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  • When lighting actresses past a certain age for movies and television, the experts know how to be kind without being insulting. Add a mini-spotlight to the top of the camera. Bounce the light this way as opposed to that way. Keep things soft and maybe add a pink gel lens - just because.

    In real life, you don't get to micromanage your lighting - or much of anything else really. Especially as we get older. And by we, I mean women.

    I thought about this as I dipped the mascara wand deep into its black case and drew up the inky goo to brush against my upper lashes. Swipe one. Swipe two. Then my lower lashes. Wiggle one. Wiggle two. I checked my work in my lighted make-up mirror at 10X magnification. (Not only am I older, I'm half-blind, too.) I picked up a swab and cleaned up the stray mascara marks my slightly unsteady hand had made. I was prepping myself to slip into the bed of a new man that evening. I hesitated to call him a boyfriend. Too early.

    I brushed my eyebrows one final time. Smiled at myself as I added a quick stroke of pinky peach shimmer across the apples of my cheeks. I wondered if he liked making love in the light or the dark. The dark seemed more forgiving, but safe. Perhaps it was time to consider edgier. Safe can be overrated. Retreat wasn't an option.

    I was getting naked (naked!) with a new man for the first time in a very long time. Memory wasn't going to obscure or soften my body's 50+ years of love and loss in my lover's eyes. Life doesn't accessorize with pink gel. I was coming off a decades-long marriage, and had dated some. But this was the first man after many months of "adventures with snacks" who tantalized my intellect, quickened my breath, and made me laugh.

    It was time for matching lingerie. Frothy and wildly extravagant. It was time for red lipstick and lavender eye shadow and kohl black lashes. It was time to dive back in, the lighting be damned.

    I clicked off the make-up mirror and grabbed my car keys. It was time to shine my own light and not be afraid to sparkle.
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