One of my favorite things in the world is to do sweet things for the boyfriend. Hold off on labeling me a 1950s housewife, because, I promise, I have excellent reasons.
At this point, he and I are still in our idealistic state of the relationship. We've been dating for almost a year: he calls me "Hey, pretty" and takes out my trash; I wear short skirts and wash his dishes. I love this state of things and truly believe that the best relationship will live on as well as it begins. I try to do everything I can to make him think I'm wonderful, because--let's face it!--life is so much better when your significant other adores you! With that in mind, I have a few pointers!
- Lingerie is an absolute must. What man doesn't want to know that you look gorgeous under your clothes, and that he's lucky enough to get to peel them off of you? Besides, you get to wear the sexiest underwear possible all day long and feel as luxurious as a million pairs of Manolo Blahniks. Personally, I'm a Victoria's Secret addict, although they do need to work on branching out so that every lady can wear their underclothing. Little ladies like me can take much comfort in the new Victoria's Secret Miracle Bra. It looks rather strange to start with--the cups attach at the center with a rough, zigzagged edge and not so much as a bow--but once that thing is on, oh, boy. I wear mine whenever I want to upgrade from a 34B to a 34C, which is...often. Very often. Last season's rose pink is a stunning color and the fall colors are magical--bronze (as pictured), rosy lavender, plum, a dusty rose, and a clear blue-teal! So much more colorful than last year's dove-gray color spectrum! I just hope the horrid "retro" waist-high lace starlet panties have died. Really. I could not understand that design choice. Unattractive on every size, from Gisele Bündchen to Mother Earth.)
- Dress like the knockout you are and that he loves! Your body is wasted if you let it sit around in T-shirts and baggy jersey knit. Take a style tip from French women and realize that style may be expensive, but your life is too good to waste on trash! Make sure every single thing you buy looks gorgeous on you, accentuates your good points, has an eye-catching style twist, and is something you are willing to clean and care for properly, otherwise it's a waste of your time, money, and closet space. I go shopping about four times a year: right after Christmas/early January, June (Victoria's Secret semiannual sale!), the end of summer, and after Thanksgiving. I barely ever buy anything full-price. My favorite sweaters (see picture above) are a silky merino wool; they began as $65 apiece and I bought them for $19.99 during an intense January sale. They're the sexiest sweaters I own, and yet they have an enormous but high cowlneck, huge sleeves that gather into tight, four-inch-high cuffs, and a slim, fitted waist that naturally ends just below my hipbones. They are provocative, sexy, gorgeous, elegant, and yet conservative enough to wear to a small Christmas dinner hosted by my city's mayor. Knockouts know their good points and the styles the love and they rock them! Ladies, you're too good to waste your bodies on trashy or cheap clothing. You've heard this countless times, but I promise you that you will be so much happier if you spring for less of the expensive clothing instead of more of the cheap stuff--in which you don't feel like your full potential anyway.
- On that note, know your body. Know what looks good on you and what doesn't. I realize that many, many women love this style, but the ballooning babydoll shirts really do make you look like you're trying to cover up either fat or a pregnancy belly. They don't hide anything unsightly--they accentuate it and make it look worse. Please, please, please drop them! They are hideous, no matter how many celebrities wear them or how many famous designers insist on adding them to the runway or style racks. They are hideous. If you must wear something with an empire waist, at least make sure the bottom of the shirt is at least somewhat fitted. Unless you desperately want to look like a pregnant avocado, in which case--well, fine, go for it. I wouldn't.
- Speaking about loving your body...I highly advocate putting a little effort into making your body something he appreciates. I'm not talking about the gym--heavens, no; I wouldn't set foot in one of those boredom chambers!--but about very simple things. Shaved legs and underarms. Moisturized arms, legs, and definitely your face and neck. Make the best of yourself. I don't advocate Botox, but neither do I advocate ruining what you've been blessed with. Lotioning up a little every day now saves your skin later. Brush your teeth or gargle some mouthwash if you wake up first. Manicures and pedicures are too expensive for many of us to do regularly, but at-home cleaning, filing, and a regular coat of clear, strengthening fingernail polish is beyond no-one's reach. I regularly wax my own bikini line because it seems much more attractive to me and I feel more hygienic; this doesn't go for every woman. My senior year college roommate thought waxing or shaving that area was unnatural and was a babylike denial of a beautiful, flourishing woman's body. To each her own. Just trim and keep in check.
- For those of you interested in waxing, it lasts longer than shaving and is much, much less painful than laser hair removal (see this month's Marie Claire for testimony: ow!). It does hurt for the first few times, so never, ever, ever do it in a cold room and do pop a Tylenol a half-hour or so beforehand if you want to. I use GiGi salon wax, readily available at Sally's Beauty Supply stores across the country. They sell a very cheap, small wax warmer for $20--not listed online--and I've had success with the Coarse formula. I intend to try the Azulene wax next, as I don't like pain and "soothing for your sensitive areas" sounds marvellous. I do not recommend any of the Créme waxes. The one I'm stuck with spreads with intense difficulty and I stared at it for about an hour before realizing that this was as liquid as it was going to get. It's like a combination of melted sugar and butter, which is not ideal at all for waxing. On the other hand, it smells nice. :) By the way, I've always paid between $12 and $15 for a can of wax. I've been waxing for two and a half years and had to get a new can of wax three months ago. These are definitely worth the money. And, let me assure you, the smooth feeling and sparser regrowth are fantastic!
- On another topic entirely, I tend to make the bed in the mornings so we can tumble into a luxuriously clean room in the evening. Being in a clean room, house, and apartments immediately makes you feel a lot better about yourself, and you also end up looking like you have more money. One half-day of cleaning makes for a huuuuuuuge upgrade in your attitude. So I make the bed. It's an easy way to make the whole bedroom look nice, and it seems to warm his heart.
- I recognize that he hates doing dishes, so I do his dishes, even though we haven't been living together yet. The awesome payoff is that will I never, ever have to take out the trash again for as long as I am with him and that he thinks I'm a magically sexy saint. He's a keeper!
- I never, ever, ever show that I'm seriously jealous of any girl he talks about, any girl who has a crush on him, or anyone he dated in the past. Ever. (Unless he knows I'm joking.) There is nothing as unattractive as an insecure girlfriend. Swallow the jealousy. It is a sick little emotion that will turn you inside out with hurt feelings and rage, but you have got to control it. If you keep being jealous, he will eventually react, and he'll give you a reason to be. So stop it!
- If I know he's busy, I'll stop by his office with something for him to drink and a kiss. Every little bit helps.
- The girls who have crushes on the man you're interested in are best dealt with one way: you need to befriend them. Not best-friends--good God, no, not unless they're actually worth your time!--but you have got to be nice to them, because you have got to give them the impression that they don't want to ruin your relationship. I'm not saying that best friends won't steal your man--one of mine did once--but, and this is so important--you cannot show them insecurity. He will notice, as will she, and that will be a clear go-ahead for her. Why would anyone want to date someone who is so insecure in her boyfriend's or husband's affections that she'll cringe or get up in arms the second another woman starts flirting? It's cute maybe once, when he thinks you're protective. After that--stop it!
- Try your hardest to make friends with his mother. It always helps to have her on your side. Rarely will mothers take your side against his, but their support is a valuable and loving thing.
- Remembering all of this, the most important point ever is to be a fascinating, passionate, motivated person in your own right. He cannot be your entire world. If he is, he will get bored. If you are not an amazing person without him, and if he is your raison d'être, neither of you will be happy in the long run. The miserable, alcoholic, domineering, sex-crazed, pill-popping housewives of 1945-1963 are excellent examples. They denied themselves everything but husband, house, and children, and they suffered miserably. The happiest women were those with careers and even just interests of their own, like painting or writing. They were terribly unhappy. This isn't the kind of relationship you ever, ever, ever want to find yourself in! Good Lord, we have a very short time on this earth, so make the most of it! Do things you really want to do! Kick your dead-end job to the curb (after snagging a better one--unplanned months out of work suck and companies are more likely to hire you if you can show them that other people also think you are worth employing)! Go on vacation to someplace you know you'll love and remember for years! Do lunch with the girls and talk about what you really, really want in life. Vote in your local elections--officials do affect your life once they're in office! Get into yoga or belly-dancing or salsa; they're excellent exercise, and the latter two do wonders for your sex appeal! Yoga, on the other hand, fixes practically everything from stress to physical pain. Expand your horizons all the time. Go to plays, to art gallery openings, to baseball games, and tune in to City Council meetings if the issues promise to be interesting.
- Make your own life fun and other people will want to share it!