked for double! Hahahaha.” Very funny. Very witty indeed. This was the kind of thing I heard every.single.time. I saw my uncle and one of my more educated neighbours just as I hit puberty and my breasts were beginning to ‘blossom’. Hooray for small town livin’.

I grew up pretty rough and tumble, and by that age, nothing surprised me any more. I was taught from a very early age to stand up for myself and dish talk like that right back to whomever had sent it my way in the first place.  It was common for older male relatives (cousins), and classmates to make fun of you the first few weeks you had to wear a bra. They snapped the strap, tried to unclasp it, and made public announcements in an effort to embarrass you. I was embarrassed, but I was even  more irritated that my body had betrayed me in such a way.

Now I had to wear an extra layer of scratchy, sticky clothing. Thanks a lot boobs! I resisted wearing a bra as long as possible after I made my first humiliating trip to the pink and white section at the local Woolco. I remember my mother making me try the darn thing on and then reaching under the band to make sure it fit properly. I hated her for that, but it’s the very thing I would do today if I had a daughter.

Until my mother finally put her foot down and said I was NOT allowed out of the house without getting the girls under control, I was still innocent and free. The first day I wore a bra to school, I was in grade 6. I wore a white polo shirt and my favourite pair of yellow cotton pants. My hair was dirty blond and tightly Toni-permed to  my head. I still had a gap between my front teeth, and enjoyed playing marbles and baseball  at recess. I could not stand pig-tails, dresses or leotards. Needless to say the addition of an over-the-shoulder-boulder-holder was not a welcome addition to my wardrobe. I wore it in  the same indignant way that I wore rubber galoshes. It took years before I frolicked in lingerie stores and loved wearing frilly things that made me feel sexy and confident. 

 When I was 11, a brassiere was torture. All of a sudden when I was bent down with my hands in the dirt eyeing a shot, vying for someone else’s pretty or biggie it became a big deal that at girl was beating the boys at marbles. I was the only kid at school who had two whole McDonald’s happy meal buckets full of the spoils of my shark-like marble playing. Who needed boobs when I had two buckets of marbles?

But soon the subtle brassiere line in the back of my shirt started to part the sea of the sexes even further. I’m sure it was an ill-timed bra snapping that instigated the garden hose incident with my Grandma’s neighbour boys. They were around the same age as my cousin and I (we both had big boobs at an early age). We wrestled them to the ground and tied them together with an outdoor electrical cord, and then stuffed the garden hose somewhere in the fray, turned it on, and ran like heck, leaving the two boob commentators to reflect on their boyscout knowledge of knots. My grandmother likely watched what was going on from her kitchen window thinking, “Them’s my girls!”. My grandfather would have given us the dickens, except my grandmother scared the bejesus out of him.

And so it went. My breasts became my primary identifier. You know, that girl with the blonde hair and big boobs. Not the girl who worked at the store, the girl who wrote for the newspaper, not the girl who was the astrophysicst….oh wait, I’m fantasizing.

Throughout  the years I spent partying in clubs with my friends who said they were going out with me and ‘the girls’ to get a few free drinks, my breasts were front and centre like good little soldiers. It was a rare night that some inebriated genius wouldn’t come up to me and say, slurring and slobbering, “You’ve got great tits.” Really? I hadn’t noticed. Someone give this guy an honorary degree to the University of Dumber than Doorknobs.  My usual response was, “Well, don’t just stand there! Buy the girls a round,” and they did. Round after round of Gin and Lime, Cosmopolitans, Double Martinis and Ameretto Sours were bought in an effort to get a feel of the glands that balanced in my overpriced, hard to find super-duper cup-sized bra.

In the past, while trying to have a serious discussion with a (male) coworker, leaning across the photocopier in heated debate, one of my nipples touched the ‘start’ button, startling us both, and making a zillion unwanted copies. I have sat through meetings with buttons popped open from boobs too huge for buttons. Imagine trying to design an entire wardrobe around shirts that don’t button?!  I have been pawed by all ages of babies thinking I’m the milk truck, and almost tempted to punch drunks in the teeth for reaching out to touch them. Big boobs take on a life of their own.

To be honest, my experience in being over-chested is that people think you’re; sleazy, fat, lazy and easy. Sometimes, people would have been right, because we’re all a little of those things once in a while.  But I’m tired of carrying them around.  A number of women in my family have chosen to have breast-reduction surgery, and I can relate to wanting my girls cut down to size.

Just tonight two women of the blue-perm set approached me at a meeting to make small talk, and even their eyes bowed to the girls first. 

I’m tired of running every day and having my boobs feel like bruises when I take my over-priced, size flipping-huge bra off. I’m tired of paddling with my left tit sticking out the armpit of my life jacket so I don’t get chafed. I’m tired of my neck popping and hurting, and carrying around this natural blessing that I didn’t ask for…AND…I’m also damn thankful I have healthy ones.

I’m not sure what going under the knife would mean, but I am pondering it. To ‘C’ or not to ‘C’, that my friends, is the question.

Fashion · Girl Stuff · Life · Relationships · Singles · Women's Issues

Friends Don’t Let Friends Get Ugly

Friendship, Göteborg, Sweden
Image via Wikipedia

Friends don’t let friends get ugly. And so it came to pass that I went to M.A.C. with one of my besties as part of an evening honouring our tenth year of friendship.

We looked at stunning glosses and cream sheens, eyeshadow, opulent brushes, plumper and liner. We popped into Godiva and secured chocolate covered strawberries and key lime bon-bon accessories.

We had side-by-side mani-pedis done, taking fifteen minutes to choose just the right colours for one another.  We even stopped off afterward to buy new shoes to show off our pretty toes.  My pal, let’s call her Charlene, picked out my outfit for the evening; open-toe stiletto heals with cute satin straps, tights with a mini skirt, and my shiny, yet-to-be-worn-still-had-the-tags-on-it-silver-and-black sparkly tank top.  My breasts were dazzling. They looked like two disco balls just waiting to break out and boogie.

Charlene picked through my closet and make-up table. She made herself at home with my hair products and flat-iron. She even spritzed on my perfume before we headed out the door. She looked amazing in her blue top, jeans, new shoes and fabulously lush brunette hair.

This make up and primping is the equivalent of men bonding while watching a sporting event together, or tackling handy-man-around the house jobs. These relationships build confidence in our “gender identity” thereby making us confident hunters of our mates. In other words,  when  gal-pals complement one another on an outfit;  shoes,  make-up, jewelry selection, it makes them feel like, “Hey. I’m doin’  ok here despite the extra baggage of a few added years”. We don’t really “hunt” mates any more. That’s long gone, with one of us being married, and the other being unlucky in love and a cynical hopeless romantic all that the same time, but we still want to feel desirable.

So we celebrated our tenth year friendship anniversary in the city. We bought the appropriate “tin” gifts to mark our tenth anniversay. Charlene gifted me a  child’s mood ring from the shoe store, and I gave her a prized tin cocktail sign. Taking aesthetics institutions and chocolate shops by storm,  we dished and giggled like we were kids again, forgetting about work, bills, and old scars.  For a few hours we were two carefree girls caught up in ribbons and bows and frilly things.

Watching Charlene giggle and laugh reminded me of a quote from the movie Pirate Radio. Comtemplating the thought of the end of broadcasting from the “pirate” ship, Philip Seymour Hoffman‘s character Harold says, “These are the best days of our lives. It’s a terrible thing to know, but I know it.”

Happy tenth anniversary “Charlene. Your friendship helps keep my fabulous, and don’t I know it.