Girls Night In

the blog for single, over-40 women

At Least She Has a Good Personality

on September 26, 2014
Good Personality

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/

A few years ago I had moved to a new state and started a new job and decided I needed a new haircut to go along with it. Naturally, all of these changes inspired in me a hope of potentially meeting new men. Why not go for it and actually pay a pretty penny for a pretty and different look? One of my co-workers recommended a specific stylist at a nearby salon, so I made an appointment.

Maybe I shouldn’t have had such high expectations, but I was excited to see what this guy could do. I typically don’t like to give a hairstylist too much direction since she—or he, in this particular case—is the professional. Maybe I’ll offer a few suggestions. Still, I dream of the day when the stylist says, in a sexy French accent, “Zis is ze perfect look for your face shape and style and personalitee. You are going to love eet!” Sadly, that’s never happened.

I told him the basics of what I wanted—a few highlights and an easy-to-style, flowy cut that would frame my face. I’d had highlights before and always liked how it looked, feeling the streaks of pale gold made my skin brighter and my eyes a little bluer. But because my hair is so blonde, the stylist usually has to bleach in highlights to get a color that will show up. I don’t mind, though, since I love that beach-y look.

This guy, however, said I couldn’t do highlights, my hair was too blonde, and he wanted to give me lowlights instead. Since I believed my earlier experiences with highlighting had been quite successful, I initially disagreed with him. He insisted, though, and, like I said, I trust a professional hairstylist to know what’s best. So, I acquiesced, he colored my hair his way, then gave it a quick cut and styled it.

Now, I rarely like how they style my hair and usually “fix” it after I leave. But when I saw what he had done, I almost cried. I couldn’t fix the fact that I now had brown—yes, brown—poufy, soccer mom hair. Not new. Not pretty. Absolutely awful.

A few days later, still trying to make my hair morph into something I could live with or, at least, not cry over, it hit me. The scale of how I felt about my looks as far as attracting a man did not tip in my favor. So, I believed, if I “lost” one of my good attributes, I’d be left with even less to offer. And, as we all know, men are visual creatures and you have to appeal to his eyes before you have a chance to introduce him to your winning personality. I know I’m clever, interesting and talented. I’ve been told I have a sexy voice and a great sense of humor. But would that make any difference if I’m also overweight and fifty and trying to hide a bad haircut?

Oh, sure, we can tell ourselves, “The right guy will like me just the way I am!” But do any of us really believe it?

We definitely want to believe it. What a dream-come-true to find someone who thinks you’re beautiful, even in sweats, not a stitch of makeup, with a muffin top and paint-peeling bad breath. Fortunately, from what I’ve seen, once a man is head over heels in love, the object of his affection remains beautiful in his eyes regardless of age, size or infirmity. Love is blind, I do believe that. But until he’s actually in love with you, his vision is twenty-twenty. That’s the way things are, more often than not, and the sooner a woman accepts it, the better off she’ll be. Which means I wear the makeup and make an effort to accentuate my good features, while still being true to myself.

This isn’t some anti-feminist rant nor is it the secret to finding a man. (Obviously!) I just think women do themselves a disservice when they don’t at least put some effort into appealing to a man’s eyesight. After all, I want a guy who’s clean, dresses like he cares, and has a good job. We have superficial expectations for them as they do for us, and it’s unrealistic to demand he be everything you want without making any concessions for him. The good news is that looks are subjective. We are all beautiful to someone. It’s finding the right someone that’s tricky. In the meantime, it behooves us to look our best.

Which is why, after a month of trying unsuccessfully to learn to like my sad, boring hair, I went to a place I trusted and paid another fairly decent bit of cash for a fresh, new cut and platinum blonde highlights. It didn’t lead to a man—and that’s not why I did it anyway. I felt better about myself, which is vitally important when it comes to being confident. Besides, I’ve been told, men like that too.

Sigh. I’m such a mess. No, really. Because that’s what I think about. Is this attractive to men? Or this? What about that? Short hair? Long hair? A manicure? Should I wear jeans or a skirt? Does this make me look thinner? Hotter? Happier? Yes, some colors make me happy. If you feel happy, you’re more likely to look happy. Right?

Anyway, I think about these things even when I know there’s slim to no chance I’m going to be in the presence of a Guy With Potential in the near future. But I want to be prepared. After all, I could meet someone in the grocery store, at a comedy club, even at my sister’s New Year’s Eve party.

I find myself trying so hard to be what the next available guy might want when, deep down, all I really long for is someone who wants … me. Me, with all my goofy idiosyncrasies and mannerisms, my love of flannel shirts and fuzzy slippers, my tendency to sing big band tunes in the shower and make snarky comments at bad drivers. Someone who thinks all my oddities are kinda cute, in fact.

It could happen. I believe! I do! I really do! (What you can’t tell is I’m clapping my hands because I also believe in fairies!)

Okay, but I am trying. I was about to say, “at least I’m trying” as if I’m getting better at my attempts to believe love is still possible, but that’s not true. At one time I found it a lot easier to imagine someone could like me for me. Now I feel a man could only fall for me if I made changes—lost some weight, had a gentler personality, was not writing a book about being single, and stopped saying what I’m thinking without first thinking about whether I should say it. A kinder, gentler, quieter, thinner Sharyn.

Yes, I suppose it’s a little ridiculous. We’ve all seen enough Disney movies and Afterschool Specials to know how important it is to be yourself. For all I know, I could make those changes and still never meet someone who likes me. Besides, the kind of guy who would like a quieter, gentler Sharyn sounds a bit boring. I would much prefer someone as loud and weird and goofy as I am. Well, maybe not as loud.

Now I just have to believe he’s still out there.

Which reminds me of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. That’s right. Words of wisdom from an Indiana Jones movie. At the end of the film, Indy’s dad is mortally wounded by the villain, Walter Donovan, as an incentive for the younger adventurer to brave death in search of the Holy Grail. Since the Grail purportedly has the power to heal, finding it now appears to be the only hope Jones Sr. has to survive. But two men have already died in the first of three booby traps that await anyone who tries and Indiana hesitates. Donovan leans in and says,

“It’s time for you to decide what you believe.”

I need to put that on a bumper sticker or a T-shirt; I don’t care if it was a movie villain who said it. The line whispers to me at expected—and unexpected—times.

“Sharyn, it’s time for you to decide what you believe.”

What do I believe? Do I believe God loves me and that His plan is good and perfect and emanates out of His compassion for me? Or do I believe I’m destined to be alone for the rest of my life?

The point, though, is that I need to decide every day what I believe about God’s involvement in my life when it comes to my spinsterness, and I certainly can’t base it on what I see in the mirror.

So … what do you believe?



One response to “At Least She Has a Good Personality

  1. Carole Brown says:

    Great tho’ts here. Now to decide . . .

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