PART 2: Crying Over Spilt Wine

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At the time, I was thirty two and happily living the average single life. On the surface, everything seemed to be chugging along nicely; I had a nice one bedroom condo off Granville Street, a great job designing interiors for the exploding Vancouver condo market, and a one year old titanium grey SUV with deluxe leather package.

But deep down, where it really counted, was a dark and empty void instead of a heart. I had great friends but I was lonely. No intimacy or sexy, fulfilling relationship to round out my life. Since breaking up with the love of my life, Brad six months before, I'd been living the spinster life. Just saying that word – spinster – gives me palpitations. I'd Googled the term during one of my solitary evenings at home and discovered the term originated from the Middle Ages. Apparently married tradeswomen in Medieval times were a shoe-in for the higher paying, high status jobs while their unmarried counterparts were doomed to a poor and lowly existence spent combing, carding and spinning wool. Hence the word, spinster.

That was enough to make me drop my knitting needles, bag all my handmade woolen throws, scarves and winter hats and donate them to the nearest Goodwill store. Then I asked Jake, our senior designer, to do a makeover of my place. I figured a change of surroundings might jog me out of my spinstery rut.

How could I possibly have known Jake was in his Retro Fifties Glam phase? When he led me in – blindfolded – for the grand reveal, my eyes ached from the extreme pinkness reflected from every surface. My bedroom was a symphony of powder pink walls, white lacquer cabinetry and fuchsia satin pillows. Marilyn portraits in black and white, in orangey sepia tones, pink with fuchsia highlights or multicolor a la Andy Warhol adorned every wall in the dining and sitting room. Her kittenish eyes followed me everywhere, daring me to be even one millionth as sexy as she looked straddling a subway vent in her billowing white halter dress.

Jake looked so stoked, I couldn't bear to burst his bubble. Instead I gritted my teeth, forced a smile that made my jaws ache and vowed that me and Marilyn would try to get along.

My standoff with the Marilyns came to a head after a lonely night in front of my new fifty-six inch smart TV. I polished off a bottle of cheap Merlot while watching The Notebook for the eighth time. I can't remember the exact circumstances, but I believe I staggered to the dining room with a black Sharpie clutched in my hand and stood swaying in front of the three-part Marilyn portrait artfully positioned next to my dining nook. I vaguely remembered ranting at her. Telling her that she too had been a failure when it came to love, and what's more she'd over bleached her hair, turning it into a nest of faded straw.

Next morning I woke with ink-covered hands and a blinding headache. On the way to the kitchen, I skidded to a halt at the sight of three Marilyns all with large black moustaches, black-rimmed glasses and bushy eyebrows. Not a flattering look for her – even in her Arthur Miller phase.

After six double espressos and an afternoon nap, I was fully recovered and ready for a night out with my best buds. Grace, a high school guidance counselor, and Mimi who had her own hat shop in Gastown. Every Friday night we'd wedge ourselves into a booth at the Harbor Grill with the after-work crowd and, over glasses of chilled Proseco, lament the sad state of our love lives.

Passing through my dining room on the way out, I felt a tingle of self-satisfaction at the sight of the mustachioed Marilyns, especially when I caught a glimpse of my polished and primped self in the mirror opposite. I love the fifties, but Audrey Hepburn is my true style icon. I have a wardrobe full of boxy black and white Chanel-type jackets, some classic little black dresses, and a weakness for gloves of all kinds. I looked at my sleek French pleat, the string of cultured pearls and my tailored black cap-sleeved sheath dress. No question - a fresh coat of makeup and stylish clothes were the best antidote for a hangover.

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