And it did. The first messages arrived in the shape of an 'S,' for small. This lovely letter revealed to me things that 'M' had left hidden and 'L,' in affording a warm cocoon, had made all but invisible. My waist, for one thing. And then my legs and my arms, which boldly began asking for less coverage, more swing. Warmer weather spurred me on, as did my friends. One in particular, for whom clothes shopping has always been a high art, sensed a transformative opportunity. She installed me in a Neiman Marcus dressing room and put a battalion of sales clerks to work finding me a pair of perfectly fitting jeans. I don't know which of us was more pleased by the victory.
Though it helped that I had finally washed that guy right out of my hair, there was no new man in the picture when the first flight of gorgeous, buttery-hued Cosabella lingerie caught my eye. (Now there is. As I noted oh-so-sagely to a friend who recently commented that it was a waste of time to lay in good lingerie when she had no love interest, "Don't wait—get it now!") The stirring of my fashion desire had nothing to do with anyone else, and everything to do with me. Before long, that brightly patterned lingerie had become a habit, not to say an addiction. I bought soft cotton sleeveless shirts tied with ribbon at the bodice, and a black-and-white striped dress with spaghetti straps, and Lilly Pulitzer gold sandals, and, further emboldened by the jeans conquest, these fabulous hip-hugger pants from AG (Adriano Goldschmied). I now have five different-colored pairs of these pants—aptly named "the Angel"—and plan to leave them in my will to the deserving. I found a Versace belt studded with rhinestones to wear with them, and while I was at it, a hot-pink wool miniskirt and my first pair of fishnets since high school. Oh, and there's this little black Chanel dress with a matching one-clasp jacket. And three rose pashminas, each pure pink in its own way.
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I read somewhere that "experience is a series of non-fatal errors," which I take to mean that we really can learn something about ourselves along the way. When I was younger, I was often uncomfortable with my sexuality and defaulted into modesty. Then, for a good while, I simply lost track of my sexuality, misplaced it somewhere. Now, I take pleasure in it and—surprise—I feel more attractive than I ever did when I was supposedly in my prime.