So. I've seen this post about things girls need to remember floating around the Internet for a while now. And while at first glance, it's faintly inoffensive, when I look at it I can't help but think- this predominantly reduces women to little more than emotional beings who want to be thin and pretty.
Not going to lie- I'd like to think I'm more than that.
Okay, there are days when I sob for no reason, and days where I wish I had my housemate's body- but is that the only wisdom I have to impart? That other people feel like this too? I know guys that cry for no reason and who are more self conscious about their bodies than me!!
So. Here are my alternatives. Ten things every girl needs to know:
1. Being stupid isn't cute. Oh my god. Seriously- you will impress far more people (romantically and professionally) if you know your shit. Never dumb yourself down for anyone. Be a powerhouse. Impress directors and interview panellists and you will go much further than pretending you don't know how to switch your computer on. Men- yeah, you can do this too.
2. Build bridges. Be polite and helpful. People (particularly in a workplace) respond better to people they like on a personal level. Be nice, and they're more likely to respond when you ask for something. Again- this applies to guys too...
3. Set goals. It's easier to get somewhere when you know where you want to be. There's a quote from Alice in Wonderland that is pretty applicable here:
'Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?’
‘That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,’ said the Cat.
‘I don’t much care where—’ said Alice.
‘Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,’ said the Cat.
‘—so long as I get SOMEWHERE,’ Alice added as an explanation.
‘Oh, you’re sure to do that,’ said the Cat, ‘if you only walk long enough.'
Do you just want to end up SOMEWHERE? Because you will. If you want to buy a house, travel around Africa, or become the next prime minister, work out what you need to do to get there and START DOING IT. Don't come whinging to me when the thing you want to happen hasn't happened if you've done nothing about it. Oh look! That one could apply to men too...
4. Be selfish. Put yourself first sometimes. Don't stay in a relationship because you're worried how the other person will react. Don't let other people dictate your time. Do make time for the things that are important for you. You don't have to do anything you don't want to do (within reason- you DO often have to do what your boss tells you). Haters gonna hate (potatoes gonna potate), so you might as well just do whatever you want anyway. Hey guys- some of you could do with remembering that too.
5. You don't have to do what everyone else is doing. Your twenties and thirties are the shittiest time for comparing yourself to others. Think about number four. What do YOU want to do? It doesn't matter what you THINK you should be doing- do what you KNOW you WANT to do. You can be a doctor, or work in a supermarket, or be self employed. You don’t have to drink. You can buy a house, or you can rent, or you can live with your parents. You can buy your clothes from Primark or The White Company. As Fleetwood Mac once said, you can go your own way. Are you sending a theme here? I know some guys who could remember this too...
6. Learn a language. Any language, actually. As many as you want. At least learn how to say "please" "thank you" "hello" and a few other key phrases in the language of whatever country you're visiting. It's respectful, and locals respond better to tourists who TRY. And if you have a whole language on your CV, employers think you're awesome. Men? You can do this too.
7. Learning about your car will save you an awful lot of time and money. If you know how to check your oil, water, tyre pressure, and if you're really on it, how to change a tyre, you can stop some things from going wrong before they do. Equally applicable to women and men...
8. Be nice to people. Wish them luck. Cheer their successes. Remember their birthdays. Don't put people down. Stop feeling like you're in competition with everyone you come across!!! It will make you happier, it will make them happier, it will make the world a nicer place to be. Be nice to your mum in particular- she made you from scratch. Don’t demean other people, don’t be stroppy with people for no reason, don’t put other people down. You’re entitled to be in a bad mood- but don’t take it out on the people who mean most to you. Men- my god, would you do well to remember this one too.
9. Learn how to cook. You will save yourself so much time and money if you can cook. Even just knowing how to make ten great dishes (and these could be as simple as roast chicken, bolognese sauce (and therefore lasagne), chilli, fish pie, sausage and mash, beef stew, risotto, leek and potato soup, salmon en papillot, and a pasta bake) will serve you SO well. Making your own food is so much more satisfying than sticking a pizza in the oven (not cooking), making curry from a jar (not cooking) or ordering a takeaway (definitely not cooking). Knowing how to bake something will impress people too. This one is so applicable to both men and women. EVERYONE should know how to cook something.
10. There is no problem so great or so grave that cannot be greatly diminished by a nice cup of tea. I’m serious. If you’re sad, if you’re stressed, if you’re having a cry in your car, if you’re cold, if you’re hungry- make a cup of tea, and you everything will feel better. It is also the perfect celebratory drink when it’s just that little bit too early to crack out the champagne. It’s the perfect thing to hug while you’re breaking up with someone (as in, clutch the mug like a crux, not hug the actual liquid). It’s the best thing to drink while catching up with friends. Also applies to coffee- but I like tea better. And of course- this obviously is universally applicable.
And overall: Love many, trust few, always paddle your own canoe.
Being a girl is fantastic. We get to create life, impress people, smash through glass ceilings. We are so much more than emotional beings who like make up and want to be thin. We are different from men, but certainly should be equal to them. And don’t let anyone- male OR female- tell you otherwise.