I get asked for dating and romance advice often. Young ladies (and some not so young) seek out my experience and authority.
Many women have this vision of a perfect man. You want some essential qualities like honesty, integrity, humor, loyalty, and a good work ethic. You want someone with adoring eyes that are only for you.
Forget the rest. The exterior, you can shape and mold.
If you don't like his hair, cajole him into a new style.
Think his beard would look better trimmed into a Van Dyke? Tell him how sexy you know he'd be with that new look.
Is he looking a bit tubby lately? Send him out to walk the dogs and feed him more vegetables and lean meats. As his waistline shrinks, that's the time to heap on the praise. Let him think he's irresistible.
Don't sweat the small stuff. If the foundation is solid, that's all that matters. Us ladies like to spruce things up. Consider your man a bland room that you're revamping to your liking.
Ah, that most witchiest of holidays, Halloween, is on the horizon.
Dressing up is a huge part of the holiday. Some do it in the spirit of dressing up. Others like to be creative. Others like to have a mask, so to speak (though sometimes literally), to hide behind. Then they can let their freak flags fly, or show off their sexy/scary/creative/weird sides without fear of judgment.
As for myself, Halloween is a beloved holiday of mine, but it's not an occasion in which I choose to dress as someone else. I am always Fiona. Well, there was that one year I had poison ivy, so I put on some stage makeup and went as a rotting corpse. One does what one must needs do sometimes. Also, I should note, I was a very sexy rotting corpse, with a short skirt (accentuate your best features, I always say), and a pair of stilettos that left the soles of my feet feeling half dead. Fortunately I coaxed my darling Tom to massage my aching tootsies. He's well-trained that way. (That's essential for a happy pairing, I should add. Both the foot massages and the training, I mean.)
But normally when I go out, I am still very much Fiona, only amplified. It's an opportunity to wear more sequins and glitter, to don the vampiest hair and makeup looks, and to dial up the entire ensemble to the proverbial eleven. Of course my favorite costume is the sexy version of everything. Heels, fishnets, gemstones, glossy lips, a sleek black wig, a thigh-grazing slit on a purple satin dress, or a cleavage plunging dangerously low -- it's all good in all its glorious excess. And then, like the proverbial icing, more glitter!
That's what the holiday is for me.
Oh, and yes, I'm a witch, so I observe the end of the pagan year, yes, but since I'm a witch 24/7, 365 days of the year, every day is special. But around the end of October, my wardrobe choices and me are extra special indeed.
I may be a witch, but Halloween isn't my favorite holiday, except in that it shines a bit more approval upon my kind.
But I'm a witch every day of the year, calendar date be damned.
That said, I'm happy that the latest book featuring my daughter, Poppy Blue, is set at Halloween.
I'm not exactly sure I'm thrilled with how the author made a mockery of my culinary creations. She described them as cruel, but I prefer to simply think of them as inspired.
I mean, I took all kinds of ingredients that were in the pantry and the refrigerator and made meals out of them. And I added a few healthy things to boot. How wrong is that? Okay, I'm not making wine out of water, but it's still a noble effort.
Poppy simply grew up spoiled, being an only child and all. And yes, she is not fond of green olives, but to turn her nose up at a casserole -- on a cold fall day, no less -- full of crackers, cheese, savory meats and olives -- how could she? Yes, I suppose adding beets to that one pasta dish was a bit jarring. The color was better suited for a manicure than a main course, but I tried. That's what counts. You know, the thought? And I thought it was a marvelous effort.
But Poppy's adventures are regaled in book three, Tricks and Treats. Reader, you will enjoy Poppy and Roger's trip through a much-improved haunted house, how their romance continues to blossom (and I have told Roger Poppy's ring size, repeatedly, since men need frequent reminders), a visit from a mysterious guest, and my motherly instincts in action as I defend my cherry-locked (still … why will she not just go back to being blonde for a season and see how she likes it?) daughter. It is, after all, my job to torment the poor girl. She tormented my birth canal by putting me through 23 hours of labor.
She was worth it, though. Even though she keeps her hair that traffic-light shade of red.
CHOOSE THE HARD STUFF
Now when I say choose the hard stuff, I don't mean alcohol. Oh sure, I love a cocktail as much as the next lady does.
A martini with premium vodka, it can't be beat.
But the hard stuff I refer to is precious metals and gemstones.
You see, I'm thinking ahead to Valentine's Day. Yes, it's a big day for proposals and sparkly things in general. Sure, roses and chocolate are popular gifts, and a dozen long-stems are always appreciated by yours truly.
But I love nothing more than diamonds and other exquisitely expensive stones. The more expensive, the better, in fact.
Think about it.
Chocolate, as delicious as it is, spends a moment on the lips and quite possibly a lifetime on the hips. Plus, we're grownups here, ladies. We can buy our own indulgences.
Flowers, too. They will last a bit longer than chocolate (or maybe not, depending on your willpower), so they have that going for them. They're a sweet gesture, most definitely.
But when you ask for platinum, gold and silver (preferably the first two) or diamonds, rubies, emeralds and sapphires (and, sure, amethyst, opals, peridot, citrine, aquamarine and topaz will do, too), you get so much more.
When you open that velvet box (that can also be a good time to open your velvet box for your beloved, when he shows he's invested in you by buying appropriate gifts -- and don't tell me I'm not a feminist, because I believe a woman should get all she can get by whatever means she chooses) you have something permanent to show off. That diamond won't lose value. That ruby won't melt. That sapphire won't spoil. That gold will not wilt.
If your love lasts, you'll have lovely memories tied to those valuables. And if it doesn't, hock it for cold, hard cash or have it customized into something more suited to your current situation.
You won't get that kind of trade-off for chocolate and flowers. Do you hear what I'm saying?
ON MEN AND GIFTS
Oh, how I love men. I love a broad set of shoulders, some powerful biceps, and a cute butt.
One thing I do not love about men: They are clueless when it comes to gift-giving.
Oh sure, now and then you find a unicorn and this guy knows how to pick the perfect present for you. Those are rare men indeed.
More often than not many of those rare men may check with a friend or a family member to get advice on what to get you for Christmas, Valentine's Day, your birthday or an anniversary. Or Arbor Day. (Emeralds I think would be lovely for Arbor Day, because, you know, they're green.)To simplify things, I suggest you frequently make show of what your tastes are, if you prefer gold, silver, white gold, diamonds, rubies, princess cut, and so on. Drop not-so-subtle hints around your man, and be sure to point out lovely things you'd like to your girlfriends, your daughter, your sister.
Let everyone and anyone know what you want.
It's a kindness, really.
Then your man won't have to waste valuable energy and endure stress out as he tries to figure out what to get you. He will simply know because you let him and everyone else hear about it. There will be no knuckle-biting tension as he wonders if he chose wisely because you've made the decision making easy.
It's truly a beautiful thing.
Because as much as I love men, they are clueless. They must be told, point blank, and often, what a girl wants. Don't drop tiny cute hints and sigh sweetly that a pearl ring is adorable. Simply point, and pick it up (or circle it in a catalog, or save the image and make it their desktop background on their laptop) and proclaim loudly, "I want this item. This one. See, the ruby earrings right here."
You'll walk away happy, and they'll be happy, too, because you aren't angry over a lame choice that they've made.
And yes, I know, it's the thought that counts. But it's also the thought that you've planted in their indecisive gift-choosing brains.
Magenta Wilde is the author of the Poppy Blue paranormal fantasy series.