Here at Frump Factor headquarters, the past few days have included a weekend getaway, a botched home manicure, and some outlet shopping. And while all of these activities have been enjoyable, they aren’t what I want to blog about right now.
No, I just want to talk about TV. For example, did you know that, if you wear the blood and entrails of dead people, the invading zombie hordes will pass you by? I have this on good authority from The Walking Dead, and I’d say this is probably the strangest fashion advice I’ve ever received from TV.
But TV is full of fashion & beauty advice — sometimes explicitly given, more often lurking in the subtext. I’ve been receiving this input for decades now. Now that I’m in my 40’s, though, I can finally have some fun with it. I know I’m not going to become Jennifer Aniston overnight; I know that people love me, anyway. I know I don’t have to be Jennifer Aniston to pursue my own version of fabulousness. I can choose which role models to follow and which to discard.
So here’s what I’m taking from TV at the moment.
From Peggy on Mad Men
From Peggy, I’ve learned that you can transform your look and your life. In just five short years (in “TV time”), she’s gone from this:
Peggy’s career success, and resulting confidence, have done wonders for her! She may have benefited from advice given to her by one of Don Draper’s many flings: “Be a woman. It’s powerful business when done correctly.”
However, except for a couple of early mis-steps, Peggy has largely escaped the trap of using sex to get ahead, unlike many of her female colleagues. That’s why she has her own office, while all the other women in Don Draper’s life are strewn across the landscape like so many train wrecks.
From Gemma on Sons of Anarchy
The bad news is: Katey Sagal’s performance as motorcycle club matriarch demonstrates that, in my forties, I will never look as amazing as she does in her fifties.
But there are more encouraging messages here, too:
- Women over 40 can still wear black denim and/or leather (they’re slimming!);
- You can never own too many pairs of ass-kickingly hot boots;
- It’s never too late to show a little cleavage.
Rock on, Gemma.
From Patty Hewes on Damages:
The lesson here is simple and timeless: A power suit can intimidate. But it helps if you know where the bodies are buried –especially if you had a hand in putting them there. Being played by an Oscar-winning grande dame like Glenn Close doesn’t hurt, either.
From Rhonda Pearlman on The Wire
In her tough but influential position, high up in the State’s Attorney’s office for the City of Baltimore, Rhonda isn’t afraid to ruffle a few feathers. From her I learned that, if you are willing to take on an investigation that could bring down a powerful Congressman, your own boss, and the entire corrupt power structure of your city….. well, then, maybe it’s ok to flash a little leg to the judge standing between you and the subpoenas. Especially if he has a big old crush on you.
From The Millionaire Matchmaker
She’s hired by millionaires who can’t find women to put up with them, so you know she must be good! Here’s what I’ve learned from dear Patti Stanger:
- Curly hair is unacceptable to men;
- Red hair is unacceptable to millionaire matchmakers;
- Women must stick to a two-drink limit on first dates.
Fail! On all three counts! (Well, ok; maybe the two-drink limit is a good idea). As a redhead who’s learned to embrace her waves, I don’t make the cut. Fortunately, even if I wanted to sell myself off to the highest bidder so that I could never work again, I’m far too old for that now. Whew! (Besides, I’m pretty sure I’d need at least three drinks to tolerate one of Patti’s thick-walleted, thick-headed “catches” for more than five minutes).
From The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills
You didn’t think they could be role models, but oh, are you wrong! From these ladies, I have learned the following:
- Even if I could afford Botox, I don’t want it, for this reason right here:
- No matter how glamorous you are, if you marry the wrong guy, for the wrong reasons, and if you don’t build a life of your own, you will always feel insecure;
- In case you had any doubt, your lips can have too much collagen (see above photo);
- Size 2/4 is considered huge by Beverly Hills Standards.
Ok. So now I know. I can stay the hell away. Which is probably a good idea, since Salon critic Heather Havrilesky recently pointed out some disturbing similarities between Real Housewives and Zombies.
Hmmmm…… Very interesting. Botox-eating zombies.
Even entrails won’t save you now.