Those Three Little Words That Mean So Much
The Weekend, Part One

Wednesday Advice Smackdown

(Thursday Edition, Again, Like You Are Surprised)

Okay, before we begin, let me issue a word of caution regarding the state of your advice guru:

1. It is snowing outside, yet there was no delay at my office, mostly because I assumed there would be a delay and stayed in bed for an extra half hour.

2. I am wearing maternity pants to work for the first time today, and while they are deliciously comfortable around the belly, they are falling off my ass. Seriously, if I sit down wrong I will moon anyone behind me, or at least show off my new maternity underwear with the twee pink hearts.

3. I just realized I am wearing my new red shoes with a green sweater. Yick.

4. I wore my new red shoes in the snow? Have I gone mad?

5. I did not comb my hair today before mashing it into a hair clip.

Basically, I've got a really great look going on today and feel super extra qualified to tell you how to look all beautiful and stuff. Let's begin!

Dearest Amalah: Queen, Mother, Goddess -

I have found your make-up advice to be so good in the past, that I've been known to rush right out and purchase a foundation brush without even bothering to finish reading your entire post. And I didn't even KNOW I had a problem. This time, I recognize my ignorance and have thusly turned to the woman who can guide me to fabulousness.

I've worn contacts since the seventh grade. I've always HAD glasses, but I never WORE glasses (except at the very end of the day when I removed my contacts), because I always hated glasses.

Recently, though glasses seem to have become much more stylish than those ridiculously huge frames I was originally offered in *cough* 1978. Glasses are practically an accessory! They can compliment and complete many outfits! So, while I still have my contacts, I recently invested in a smart pair of Armani glasses that look similar to this. They're a dark, subtle tortoiseshell. I don't wear them every day, but a couple of times a week, when I'm looking to up my intelligence image.

Now here's my dilemma: I'm extremely near-sighted. Way extremely. Can't see to find my glasses if I don't have them out before I remove my contacts near sighted. And while technology has, thankfully, significantly reduced the thickness of today's lenses, there's still the problem that my glasses make my eyes look very, very small behind them. Teensy tiny small. Are you hungover or are your eyes always that squinty small.

How can I use the fine art of make up to bring out my eyes behind my glasses? Are there eye shadow colors I should wear or avoid? Flat or shimmery? Skip the eyeliner altogether? Wear false lashes?

Anxiously awaiting your magical advice,
Overdressed

(By the way, when I first read the salutation on this email, I was all, "Mother?" And then I was all, "Oh right! Aww!" Then I was all, "Shit.")

As someone who possesses relatively-normal-sized eyes that have the tendency to go bizarrely squinty in photographs, I feel your pain. (I am also wearing my own Armani tortoiseshell glasses today to complete my "I just rolled out of bed and may possibly still be asleep right now" look.)

Anyway, not to go all The Graduate on you but I have one word for the squinty-small-eye problem: neutrals. Think about it. You start loading up with the bright, shimmery or smoky colors and you are NOT drawing attention to your eyes. You're drawing attention to your damn eyelids.

You want to make your lids vanish into the rest of your face and you want your actual eyeballs to stand out.

Here's what you do.

1. Apply a creamy base to your lids, from the lash line up to your brow bone. I recommend Tony & Tina's Therapeutic Eyebase in whatever shade best matches your skin tone. (Match it the way you'd match foundation, it ain't for show.)

2. Next, brush on a neutral shadow -- again from the lash line to the brow bone. This shadow should be about the same as your skin tone with NO SHIMMER. Shimmery shadows settle in those little creases and will make you look wrinkly and tired. If you think your lids and under eyes tend to look dark, pick a color slightly lighter than your skin tone (like a bone or peach) and also dab a little under the inner corner of your eye.

3. Then brush a slightly darker color on the outer corner of your eyelid in a sideways V (mid-crease to corner, mid-lash line to corner). This will make your eyes look wider. Blend it well. If you want a little shimmer, this is where you can use it, or you can stick with a matte brown or grey. (I use Nars Duo Eye Shadow in All About Eve, which contains two shades of peachy brown that are almost identical, except that one is a shimmery.)

4. And here's where people get all uppity and divided. Some makeup artists swear that lining the eyes can only make them look smaller, while others swear that eyeliner totally makes your eyes bigger. I believe there have been bitchslaps and bloodshed over this issue.

I'm in favor of eyeliner. My lashes are practically blond, and even with mascara I tend to not have a very strong lash line. So I use a soft brown pencil around the outer edges of my lashes, staying away from the inner corner and extending the line past the outer corner. Then (and this is the MOST IMPORTANT PART) I use an tiny angled eye shadow brush to blend and soften the line. So if you look at my eyes you won't see EYELINER LINE BEGINS HERE AND I PAINTED IT ON WITH A FELT-TIP PEN, PLEASE DIRECT ME TO THE SLOT MACHINES.

5. Finally, curl your lashes and then apply mascara. Go for a lengthening one with a thin brush, not volumizing, for the least amount of clumping. Y'all are going to totally laugh at me, but I use a Loreal drugstore mascara that costs $7.15. I've used the super nice expensive ones, and honestly, I just don't think they're that much better. At first, sure, but ALL mascara tends to turn all funky in about three months and needs to be chucked. With my $7 mascara, I could care less if I'm throwing out more than half a tube of congealed product. With a $25 mascara, I'm PISSED that there's clearly a dozen or so dried-out applications left.

Aaaaannnnnnd...you're done, and dude, you totally look just like Audrey Hepburn now with the big doe eyes. Bitch.

Dearest Amalah~

I have been rejoicing and basking in the glow of your wondrously gassy pregnant-ness. I want to be just like you and become pregnant as well, but for some reason cannot find time to have sex when I'm ovulating. I know that you are a very very VERY busy woman, with a very busy husband-- so I was just wondering if you have some creative pointers to share on finding time for enough sex to get knocked up. Oh and also? I have two dogs that try to watch when we finally have time to DO IT. It's very distracting. How can I get rid of them without hurting their feelings?

Busy and Barren,
Bellabelly

ps. I don't like to throw up. In fact, I hate it. Do you think that will be a problem?

Well, first you must come to terms with the simple, unavoidable truth: sex for procreation will be the worst sex you have ever had. Remember that time? With that guy who had that one car? Yeah, worse than that.

No guy wants to hear the words "Let's have sex tonight" followed by, or modified with, the words "I'm ovulating." And no woman's body will ever cooperate if being bossed around by the calendar. So basically: drink wine. At least a bottle or four.

But! The good news is that apparently? You can get knocked up after having sex only ONCE in the entire vague am-I-or-am-I-not-ovulating-four-to-five-day fertile period. Trust me, I've seen the ultrasound and am just as shocked as y'all are.

Our seduction went something like this:

Amy throws Gardenburgers on George Foreman grill in a sexy manner.

Jason enters kitchen.

Jason: Hey, aren't we supposed to be trying to get you pregnant this week, or something?

Amy: Bah. Bahbahbah hate bullshit whatever.

Couple eats dinner, watches Lost, has sex. Conception ensues. Much confusion by all who thought that, hey, it wasn't supposed to be easy like that.

Aaaannnnnd scene. Romantic, no? But hell, it was enough. So ditch the whole "I want our child to be conceived during the greatest love-making session of our relationship" thing and just do it. (Hey, Nike! I've got an AWESOME commercial idea all of a sudden.)

And lock the dogs away. Hurt their feelings. They need to get used to being ignored on behalf of the baby, who is totally going to steal their thunder. Bitch.

Bonjour le hot Amalah et tête de gomme à effacer,

Amalah, I am going to Paris. I leave on Friday. And, if you answer this during your next Super-Fun-And-Fabulous Wednesday Advice Smackdown, I will READ the smackdown while I am IN PARIS IN PARIS IN PARIS. So seriously, what should I buy? Bear in mind that I don't have much money. At least, not mounds of it.

Your devotee, Shizalala

Pfft. Next week I will not be in Paris. And probably not the week after that either! Wah. Woe.

Anyway, here's the sad thing: in high school I went on a tour of Europe with my Spanish class. We went to France, Italy and Spain. I saved up tons of money to go and to spend while I was there. You know what I bought while I was there?

Crap. And croissants.

I totally bought tons of stupid tourist shit. T-shirts. Mugs (that totally broke on the way home). A keychain or something.

In Italy, I was determined to buy something clothing-related, hopefully a pair of shoes. Did I buy a lovely pair of leather heels like my friend did? A pair that she probably still has to this day?

No. I bought a pair of high-heeled jellies.

I BOUGHT PLASTIC SHOES. In Italy.

So my advice would be to not buy plastic shoes. Or anything equally stupid.

Even if you don't spend a lot of money, buy something that you'll honestly KEEP for years and years. Something that you can say to anyone who admires it, "Oh yes, I got this in Paris," and it will make SENSE that you got it in Paris.

Unlike jelly sandals from Italy that could also be found at your local Caldor.

The only things I brought back from Europe that I still actually have and use are a tiny leather hair clip that I bought on our tour of a leather maker's shop that has a Michelangelo painting printed on it and a small gold picture frame that I got in Spain.

(I originally bought it for my boyfriend at the time, but he had the decency to give it back when we broke up. Or maybe I stole it from his house. I can't remember.)

So buy a watercolor from a street vendor or a pair of earrings or a lovely scarf. Don't buy miniature Eiffel Towers or berets made of felt. Save napkins from cafes where you buy croissants and take lots of pictures. You don't have to spend mounds of money to bring back wonderful souvenirs.

(Although if you did want to spend mounds of money, something from Louis Vuitton would TOTALLY be okay too.)

(It would also totally make a great gift.)

My question involves dating. I realize I'm asking this of a woman who is married, and to the Perfect Guy at that, but what the hey...

I am looking to re-enter the dating scene after an absence of...oh...12 years or so. Needless to say, I have NO idea what I'm doing when it comes to dating. I've been asking around a bit, checking out the obvious "Dating Do's and Don'ts" references, reading the tips on Match.com and other dating sites, and have basically come to the conclusion that there are too many rules.

I don't like games. I don't want to play games. I'd rather confidently walk up to a girl and ask her to dinner than to try and learn all the various "techniques" and "strategies" for "dating success." It seems counterproductive anyway. Eventually they're going to get to know the "real you" and I don't know about the rest of the world, but I'd want the "real them" to be as real as possible. No BS. No gimmicks.

So the question is: In the real world, is the no-BS, "game-free" approach a plus or a minus? I'll be the first to admit that I have "no game," but frankly I have no interest in learning how to game the system. Is "refusing to play the game" another way of saying "destined to remain on the sidelines?"

Sycophantically yours,
Chris

Oh man, you came to the right place.

Not because I can help you, because I can't. I've been married since I was TWENTY YEARS OLD.

At 20 years old, you wouldn't recognize a "game-free" approach if it walked up to you and said, "Hi, I have a game-free approach to dating. Would you like to go out?"

At 20 years old, you'd just go, "Are you old enough to buy me beer?"

Although I do seem to recall that one of the reasons I was in such a bloody hurry to get myself all married off was because I really, truly hated dating. I hated meeting new guys, waiting for them to call, waiting for them to admit that they liked me or didn't like me, blah blah blah breakupcakes.

So I married Jason, who is Perfect, and who could also buy me beer.

But! I think you came to the right place anyway, because the readership of this site skews distinctly female. Even more so since all this talk about my womb and boobs and farting began.

Also all the makeup talk. I'm pretty sure it's mostly the vaginas in the audience that care about that.

So at this point, ladies and gentleman, I'm turning the Advice Smackdown over to you. Let's help Chris out. Give him your two cents or a nickel about how to get back into the dating scene and whether or not he's got game. Or something.

I don't know all the dating lingo the crazy kids are using nowadays.

After you spread your commenty wisdom re: dating, perhaps you will feel qualified to start your own advice column. From which I will not stop you. But if you realize that maybe it's a little harder than you thought and would like to turn to me once again for the mad problem-solving skillz, please email me at advice@amalah.com.

Comments

Mrs.Strizzay

Its self prtrait day, where are you? It would have been great to see your nappy hair and red shoes!

Rachael

One time, I assumed that due to the massive amount of snow my area had received that my work would be closed. Didn't find out otherwise until I got a call around lunchtime from someone wondering where the hell I was. Whoops.

Your make-up advice is fantastic. Wish I had advice for Chris, but alas, I'm having some issues with the dating thing myself.

kalisah

HIGH HEELED JELLIES???? HA!!!

Boozie

Stupid DC snow. Why is it not sticking to the ground?! Argh. I even wore my cute new snow boots to work today. Now, I'm just gonna look like Napoleon Dynamite...wearing snow boots for no reason.

Oh, also, Chris? Good luck.

bond girl

I'd love to help Chris date, but I can't stop snickering that you bought high-heeled jellies in Italy. Do you still have them? I think I speak for all of us when I say, picture please!

Chris, as a woman in the dating world, I'd say your approach sounds great. I love it when a guy just, bam, asks me to dinner. Because dinner is clear-cut--he's at least interested. Drinks, coffee and the like leave me wondering if he just wants a buddy, if he's trying to network for his job, blah, blah. I'd say go with your instinct on this one.

Amanda

At least they weren't jelly BRACELETS! That would've been far worse.

And Chris, I think women hate the BS too. Of course, I'm talking out my ass because I was barely old enough to drink at my own wedding and never really did much dating. The dating I did do was all a result of posting or responding to personal ads. (Which was actually embarassing ten years ago when I met my husband. Thank god for the internet or we'd seem really desperate.) I find they are a very direct way of meeting people - you can be very clear with your intentions.

Mirella

Chris,you don't need to be able to spit crazy game to be a chick magnet. Women dig honesty. I also like dorkiness, but that's just me. I find it endearing.

Don't try to follow "rules" or play games. Just do what feels right and treat women how you'd want to be treated. Every woman has personality preferences or certain things she looks for in a man, but you want someone who's attracted to YOU. No point in trying to be something you're not.

Robin

"Games" are only required when the connection isn't mutual IMO. If you have to play games then something is wrong.

bellabelly


*sings obnoxiously, only without kooky highlights a la Kelly Clarkson*
A smackdown like this, some people wait a lifetime.... Oh, I can't believe its happening to me ee ee, Some people wait a lifetime for Amalaaaahh--to smack them down...


Sheryl

Yes, in order to conceive during the greatest love-making session of your relationship, you have to think you are done having children, and throw caution to the wind because you want him now and can't wait 15 seconds for him to unwrap and don a condom. That's why we have three instead of two. It's the pregnant equivilent to Murphy's law.

Heather

Wow, high heeled jellies, huh? I wsa actually lamenting to a friend the other day that the first time I went to Europe I bought nothing but trash. People, I bought PLATES with the Parthenon on them. Yeah.

Sabine

High-heeled jellies? That's just wierd. I never got the whole jelly thing. Something about clear, plastic shoes that just kind of freaks me out... But what do I know about shoes? I pretty much stick to flip flops or hiking boots. Hey -Don't look at me like that.

Chris - the biggest turn off to me is game playing. Honesty is a major turn on. A man who speaks his mind and isn't afraid to say ,"screw the (so-called) rules" and just be himself shines above the rest in my opinion. Let your unique, genuine self be uncontained. A woman who would expect anything else from you would not be compatible in the long run anyway. Keep the WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) philosophy. Best of luck to you...

kathy

I have no advice for Chris. I am 44 and have been married since I was 22. I have no conception or memory of time before that. Sad but true. Also, I find myself speechless on the topic of high heeled jellies.

But makeup, aha. Here's one more tip - its sounds GROSS but you must try - once mascara has been applied (and I use an even cheaper brand than you Amalah), use small, fine toothed comb to comb eyelashes. This will unclump and enlargen. It's the up-north version of lift and separate. We do what we must. We can't all roll outta bed looking like Scarlett O'Hara now can we?

smartjuice

As to Chris' questions, friends of friends of friends are a great dating pool. At first I didn't want to get set up like that, but that is how I met GF, and she's pretty cool.

And Amalah, when I was studying in Spain I bought a plastic raft for the beach and felt the need to cart it back to the States. A plastic pool raft. Stuffed in my suitcase. Good job.

megan

Chris- There is only one rule you need to know and it is this:

Rule #1
Don't lie.

The biggest complaint I've heard from my girlfriends who are on Match is that the dudes lie to them. If you are 5'7", then don't say you are 5'10". If you are dating someone, but really wanted to meet her because she looked so great, say so. If you will only seriously date people of your own faith, tell her.

Honesty, it's the new black.

In that spirit, I am not ashamed to say that I love my mini Eiffel Tower.

Kitty

LMAO, I love the part about the dogs. It's so true too - pets always get put on the back burner when a baby is around.

I find more similarities between you and me every time I read your entries. For example? I got married right after I turned 21 (for literally the same reason you did) and am also married to a Jason who is wonderful and perfect. (Cue Twilight Zone music).

Chris - just be yourself. I remember when I dated, I hated the guys who tried to act like someone else or play mind games (in fact, I don't understand why women do that either. Games are so overrated.) I fell in love with a strong silent type, so that just goes to show you that you don't have to be a big talker to get a girl's attention. :)

Chris

Good advice all around. Thanks muchly, all! My gut has been telling me "If playing games is required in the pursuit of a person, then they're not worth pursuing." What I'm hearing here is that my gut is on the right track.
 
For a change :-)

ktbug

Kids, dogs, bees and women. We all smell fear. And bullshit. A MILE AWAY (if you are looking for an intelligent and grounded individual - which i am assuming you are).
The no BS, no game thing is it and I understand completely. Happily dating monogamously now, but was with the same person for TEN years and then - DIVORCE. It is some scary shit to be back out there after that and once you've been to the circus and seen the clowns you don't want them sidling up to you at the bar with game. You want a man. Who is real. Who will undoubtedly have baggage - as we all do, but has unpacked the shit and done the laundry. Know what I'm sayin? Be yourself. Good luck finding the right woman who will appreciate it!

C.

No advice for Chris. However,I owned the high heeled jellies from my little sis! I had no idea they were Italian. They now belong to a homeless teen in Temp Az. Unless he sold them for crack or something.

shawnessy

I ordered high heeled jelly sandals from J-Crew in February when I was living in Fairbanks, AK. Brought a whole new meaning to "inappropriate".

Chris: it's esp. important to let the gal know when you are interested in her. Nothing is MORE annoying than a man who can't provide a little TD (throw down). In the immortal words of Giancarlo Menotti, "what a curse for a woman, is a timid man."

Sarcastic Journalist

by month 9 those pants will fit in the butt. trust me. we need cute pregnant pictures!

lakeline

I wish I could help more, but I'm among the child-brides above. (well, 23 has amalah beat, but I've been with him since I was 17) But it seems to me that the easiest way to decide whether someone is worth being with is to double-check if you would want to be friends with them if they were the same sex. If you can have conversations and inside jokes and such as friends, all you need is a little chemistry. And if you wouldn't be friends with the type who would play games, you shouldn't have to date them either.

And I second (third? whatever) the need for cute pregnant pics. ASAP.

Stacy

Chris: Honesty, yes. Desperation, no. Meet her, call her, go out, have a lovely time, call her the next day to thank her. Stop. There's nothing worse than the creepy desperate lonely guy who calls you seven times a day. They are scary men.

Honestly, the best dating advice I ever got? Forget "The Rules" that say you should "act" like you've got your own scintillating busy life. GET your own busy scintillating life. Do the things YOU like to do and she will be there, because she likes those things, too.

overdressed

dude...what bellabelly said!!!!!

*dances around and sings 'She picked my letter!!' to oblivious co-workers*

kalisah

My entire European experience was a work trip I took to Monaco last summer. (I know??? How GREAT is a job that sends you to party with Prince Albert, son of Grace Kelly???)

I bought myself a rhinestone hair thingy at the hotel gift shop. It was all I could afford. Hell, one glass of champagne in Monaco was 50 EUROS!!! (approx. $US 66.50)

Another Rachael

Chris -- I'll second everyone else's comments about being honest and genuine. But... maybe not *too* honest. For example, the last guy I went on a date with cracked his neck several times during dinner. That was him being genuine about aspects of himself, but also sort of weird. And then there was the guy who was very honest... about all the brothels he'd visited in Mexico, Taiwan, and Bangladesh. That was honest, but creepy. So, anyway, before I go on a tangent about all my bad dates - genuine is great, but try to repress the neck-cracking type quirks until later. ;-) But, you sound nice, so I'm sure you'll do fine.

Real Girl

Ok, first (clearly, because hello, makeup) about the eyeliner and the small eyes--YES, Amalah, you are so key with the blending neutral liner. BUT please don't line the bottom lashline. Unless you just smudge gently in the very outside corner. Any makeup + inside corner bottom lashline = tiny, beady eyes.

And Chris? I agree with every gal who's said not to play the games. If you're confident, and you go up to a gal, she will be flattered and want to keep the flattery coming. If you are needy seeming however, well...That be different.

Also, about Paris? When I went, my most prized purchases were postcards of all the art I loved the most. I framed some of them, and now I've got lovely Picassos and Matisses and a surprisingly good Mary Cassatt hanging in my apartment, and it's heavenly.

Career Woman

I did not know these people were for real - I honestly thought that this was a "made up" advice column! Ha! Jokes on Me!

Janet

Shizalala, when in Paris go to the Gallerie Layatte or Printemps and buy a nice handbag...or two or three, and maybe some scarves that kinda match that you can tie to them...voila! People will ask you, where did you get that purse and you can answer (in a tres bored manner), "oh this little thing? I got it in Paris during my last trip there." ;-)

Roxie

High heeled jellies! I didn't even know they existed. I had the flat version. After wearing them once (and only once) I wondered what the excitement was all about, cuz Jellies = sweaty feet. Eeewww!

Chris, I think everyone likes honesty. A good sense of humor is important too. Oh, and if you're looking for perfect, just remember almost no one is (except for Jason of course). Good luck!

alektra

Here's what I am currently talking my good friend through who is in the dating scene:

Do things that make you feel like a better person.

Be respectful
Be neat and clean
Be engaged in the conversation, listening and talking
Be honest in your answers, but omitting lots of ex stories when they are not sought? Not a bad thing.
Be interested in who she is, or polite to her if you are not. She has friends.

These are things that I think our moms would have said. I think they still apply.

Janna

Well, Chris, it looks like you came to a good place for dating advice. As a woman who has had the (good? bad?) fortune to still be single and in the dating pool, it can tell you my key ingredients to a good dating partner:

1. COMMUNICATION This covers everything - and it helps to eliminate the thing I HATE most about dating: the guessing.
2. SEE NUMBER 1.

Hey Chris, how 'bout letting us broads know what guys want?

(Sorry, Amalah, I don't mean to use your site for dialogue - but I gotta know!)

Chris

Thanks again for all the comments! I indeed came to the right place.

What do guys want? I'm probably the wrong person to answer that question :-) I'm rather cynical when it comes to my own gender (too many "guys," too few "men" in the world). It's an excellent question though and I've got some thoughts that I'll post to my own blog shortly.

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