Herbal Medicine Ezine --  Wise Woman Wisdom
August 2005
Volume 5 Number 8
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What's Inside Weed Wanderings this Month...


Wise Woman Wisdom ...
Stairway To Mid Life Paradise…
by Juli I. Huss

Stairway To Mid Life Paradise…
by Juli I. Huss

Last summer right before my forty-fifth birthday, I was on the second floor of Macy’s rifling through the sale racks when I came across an oh-so-sexy lavender off-the-shoulder spandex crop top with matching seersucker lavender pinstripe pants. Perfect, absolutely perfect for all of my mid-summer Internet dates I was finally ready to go on. I thought to myself,” Juli, this outfit is gonna pull you out of your romantic rut—you are gonna look so H.O.T. “ I fought my way through the long lines into the dressing rooms, excited to see how fabulous I was going to look—lavender has always been my color.

Why? In high school I used to wear my Maybelline lavender iridescent eye shadow which matched my frosted lavender hair barrettes which matched my favorite lavender polyester turtleneck sweater I had bought specially to wear for my senior picture to showcase my favorite lavender hoop enamel earrings. My mother begged me not to wear all my lavender trappings (begged me with tears running down her cheeks), but sadly I didn't listen. I took my senior picture, with my spiky Julia-Roberts-Mystic-Pizza hair and told myself that this was how I wanted all those high school boys to remember me. I remember muttering to the ghost of my ex-boyfriend,

“See, this girl you dumped right before the senior prom Michael Erpelding? This gorgeous girl is no longer your personal door mat, buster.” I looked fabulous. As a result of my spiky hair and lavender wonderments, underneath my senior picture I was voted “Most likely to marry Dr. Spock on the Starship Enterprise…” I accept that everyone is haunted by their past, unfortunately for me when your past is captured in your senior picture, it follows you into eternity.

So, there I was staring at my single-and-over-forty-fabulous-self in the dressing room mirror and all I can say is that Macy’s has terrible mirrors and even worse lighting.(I mean, I can't look this bad, right?) I looked like a giant lavender marshmallow Easter blob. In my girlish mind, I was supposed to look like a light and airy pastel confection of forbidden pleasure.

Art by Lyndia RadiceBut something went haywire and I looked like I accidentally got sat on and squished into a blobby blob of spandex-stuffed- purple flab. Just to be sure I wasn't hallucinating, I tip-toed out of my little cubicle to look in the three-way mirror in the hallway. (This must be some sort of gag mirror, I said in disbelief.) While standing there, eyeing myself from behind, I caught three scrawny teenage girls standing in back of me shaking their heads at my reflection.

“Lady, you are in the Junior Miss department.” Announced the skinny girl with the spray on tan, with her hands on her hips, and with not an ounce of mercy she said,

“…And Lady, you ain’t no Junior Miss.”

I looked at her with tears in my eyes, “I'm not a Junior Miss anymore, right?” I asked, with my bottom lip quivering.”It's over, right?”

She looked away from me, putting the palm of her hand right in my face, “Lady, you are soooo over, it ain’t funny. It is time for you to move up to the third floor.”

The third floor, the no-mans land of middle age spread. The Gobi desert of shapeless tie-dye tunics, floral caftans and umpire blue jean smocks, the black hole in the universe where women like my fifth grade P.E. teacher Mrs. Klapp go to find a pair of comfortable brown corduroy overalls to wear over their Chicago Cubs baseball jersey. That sexless- fat-free- fork in the road where ugly meets drab. Now that I had been exiled to the third floor, I called my girlfriend Edie on my cell, “I’ve been shipped off to the third floor, you gotta come down here.” Edie has been on the third floor for a couple of years now. And she looks great, I don’t know what my problem is, she is ripe and succulent and has the best sex life of anyone I know.

“Juli, it’s time to become a third floor woman.”

“I can’t do it alone.” I begged, gazing at the Paris Hilton spring collection. “I gotta let go of trying to look like Paris. right?”

“Honey, Paris Hilton needs to let go of looking like Paris Hilton,” Edie counseled adding

“I’ll be right there,” and Edie left her client lunch to meet me at the escalators with a warm angelic smile.

“Just put your right foot on the first step and come on up and see what you have been missing.”

She said, in a cheery voice. “Up on the third floor women get to have hips and breasts and feel good about their curves.” She said, glancing behind to see if I was still on the escalator. “Up on the third floor, women get to wear fabric that breathes and doesn’t need to be dry cleaned, she said, as the stairs glided us up heavenward. “Up on the third floor, designers know that women are much smarter than girls and have to make clothes that flatter our woman figures, with fabrics that don’t wrinkle so you can throw them in your dryer without fear of shrinking and we don’t have to starve to feel fashionable.”

Whimpering, I asked her, “But there are no crop tops or Daisy Dukes, right?” I asked, tapping her on the shoulder, “And by the way, their size eight’s, are they cut large or are they cut small?”

Edie turned around and smiled down at me sympathetically. “Juli, what do you care if their size eights are cut large? Let’s face it honey, you’re a size twelve.” She reached out and grabbed my arm. “Its okay, honey, be brave, up here on the third floor we can tell the truth about who we are because we love ourselves as women and have learned how to tell the difference between a mature man and a mid-life schmuck.”

“We have? How can we tell?” I asked in disbelief.

Edie smiled, welcoming me into the Donna Karan section of the third floor. “Men who love third floor women insist on doing all the dishes, even on holidays. And they don’t start their sentences with, ‘Yo…And they…

I interrupted her, “Don’t tell you they got a wife and six kids and a twenty-six year old mistress right after they slept with you?”

“Not allowed.” She winked, clapping her hands together. “But you know what the best news is?

“No.” I said, gazing at her in awe.

“Up on the third floor, we enjoy our desserts like European women. Up here we like to encourage emotional balance, personal choice and individual expression—we think it makes our lives more fulfilling. See, up here on the third floor the staff up here makes it clear to any men, children and small family pets upon entering that this is an Atkins-free zone.

I took a deep breath and squeezed her arm, “But what about Britney Spears?”

Art by Lyndia RadiceEdie shook her head with a firm no, “Absolutely not. No Jessica Simpsons, no Hilary Duffs, and none of those nutty Real World girls.” Edie pointed to the sign above the cappuccino machine, “See that sign, “No twits, bimbos or hoochie mamas.” She shrugged her shoulders mercifully, and conceded “Well okay, maybe a couple of hoochie mamas…Brigette Nielson and Sharon Stone have booked passage a couple of times, but have yet to take the first step.”

That afternoon Edie found me a slinky black Donna Karan cocktail dress which revealed plenty of bare virgin shoulder with just enough cleavage to appear tarty but not cheap—thank you very much, and a fluted train down the back that made my caboose look less like the rear end of a Chrysler and more like the rear view of a vintage Ferrari.

“I told you that you’d love it up here.” Edie, said pleased with herself, as she ushered me over towards the chocolate fondue fountain. We parted ways at the Ben and Jerry’s tropical sorbet bar, with me in my size 12 sassy black cocktail dress and a pair of Easy Spirit strappy gold sandals. Edie waved good bye, with a big happy smile as I called out to her with a mouthful of chocolate dipped strawberries. “So, what am I supposed to do up here?”

“Expand, ripen, become a woman unafraid to show the world what an eternal beauty looks like!”

BIO: Juli I. Huss began her writing career as a weekly food columnist for “The Two Rivers Times” in Redbank, New Jersey. From the success of her weekly column, NAL/Dutton published, The Faux Gourmet: A Single Woman’s Confession on Food and Sex. Her second novel, Happy Maisy Coleman, was written after her travels throughout Japan. Juli I. Huss lives in New York City.



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