Another Sample Sunday

 Here we are again, another sample Sunday, another excerpt from Better Off Without Him.  Mona Berman, having been left by her husband of 20 years, is spending the summer as usual with her three daughters down at the Jersey shore.  This summer, however, her daughters have decided she needs to start dating again, and have a very specific plan in mind.

You would think that there is nothing in the world more embarrassing, not to mention humbling, than taking dating advice from your teen-aged daughters.

Well, there is.

Try taking fashion advice from your teen-aged daughters.

Jessica struck at the kitchen table.  “What are you wearing?” she said around a mouthful the chocolate Pop Tart that was her breakfast.

I was peeling an avocado.  For my lunch.  It was, after all, past noon, but the girls and I are on a very separate dining schedules during the summer.  “What am I wearing when?”

“Tonight.  With Mr. Keegan.  He’s a very young-thinking guy.  All his other dates have been twenty-something, so he’s used to fashion-forward women.”

“Are you suggesting I’m not fashion-forward?”

She looked at me with skepticism.  To be fair, I was wearing khaki walking shorts with very frayed cuffs and a navy T-shirt that said “Republicans for Voldemort”.

“Black would be good,” she said.  No surprise there. 

“I’m not going to a funeral,” I pointed out.  “Besides, wearing black may suggest a pre-assumption of a dreary experience. I’m trying to be optimistic.”

“You could wear my black pencil skirt.  With high, spiked heels.  And a red camisole.  I could lend you the whole outfit.  I even have some great necklaces.”

Perfect.  The Goth-Whore look.  “I’ll think about it,” I promised.

Lauren was next.  She came in a few minutes later from her tennis game with Devlin Keegan, all glowing and sunny.  She swigged from her water bottle and eyed me critically.

“You look good, Mom,” she said at last. 

I was folding towels at the time.  My “Republicans for Voldemort” shirt was covered with lint.  I sensed a trap.  “Thanks, honey.”

“Maybe it’s time for a haircut,” she said.

“I just got it cut two weeks ago,” I reminded her.  I had it cut pretty short, as a matter of fact.  Brian always liked my hair long, down past my shoulders, which required constant maintenance.  This summer, I decided I wanted something easy, and I’d gotten it.  All I needed after a shower was a half-teaspoon of hair gel and a few licks with a comb.

“Well, then maybe you should let it go all curly.  Kind of an afro.  That would be different,” she suggested.

“Yes, it certainly would.  Why do I need to be suddenly different?”

“For Mr. Keegan, of course.  He sees you all the time.  You need to, well, surprise him.”

“I’ll keep that in mind.” 

“So, what are you wearing?”

“Jess suggested a black pencil skirt, red camisole and spiked heels.”

Lauren shook her head sadly.  “She’s so lame.  You’d look like a hooker.  That’s too much of a surprise.  How about a twirly skirt?  And that pretty pink ruffle blouse you bought last week?”

I took a deep breath.  Next, she’d be suggesting white gloves and poke bonnet.  “I’ll think about it.”

Miranda, coming in from the beach that afternoon, took the most direct approach.  “Mom, we really need to bring you up to speed.  You’ve got four hours until your date.  Let’s go out to Bay Village and see if we can find something that makes you look like someone other than a forty-five-year-old mother of three who hasn’t had a date in over twenty years.”

“I’m not buying a new anything for this.”

“Mr. Keegan sees you almost every day.  He knows all the clothes in your entire wardrobe. Don’t you want him to think you’ve made an effort here?”

“Jess wants a black skirt, red cami and heels.  Lauren wants a junior-league prom skirt and ruffles.  Those are two looks he’s never seen.” 

She chewed her lower lip.  “Well, wear hot pink.  It will show off your tan. A skirt would be good, you’ve got nice legs.   And open sandals, cause your feet are pretty. No panty lines, okay?”

“I’ll think about it.”

In the end, I actually borrowed Jessica’s skirt.  On her, it hung down around her hips and ended mid-calf.  On me, since we’re built very differently, it settled right around my waist and came just above the knee.  Hot pink sleeveless linen shirt. My tan did look great.  Also hot pink sandals.  As for my hair, I used Lauren’s mousse and put a diffuser on the hair dryer, creating a halo of soft curls instead of my usual slicked-back hairstyle.  Why not?


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. L.C. Evans
    Mar 13, 2011 @ 14:08:38

    I really like this. I’ve added it to my TBR list.


  2. Kathleen
    Mar 13, 2011 @ 13:51:36

    “The Goth-Whore look.” LOL! Love it! Very funny.


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