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Is Wanting to be Desirable Outside of Your Marriage Wrong?

Yesterday I had lunch with my mom at my favorite local haunt, John O’ Groats. Best Huevos Rancheros anywhere!

I was a bit dolled up, because that’s how I roll at 49. In my teens and 20s I never wore make-up, dresses, shoes, (or bras for that matter) because I had beauty to burn.

Now I want to squeeze every last ounce of juiciness out of this body, until I salsa out of this life in red stilettos, of course.


As my mom and I were leaving, Paul, the restaurant owner, stopped me to say, “You look so beautiful today.” I halted in my tracks and gave him a big hug. “You just made my day,” I told him.

The other day, when my tomboy daughter squinted critically at me as I waltzed out of the house to go to the grocery store wearing a dress and nice heels, she asked, “Mommy, why do you have to be pretty all the time?”

In her world of softball, soccer and ping pong “pretty” is a bad, shallow, insipid word.

Without missing a beat I answered, “Because it makes me happy.”

At 49 I’m just not ashamed of wanting to be attractive and even desirable anymore.

I don’t care that some people may think desiring to be desirable is an affront to my husband and my marriage. Or that they may think I need to get a life and help build houses for Habitat for Humanity (which I would actually love to do). Or that they may think I’m guilty of the 3 Vs. Vapidity, Vacuousness and Vanity.

I just don’t care.

Feeling desirable is part and parcel of what puts a spring in my step and makes me look forward to every day. It doesn’t mean I’m going to run off with the neighbor’s Guadalajaran pool boy (I think my Cougarosity frightens him a little).

It doesn’t mean I don’t also like to play softball, soccer and ping pong too.

It doesn’t mean I don’t care deeply about other people.

It just means that I’ve gotten to an age where I’m happy with myself, where I’ve given up beating myself up and judging myself. Because ladies, life is just too damn short. And interestingly enough, feeling desirable outside of my marriage actually adds a little kick to my married sex life!

So. My question for the day, and it just might make you squirm uncomfortably, what do you love about yourself right now? What makes you feel sexy, sassy and superlative. And go!

midlife boulevard, columnist, midlife women, middle-age, midlife crisis

Shannon Bradley-Colleary

Shannon Bradley-Colleary blogs at The Woman Formerly Known As Beautiful. She's also a contributing blogger on The Huffington Post. Her posts have landed her on The Today Show, NPR, CNN, Raising America with Kyra Phillips, Fox11News and more. She's been published in The DailyMail Online, Babble, Blogher and MomsLA. Her book, Into The Child: 40 Weeks in the Gestational Wilderness was named one of the Top 100 Indie Books of 2012 by the Kirkus Review. Her book, Smash, Crash and Burn: Tales From The Edge Of Celebrity, details her life as an L.A. Wacktress (waiter/actress) in the early 90s; including her relationship with Brandon Bruce Lee and a her tête-à-tête with David Schwimmer. She kisses and tells. Shannon is thrilled to be a monthly columnist on Midlife Boulevard.

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Lisa Froman

Wednesday 2nd of July 2014

A lot of us Southern women feel the same way. I like wearing make-up and basically being a girly-girl. I'm good with it. But I gotta admit--I don't wear heels when I go to Winn Dixie. LOL.

Shannon Bradley-Colleary

Wednesday 2nd of July 2014

Lisa -- I feel like I should know what Winn Dixie is. Besides the book from Kate Decamillo?


Wednesday 2nd of July 2014

I used to think that once you hit 50 it was time to cut your hair. But I have gone the other way and after reading some of the comments it looks like I'm not alone. I'm not a girlie girl, no makeup, not one for heels but there's nothing like a pedicure and hot sexy feet to make me feel sassy.


Wednesday 2nd of July 2014

I think I feel sexier and more confident since turning 50 a few years back. I am letting my hair grow and am having fun trying different clothing styles. Hubs seem happy! And it does make your day when someone notices you look good!

Pam (Grey is the New Black)

Wednesday 2nd of July 2014

What I love about dressing now that I'm older is wanting to please myself as much as anyone else.

Shannon Bradley-Colleary

Wednesday 2nd of July 2014

Pam I went out to dinner with the hubs and some friends tonight. I did my hair, my make-up, wore a good bra and some Spanx. I made sure to stop, strike a pose and say to my husband, "We can't leave until you acknowledge my beauty." He's a patient man.

Kathy Walker

Wednesday 2nd of July 2014

I love how you said in your twenties you had beauty to burn. it is SO true. Now I'm almost 44 and a hands on mom to an 8 year old boy - it's hard to have those moments of beauty because I am usually in the dirt, in the pool or sweating behind the scenes on stage with his plays. I NEVER leave the house without lipgloss though.EVER Lately I seem to be turning heads and I am loving it. It's quite a boost when someone yells at you in your car "Damn girl I wish you were single!" I am, but he didn't need to know that!

Shannon Bradley-Colleary

Wednesday 2nd of July 2014

Kathy! Maybe he did need to know that. Best you just put your phone number on your driver's side door.

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