I have been the recipient of some really good advice over the years. And since absolutely no one has asked my advice on any subject, I thought it was a good time to share some of it with you, dear reader. (In no particular order)
1. Dress for the weather, not the season. Linen is acceptable when it’s 90° whether that temperature is in July or December. If you need a jacket, take a jacket. If you dress for the weather, you will be comfortable. And comfortable is stylish to a certain extent. Such as…
2. Be more concerned with style than fashion. I have heard about trends if you wore it the first time, don’t wear it the next time. I feel this rule specifically applies to legwarmers. If boot-cut jeans work for you, don’t worry that skinny jeans are the rage. If the print of the blouse looks like it’s wearing you, then it doesn’t matter how hot the designer is. When you find a style that works for you, work it. I look best in tailored clothes. Those adorable little sack dresses look like, well, like I’m wearing a sack. Head-to-toe peasant looks like I’m wearing schmatta. And I always feel like I smell like patchouli. I skeeve myself out is what I’m saying. So, I do a peasant blouse with tailored pants and funky jewelry. It works because it’s my look.
3. Wear a little lipgloss. Other people have to look at you. At first I know this sounds PROFOUNDLY anti-feminist, but it’s one of the many valuable pieces of advice my grandmother gave me. She used to say she didn’t really care about makeup, but other people had to look at her, so it was only fair she powder her nose. More importantly, there is a reason lipstick sales skyrocket in a bad economy. You will feel better with a little lipstick. I don’t care how girly, anti-feminist, or shallow it sounds. It’s true. Accept it and move on. Maybe your speed is tinted lip balm or just Chapstick. Put it on. Now.
4. Expect no, but plan for yes. This goes hand-in-hand with my mother’s deepest held belief: If you expect the worst, you are never disappointed and often pleasantly surprised. Wondering if it’s worth it to shave your legs tonight? Do it anyway. Don’t know if the in-laws will drop in on their way home from Branson? Pick up extra pork chops. They’ll freeze. (The pork chops, not your in-laws. No matter how much you might want to freeze your mother-in-law so she’ll shut up about the dust on the ceiling fan, it’s really bad form)
5. The only time you can change a man is when he’s in diapers. Truly, some of the best advice I’ve ever gotten. This gem is courtesy of Natalie Wood. I was just a young, impressionable thing when I first heard this, but it stuck with me. I like to think Natalie is responsible for keeping me out of many a bad relationship. If you find yourself thinking, oh, but he’d be perfect IF he’d just get another job, lose 20 pounds, and stop calling his mother so much, you need to stop. You need to stop, take a step back and smack yourself heartily about the head and shoulders. First, ain’t no one perfect. Second, do you really want to be with someone who will bend to your every wish and whim? No, really, I know it sounds good, but wouldn’t you rather be with someone with a strong sense of self? We change behaviors, not personalities. And all of this is true for women, too. So, yes, you potentially have a shot at getting your honey to stop leaving her tampons sitting on the counter where GOD AND EVERYONE CAN SEE THEM AND KNOW SHE MENSTRUATES, but as for trying to get that introverted guy who only reads in the bathroom to go to your book club? Turn it over to God, honey. That one’s bigger than you.
6. It doesn’t matter what your nighttime beauty routine is, just have one. Again, my grandmother of the perfect skin and awesome style. She started using that yellow Clinique moisturizer the day it came out, took her makeup off with Pond’s, and (eventually) used sunscreen every day. She added in a few things here and there, but the main thing was she washed her face every night and moisturized twice a day. AND DON’T FORGET YOUR NECK! Nothing gives away age more than a crinkly neck. Except maybe crinkly hands. Moisturize them too. And wear sunscreen. Sunscreen is cool.
7. Don’t get married before 30. This advice is also expressed as You’ve Got No Goddamn Sense Until At Least 30. This is from my husband, himself a child bride the first time. He got it right this time. Which leads me to…
8. Remember the mistakes you made in previous relationships AND DON’T MAKE THEM AGAIN. What’s the definition of insanity? Constantly blaming your crappy relationship habits on your partner’s crappy job, lack of bathroom etiquette, noisy food-chewing, lack of an MBA, ugly toenails, or self tanner habit. You are not your partner. You are not defined by your partner. You deserve a healthy relationship. BUT you must remember, no man is an island. If he were, there would be a lot less fighting over what to watch on TV.
9. Do not ask, “Does this make my butt look big?” If you are asking that question, you know the answer. First, wear something you feel awesome in every day. There is no excuse to do otherwise. Second, you are setting yourself up to fail with that question. AND YOU KNOW IT.
10. Speak Up. I have trouble calling myself a writer or an artist or really anything. But the thing is if I don’t, why should anyone else? I have things to say. I am worth listening to. That blog post was really funny, I own it. That picture looks awesome, frame it. This is as close to that touchy-feely self-help bullshit as I get. AND I OWN THAT.