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better after 50 midlife women

My cheeks burn and the blister on my heel oozes, as I peel the backing off a Band-Aid. Paparazzi and stilettos. It’s not as easy as it looks. I wonder if this is how the Kardashians got started.

My good friend, Stacey, talented writer and photographer, agreed to take some head shots to use for my “social media presence,” you know, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YikYak.

When I spotted Stacey at the agreed upon location, I waved. She fiddled with her camera strap and turned in my direction. Then she sized me up like Giuliana Rancic on Fashion Police.

“Take off the sweater. It doesn’t work. Too bright.”

Damn. In my quest for just the right outfit, I rejected a navy sweater, a denim jacket, two shawls and a caftan. Why didn’t I bring them? I knew I couldn’t argue with her well-established eye for color and exposure, not to mention her know-it-all attitude. Nevertheless, I couldn’t imagine enduring this photo shoot in such revealing attire.

“No way,” I protested. “My blouse is sleeveless, and I hate my arms.”

I slipped out an offending appendage from the blinding garment. “See?” I said, wiggling my generous underwing.

“Don’t be silly,” she said, ripping the cardigan from my vice-like grip. “You look fine.”

Easy for her to say, a smart-alecky ten years my junior, oblivious to the sadistic sag preparing to ravage her youthful tautness.

Ms. Bossy sat me down and started snapping, positioning me this way and that, head tilted, looking up, straight ahead, or off toward the distant strip mall.

After clicking our way through scores of shots, we found a bench and started scrolling through the images on the camera’s two-inch display screen. How the hell am I supposed to select from that microscopic screen? I thought. I grabbed my readers and leaned in.

“I like that one,” I said, squinting to avoid the flabby wing flap.

Next.

“No, I’m slouching in that one.”

Delete. Next.

“Your smile is nice in that one.”

Next.

When a shot of her teenage son sinking a lay-up on the basketball court at his high school gymnasium appeared, Stacey tapped the OFF button. “That’s it,” she said. “I’ll email the ones you picked.”

“What do I owe you?” I said, following her to her car as she loaded her gear.

She climbed in the driver’s side and rolled down the window. “Don’t worry about it,” she said, waving me off with a well-defined triceps.

A couple of days later, the pictures arrived. I opened each one on my computer monitor. On the big screen, I discovered, it’s impossible to avoid the bare blubber. But, aside from the slack-skinned limbs, they looked good – in focus, proper lighting, no shadows, suitable positioning of subject – middle-aged, J.K. Rowling wannabe, absent discernible muscle tone. The only negative was, well, said subject, me.

Nonplussed, I forwarded them to my even more youthful daughter for a second opinion. Days later, Kristen replied. “Mom, seriously? Hire a professional. You really could use a little retouching. Love you. xxxooo.” She inherited her keen sense of diplomacy from her father’s side.

Which brings me to my burning cheeks and oozing blister. Suzan, the pro I hired at my sweet daughter’s urging, led me up and down Main Street for an hour at dusk in nearby Pleasanton’s quaint downtown district. As expected, with her expert camera angles and soft focus lens, the results were fabulous.

And Suzan let me leave my sweater on.

Follow Camille’s humor blog at www.camilledeferthompson.com.

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