Tag Archives: Arlene Dahl

“Raise arms above the head and, (in a sweeping motion), twist from the waist to the right, down to touch the toes, around to the left and back up to the original position,  repeat twice to the right and reverse”  Arlene Dahl, Always Ask a Man

ImageSo since I’ve put on a little weight, I guess I’d better slim down or I’ll never get a husband.  Arlene gives a very detailed exercise routine for every possible body flaw, so I’m going to try a new one every night this week until I have a whole routine worked out.

This one is designed to reduce spare tire and slim waist.  Now since I generally have no waist to speak of, maybe I can create one.  

I did 15 reps per side an OH MY GOD I HURT.  This is TOUGH.

I’m going to be beautiful!


The End of Spanx Week . . . Finally

My Gay-Gay, in a famous piece of family lore, ditched her girdle in the ladies room at the officer’s club in Okinawa, Japan, while my grandfather was stationed there.

Clearly, we are a family who is not into rubber slips.  But I survived, and I’m going to be honest–I’ll probably hang onto them for special occasions.  They work, which makes me hate them, but I, being vain and shallow, also enjoy the attention the bring me.  And the good posture. 

Dinner Date #3–Pizza in Spanx

I didn’t tell Chris that he was picking my dinner.  The Deadstring Brothers were playing the B-Side Ballroom, and since they’re on the same record label as Justin Townes Earle, I had to ask Chris to go with me, since he’s responsible for getting me into JTE and we saw him together back when he played Foothills.

But I woke up in a lot of pain because I spent all of yesterday huddled over a tiny picture of a geranium teaching myself to cross-stitch, so after trying a horse-sized dose of ibuprofin, got out the big guns, downed a latte and took a muscle relaxant, hoping the two would balance each other out.

I continued to cross-stitch until my brain went numb, then went upstairs to lie still and hope to God I didn’t sink into the floor like Ewan McGregor in Trainspotting.  When I woke up, I realized it was 5 p.m. and I had a date in two hours.  A date I was wearing heels for.  And the muscle relaxant hadn’t quite worn off.

But I figured if drunk girls could walk in cheap, too-big heels from Rue 21, I could handle myself in Betsey Johnson stiletto booties.  In the snow.  And Spanx.  Because I’m tough.

Chris suggested pizza because he is chill and thus proved Arlene’s rule that it’s better to eat hot dogs with a man than caviar by yourself.  I pretended not to know what I wanted and let him get a slice for me, and he ordered broccoli, which I never get but actually enjoy.  Later, at the B-Side Ballroom, he ordered us french fries, which pretty much solidifies him as the Best Date Ever.  And since I now know the power of Spanx, I can eat junk food with abandon, mwa ha ha!

A few words about Chris.  He’s perfect.  I want to put him up on Ebay.  He told me I looked nice with specifics about my shoes and haircut, let me take his arm so I didn’t fall in the snow.  He is a gentleman of the utmost order, a genuinely good and kind person with not an ounce of malice, even when he’s making fun of people.

He’s also from Cobleskill, my much-hated hometown, so we talked about our alcoholic choir director, little league teams, senior quotes and high school pictures.  I’m not from Cobleskill, I just grew up there, and even though some of us, like Chris and I, manage to escape, it gets in you, stays in your blood like a virus.  But the good part of this is that I can turn to him and point at a guy with a white fluffy mullet and say “Cobleskill Hair” and he understands what that means and laughs.

Chris also doesn’t drink, which is cool, especially because I didn’t want to explain that I couldn’t drink tonight because of the massive doses of horse tranquilizers I have to swallow in order to turn my head.  So we got ginger ales and sat in the corner and felt like teenagers sneaking into the place where the grown-ups have all the fun. 

The Deadstring Brothers had the place rocking.  It was like Roadhouse without the chicken wire or the Swayze.   And when the band called for “Ladies Choice” we slow danced (he was an excellent sport about this even though by that time, Ian had arrived and was talking with a friend), and he smelled like cool water cologne, and he didn’t grope me the way the guy with Cobleskill Hair was doing to his date.  

A note about dancing in Spanx.  You can do it, in theory, but your perfectly sculpted legs are reduced to a C-3PO-like shuffle.  So you’re stuck only moving your arms and your hips, which can look good or it can make you look like a drunk mess.  I like to think that I looked great, but this has yet to be confirmed.


. . . And He Will

We stayed out until 12:30.  I can’t even remember the last time I stayed out that late.  But the B-Side is my new music destination, and Chris is my new music date . . . my Saturday Night Thing, if you will.

How To Watch TV With a Man

“Draw out his ideas to which you can gracefully add your footnotes from time to time.” Arlene Dahl, Always Ask a Man

Bill, my father-in-law, is now one of the main men in my life.  Namely because he owns the house we’re staying in for the next six months.  So I decided to try this one out on him.


I will watch anything, literally anything, Walton Goggins is in.

Bill watches a lot of TV.  That’s not unusual for a 60 year old bachelor in the middle of an upstate New York winter (last year for Christmas, we made him a wool snuggie, which he boasts is one of his favorite gifts ever).  And the one thing he likes more than watching TV is talking about TV.  He would often regale us with something he heard on the news or a funny bit he saw on a sitcom or a particularly gruesome episode of Criminal Minds, which is normally too horrifying for me, even the episode with Walton Goggins.

Thursday night we watched  two episodes of Mystery at the Museum, and I asked him open-ended questions about other episodes, gracefully adding some notes about my own experiences with history (like the time Matthew and I visited the site of the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre) when the opportunity present itself (they were showing a barber chair that Albert Anastasia of Murder, Inc was killed in).  But mostly I let him fill me in, because the man is an absolute history buff.

Last night he gave me the choice between Cold Case and Law and Order: Special Victims Unit.  I am a huge SVU fan and have been since college (even though it has been terrible the last four seasons, and I think they should have replaced Chris Meloni with Michael Chiklis) but I remembered my quest and gently said, “Whichever one you like best.”  His logic was that Cold Case is only on one a week, so we watched that.

It was kind of nice.  Since we’re living in his house, I want him to feel like we’re not just taking over his life, and I think letting him dictate what he wanted to watch was a good way to do that.  Plus, I had never seen Mysteries of the Museum or Cold Case, and both were pretty awesome.