And here for 2010 are a few of March’s Maxims, soon to be self-published and available for $1.99 in a remainder bin in your area:
1) There is a single perfume out there that speaks to each person like no other scent does. If all other perfumes disappeared from the face of the Earth, you could console yourself with that one bottle. (For me, it’s Mitsouko.) You can spend the rest of your life trying other fragrances, but you will always come back to that one.
2) I have, right this second, my home-grown fingernails in a longer length and shape that closely approximates what I’d get if I went to a nail salon and bought myself a set of acrylic nails for $50 or whatever the going rate is. If I go to any salon in this area, with my real nails, they will insist that I get a French manicure of the sort that reminds me of Carmela Soprano. If I want polish, even if I tell them not to trim my nails at all or square them off, they’ll be filed down to square nubs. I don’t know why this is so, but it is.
3) If you wear red lipstick regularly enough it ceases to be a high-maintenance novelty and becomes a natural feature. A pleasing, softer visual alternative is the same red lipstick applied lightly with a fingertip. Voila, a whole new look. In either case, a lipstick brush and a mirror are handy things to have in the purse. Also a nice handkerchief. Not for the lipstick but because just the sight of them makes me feel more like a lady, even if I end up using one to clean the side mirror on my car.
4) In 2010 I’m going to spend less time sampling new stuff and more time wallowing in the scents I have, many of which are quite beautiful and don’t get enough attention.
5) Even if you swear you’re not getting any more perfume bottles, and you take active measures to try to decrease the number of perfumes you own, they still reproduce in the dark on your shelves, to the point that the uninitiated might open, say, the closet doors in your guest bedroom and then look at you as if they’d just discovered your stash of nasty porn.
6) Each year brings a search for a magical new note that one has not ever properly appreciated. This year for me it’s going to be sandalwood. Somewhere out there is a fragrance that is predominately sandalwood that doesn’t give me a headache and that I won’t want to bury after fifteen minutes of bliss turns into annoyance. If I can love incense, and (generic) woods, I can learn to love sandalwood.
7) While I haven’t managed to stay faithful to my attempts to dress more like a grownup on a daily basis, I’ve made some progress, and the results have been rewarding. I’ve given some of my cheaper, trendier stuff to the teenagers, and am staying out of their closets. I bought the boxed set of Nina Garcia’s Little Black Book of Style and The One Hundred on Carter’s recommendation, and I have very much enjoyed them. While I don’t agree with everything Garcia says (I think an oversized peacoat looks silly on me, like I’m wearing daddy’s, I much prefer my fitted version) I’ve made a few checks next to “classic items” I don’t own, like a nice trench coat. This year instead of blowing money on cheaper, trendy items, I’m going to shop for two or three of these classics that appeal to me. I think I’m finally ready.