The mid-40s makeover

At some point after becoming suddenly single in your 40s, you WILL stop staring into the tub of Ben and Jerry’s* and turn your mind to assessing your date-ability.

(*Although, if it were possible to marry a pint of B&Js Clusterfluff in all its peanut buttery marshmallow glory there would simply be no need to move from the couch. Ever)


The safest entrée to this pursuit is to skip the dangerous, if insightful, territory of emotional introspection and spend time on the less-perilous ground of whether you need a wardrobe and image makeover.  If the last time you were single was when Justin and Britney were rocking double denim, you may wish to do a little examination of your image in case it has remained a little stubbornly wedged in that same era.

britney and justin double denim

It is important, however, to understand that less is more when it comes to the makeover, and illustration is often the best way to describe where that line falls.  Much as I detest joining the majority in taking cheap shots and lampooning foolish celebrities, I’m declaring all bets off as its Friday night, I’m alone under a rug on the couch watching the footy, so such tomfoolery seems justifiable, if not NECESSARY,  in the name of pure entertainment.

Freakishly, there is a single celebrity that comes to mind as the iconic cautionary tale when it comes to the mid 40s makeover and that is our Aussie cricketer Shane Warne. You may know him as the other half of Liz Hurley, and one suspects his transformation may not have occurred had he taken up with Cheryl from Fountain Lakes, but regardless of whether his transformation occurred off his own bat or at the urgings of Ms Hurley, the lessons still remain.

Here are four areas where you are encouraged to indulge in a makeover, with the Warnie caveats to help you understand where to stop.


If you were ever in doubt that what you wore out and about when dating in your 20s was NOT appropriate now, take a brief look back at Brit and JT and come back to this spot.  OK? Right.  If you are still not sure, start with the casual first-date staple – jeans – and eliminate all that are in your wardrobe that resemble those worn by the cast of 90210 (the original series)


Apply similar improvements to other aspects of your wardrobe, using 90s American TV if necessary as a reference point on what you need to eliminate.

Its important to move on, but it is only an invitation to ridicule at the hands of your nearest and dearest if you move TOO FAR along the spectrum to a point where you are not even in the same universe as your original style.

Case in point.

two warnes


Nothing screams ‘I’ve moved on to some new levels of fabulousness’ than a great new hairstyle.  Again, if you’ve hung on to something a bit Billy Ray Cyrus, then you could certainly do with a move towards Bradley Cooper.

BR and BRC

If you are female, the inequities of womanhood means it will cost you about seven times as much for your follicular transformation, but if you are male, you will achieve this relatively cheaply and easily in a single hairdresser visit, albeit with probably a fair amount of take-home product.  If you persist with the lovely chap with the venue displaying the barber’s pole that you’ve been seeing for 20 years, please do be specific so that you don’t just end up with a neater version of the Billy Ray.

My hairdresser and I already have a pact, that if ever I go in and ask her to HACK IT ALL OFF that she will send me away for two weeks to have a think about it, in case I am in a Ben and Jerry’s sugar coma or once again trying to replicate my boyfriend’s ex

If you don’t have a pre-existing arrangement around major hair transformation, just be gradual.  eg Shane – always needed to move on from here

hair 1

Should have stopped here

could have stopped here

Went here

went here


Nothing is guaranteed to make you look more subtly sprightly than a dental makeover.  Whilst an overhaul involving crowns, straightening and the full enchilada will cost more than putting your first-born through private school, a simple whitening treatment will do wonders in erasing your late night red wine and long black coffee habits.  You can undertake at-home treatments that involve dental molds full of something toxic-bleachy that you soak your teeth in, but be sure to cease and desist if you do manage to entice someone back into your boudoir – revealing these types of night time habits are not for early-stage dating.  Better to succumb to yet another example of our instant-gratification culture and get your fangs nuked in the dentist chair in the same time as it would take you to get a takeaway coffee and sandwich.

JUST. DON’T. OVERDO. IT.  Also – be wary of your degree of teeth bleachedness vs your degree of fake-tannedness.

shane warne teeth

Social media

When you were last single, the greatest evolution in communication was in the form of the mobile phone – and it had only just moved from being brick-like to the look of a medium sized dictionary.  Now we have drunk texting, facebook faux pas, instagram oversharing and twitter fails.  Although you might think these are outside the scope of a blog on physical transformation, all this social media becomes the online manifestation of your physical form.  Once out there, its out there forever.  So take a moment to acquaint yourself with these tools, sort out your privacy settings, NEVER LOG ON under the influence of alcohol and develop a healthy cringe-ometer before you post.

Yes Shane, I’m talking to you….


If you are not sure you can manage it, stay on the couch with ice cream for a week or two longer….

**** Apologies Liz and Shane.  I do feel a bit bad about this.  But it was either you or Miss Utah, and my last post had a reference to another unfortunate beauty pageant speech so I couldn’t go there again.

Don’t mention THE EX

Unless you are dealing with someone that is so young that they haven’t had time to have a significant ex in their life, in which case, read this, your new romantic interest will no doubt have a former flame that has loomed large in their dating history.  Anyone they have married, been engaged to or has borne their child will likely trigger a glimmer of curiosity which, if you give it any attention, has the potential to embed itself in your brain like a rare and untreatable waterborne parasite.    Poke at that sucker by asking questions about the ex, and it will morph into a Guinness-book-of-records-sized slug that will suck the living daylights out of all your internal organs quicker than a Lindsay Lohan period of good behaviour.


Sure, there are always the exes that will allow you, by contrast, to appear as the pinnacle of beauty, sanity, honesty and just plain good manners.  You might find someone that has had the misfortune to have an ex like one of these celebrities do:

  • Paris Hilton – whose ex distinguished himself by releasing that unfortunate home movie (although the jury is still out as to whether that may represent her finest acting achievement)
  • Sandra Bullock – whose Oscar moment was ruined by fiancé Jesse James running off with a trashy tattoo model.   Hollywood princess vs bad boy rarely ends well and this one was a descendant of the actual outlaw of the same name, not just a cashed up heir with some antisocial traits. Poor Sandy.
  • Tiger Woods. No need to elaborate.

For every ex that may allow you to shine by comparison, there are many more that will cause you nothing but angst if you examine them too closely.

Accept that there are exes you simply can’t be.

One – the mother of his first child.  Regardless of how this relationship ended, there is a bond with this ex that has endured things that if you are childless, you will never know.  Ultrasounds, which personally, I can’t view without wanting to screech out loud ‘SEE!!! We are ALL DESCENDED FROM ALIEN BEINGS’  The incessant vomiting of morning sickness that mirrors a never-ending hangover without the preceding uproarious good time that means you deserve it.  The rigors of childbirth, which despite all progress in every other realm of human life, still resembles a barbaric ritual of the dark ages.  They’ve survived that, been rewarded with a beautiful child, and even if you are keen and biologically able to replicate it, that original bond will still stand alongside yours.

A physical copy of his ex.  You are not going to be a carbon copy of those who have gone before you – unless your love interest has a near-psychopathic addiction to a certain physical type (hello, I’m looking at you Leonardo Di Caprio)


Here’s a tip – NOR SHOULD YOU TRY TO BE.

There are endless reasons to avoid any possibility of ever seeing a photo of his ex.  The prime reason is that the innate laws of the feminine universe dictate that if there are two photos, you will see this one

19th Annual Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards - Arrivals

not this one


From that point, you can’t unsee it and the next thing you know, in an effort to emulate your ex’s natural tumbling curls, you are in a hairdresser’s chair staring at your new 80s style spiral perm.  About four weeks later you will spend the cost of a smart pair of Italian shoes getting it put back to normal again, with the unfortunate postscript being that you got your passport renewed in between and you now have to explain that hairstyle brain-snap for the next ten years.

A competitor, if she has some freakish god-given talent.  There are many things that you simply can’t learn without some kind of underlying talent.  Playing piano by ear, pulling off ‘Dancing like the stars’ style moves, singing (and no, your booze-fuelled karaoke efforts do not constitute singing…there are still Tokyo residents with bleeding ears from your last efforts), being a fearless black run skier.  I can personally vouch for all of these.

If the ex factor does start to crawl round in your brain, hold back from trying to transform yourself and just mentally endow her with a mythical set of very unfortunate personality traits.  Choose from any one or combination of these.

  • Dubious personal grooming  – like Julia Roberts in her underarm hair era
  • Nails on a blackboard voice – eg Fran from The Nanny or Ross’ girlfriend Janice from Friends.
  •  The intelligence of Miss South Carolina 2007 who responded as follows to the question about why many Americans can’t locate the US on a map….pageant

There’s bound to be a very good reason why they broke up. Find it. Or invent it.