Every Friday my syndicated column appears in a bunch of newspapers in southeastern Ontario. Here’s this week’s! And I just want to add, it is the first time I have ever used the word “bazongas” in print. I think it works in this context, though.

Last year a friend of mine, who travels for business, bought a Bluetooth device so he could use his cell phone without touching the screen. You just stick it in your ear and tell it what you want it to do.

His wife, fixing to be a little naughty, reprogrammed his phone so that instead of being listed under “Lisa”, she was now listed under “Hot Mama”. Sounds like a good idea, except now, when my friend is in public with the Bluetooth in his ear and he wants to call home, he can’t say, “Call Lisa”. He has to say, “Call Hot Mama.” “Did you say, ‘Call Hot Mama?’”, the Bluetooth then queries. “Yes,” he replies. And then the phone begins to ring.

Once we women have been married for long past a decade and we’ve shoved out a few children, we need all the reminders we can get that we are, indeed, “hot mamas”. Nevertheless, from what I observed watching several office Christmas parties at various restaurants this year, I wonder if people misunderstand the term “hot mama”. Consider this, then, my primer for what is considered “hot”.

First, less is not more. Less is actually less. Unless you are a 23-year-old supermodel, a little mystery is a very good idea. I saw far too many 40-something women attempting to wear dresses that revealed too much cleavage and too much thigh. That is not “hot”. That is vulgar. And it’s not even attractive. After all, the reason that they are called “foundational garments” is because they are, well, foundational. Once gravity kicks in, it doesn’t kick back out just because one is wearing a skimpy dress; it works overtime. Thus, think dresses that allow foundational garments to do their duty, not dresses that just show skin. Many larger women think that if they can squeeze into something small, they will appear small. Only in your dreams, honey. If you’re large, wear something that flatters, not something that squeezes.

Second, consider the weather. I do not understand why women feel that the proper attire for parties at the dawn of a new year consists of barely enough fabric to cover the vital areas. It’s Canada, people! Let’s not deny it. The most glamorous woman I saw this Christmas was definitely post-50, but she donned a lovely long velvet gown which, while showing cleavage, also provided enough shoulder coverage to allow for that foundational garment, which let that cleavage actually look attractive. She outclassed the shivering women all around her by miles.

Third, think about how you want others to perceive you. If you’ve spent the last two years trying to get the four young men you supervise to treat you with respect, and then you show up at a Christmas party wearing something that is blaring “stare at my bazongas”, do you really think you’re giving the right message? Just because you’re at a party does not mean that you should break down all social barriers. Why not instead adopt a little class? Wear a dress that allows you to show your figure to best advantage, while still leaving enough mystery to keep the co-workers looking up to you as royalty, rather than looking down on you as trash.

Being “hot” does not require one to dress like a tramp or to catch hypothermia in the middle of winter. If you’re single and searching, you’ll attract class better by looking like class. And if you already have a beloved, he’s the one who needs to know what’s under those office clothes, not everyone you work with. Now that this lesson is over, I think I’ll put on a good foundational garment and go reprogram my husband’s phone.

Note: I know there are other things to consider here–like more of a plea for modesty as a whole. But when you only have 600 words, and I’ve done columns on modesty before, I thought a different tack was needed. So please don’t take offense if you think I didn’t make enough of a case for modesty! I’m word limited.

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