From Jewel in New Jersey: I have noticed that I am not as cute now as I was in my 20’s. And not even as attractive as many of my friends. I recently went through a divorce and I need some help.I would like to start dating but feel like I need to look and feel better. What can I do?

I think it’s a good sign that you feel like getting back into the dating scene. But more important, you should do whatever you need to do to feel good about yourself. In 9.7 times out of 10, feeling good will help you look better. So I have a double prescription for you for the next 2 weeks – focusing on feeling good and looking good. Part I: Do something at least every other day that you know makes you feel good and is good for you – yoga, going to the gym, treating yourself to a spa massage, watching a re-run of a funny movie, donating some old suits to a charity like You should also try to surround yourself with friends or business associates who make you feel good – by showing appreciation for you or complimenting you about… whatever. If your friends don’t make you feel good, and instead seem to drag you down, find some new acquaintances. Life is too short to let others minimize your potential.

And for the second part…Part II…like it or not, much of beauty in our world is only skin deep. We’re a superficial lot for the most part. The good news is that each of us – whether human or 4-legged…has our own strengths and weaknesses in the looks category. While you sound like you might be well aware of your weaknesses, try for the next 10 minutes to identify one of your positive features. Maybe it’s your eyes, or your smile, or your long shiny fur (hair), or your skin? Or your posture? Let’s pretend it’s your eyes. So over the next two weeks, try to do something to accentuate your beautiful eyes. Your can try some dark smoky eye shadow that a cosmetologist at a department store make-up counter will help you put on for free. And you can buy an inexpensive pair of new sunglasses and practice taking them off and on in a sultry way to draw attention to your beautiful eyes while you chat disarmingly with the Starbucks barista as you order a double decaf espresso. If you have blue eyes, you can wear a periwinkle, lavender or turquoise sweater that will bring out the blue in your eyes. And above all, when you talk to people, look them squarely in the eyes – with confidence and charm. I wouldn’t go for a wink at this time. Not till you get used to using the power of your eyes. But you can smile with your eyes. Try it in the mirror first so you don’t look like you’ve got a twitch.

And as a related point, don’t accentuate any negatives. For example, if you have fat ankles, don’t wear those gladiator sandals (I call them Russell Crowe’s-feet – in homage to the Gladiator movie). They only draw the eye downward and make you look like you’re walking on stumps. And anyway, when the gladiator looks fades, it will be as out as white top-stitching on stonewashed stretch jeans.

Also, use little tricks like standing like a model – with one hand on your hip and one leg at a 45 degree angle in front of the other. It is immediately slimming. Even skinny Lindsay Lohan and Cate Blanchett use this “mug-handle” stance. When they don’t, they look up to 30 lbs heavier! The pose can be easily perfected in about 15 minutes. You can also develop your own signature stance. Like Eva Mendez hooks her thumbs into the pockets on every dress she wears. Perhaps a bit overdone, but it’s hers. I, for example, realize that I look at least 45% cuter if I sit with my front legs close together and cock my head at a 30 degree angle. It makes me look almost like I’m listening to that ridiculous babble my human companion constantly emits. But it pays off. I cock my head and she coos all over me, rubs me under the chin and then I lead her to the kitchen to give me a treat of fresh turkey or Fancy Feast krunchies. I have her completely in my power. You will have others in your power in no time. It just takes a little practice, making an effort to do things that make you feel good and accentuating your positive physical attributes. Do let me know how things are going. Write me again in 2 weeks, send me a jpeg, and we’ll work out some next steps. Darling, you’re beautiful! Don’t forget it.

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