In honor of my upcoming 30th birthday, I’ve researched countless “things to do before 30” lists. And while there are plenty to choose from, I kept coming back to “Thirty Things Every Woman Should Have and Should Know by the Time She’s 30.”
The List was originally published in Glamour by columnist Pamela Redmond Satran in 1997. Over the next 30 weeks, I’ll be tackling each item on The List and reflecting about it here… publicly (gulp). I hope you enjoy and we can grow together. After all, turning older is a privilege denied to many.
By 30, you should know…
20. How to kiss in a way that communicates perfectly what you would and wouldn’t like to happen next.
OK, editors of Glamour. I wanted to hear you out, because my initial reaction to this must-know was not a positive one.
My mind raced with a stream of feminist fury: Why would a kiss dictate what we want and don’t want to happen next? Shouldn’t our words do the talking? Shouldn’t the person receiving said kisses and communication be understanding of whatever we want to happen (or not)?
Maybe I was so upset because I just finished the deeply moving Netflix series “13 Reasons Why” (more on that in tomorrow’s WO). Maybe it’s because I spent my college career flying under the dating radar, for fear of being labeled a “slut,” “whore,” or anything other than a young woman exploring her sexuality. Maybe it’s because I have nieces, whose safety I worry about constantly from 3,000 miles away. Maybe it’s because for the first time in a long time, I was pissed at Glamour editors for writing the exact kind of fluff expected from a women’s magazine.
To say I struggled with this List item is an understatement. I understood the message the editors tried to convey: A woman’s ability to communicate via kiss can be powerful. It can be empowering. It can be a lot of positive things, indeed.
The rabbit hole I fell down, instead, was thinking about how much time I spent in my teens and 20s convincing myself I was OK with casual dating. Exploring my preferences carefully, because I didn’t want people to get the wrong idea about me. Being scared to have my reputation tarnished by one awful frog I’d mistaken for a prince. Finally letting go of it all when I moved to New York, where I learned very quickly it’s the smallest world of 9 million people you can imagine.
Thankfully, very few of my experiences shook me to my core. I wasn’t taken advantage of or abused or any of the negative things that can happen after something as simple as a kiss. I know not everyone is as lucky.
And while I understand the power a kiss can hold — it’s the gateway to intimacy and often still heralded as the first test of a potential partner — I don’t agree with this item on The List.
Agree? Disagree? Let me know in the comments! I’m eager to hear your perspective.
There there, stock photo girl.
Down in the dumps after being dumped? Dry those mascara tears and listen up: This step-by-step guide guarantees* you’ll win the breakup (which should obviously be your top priority).
Step 1: Get dumped. If you must do the breaking-up, fine, but know you won’t win any sympathy points if you’re the dumper. On the flip side, bonus sympathy points if you’re dumped the night before a couples’ trip for your birthday.
Step 2: Debate internally about posting a public statement. Decide not to, then regret it every time yet another friend asks about your (ex) significant other. Feel like a total dick until you finally post a public blog about it.
Step 3: Feel like a total dick for posting a public blog about it.
I think I just found my Halloween costume.
Step 4: Say “yes” to all social activities. Join local organizations, such as Junior League or your sorority’s alumnae board. Volunteer. Go to the gym. Attend concerts. Get out of the damn house.
Step 5: Create a girl-power playlist. Yes, even if you’re a dude. If you’re too lazy to create one — like you’re sooo busy now — borrow one.
Step 6: Watch “The First Wives Club.” Watch it again. Put on a white skirt- or pantsuit. If you haven’t sashayed and belted out “You Don’t Own Me,” what kind of monster are you?
Step 7: Take this BuzzFeed quiz to see if you are, in fact, winning the breakup. No matter the result, you can pretend you got this:
Step 7a: DO NOT POST YOUR QUIZ RESULTS.
Step 8: Try your damndest to be genuinely happy for them and find happiness in yourself, too. Understand that your time will come — or it won’t — but feeling sorry for yourself isn’t going to help anyone, least of all you.
Did I miss any crucial steps? What are your tips for surviving a breakup, let alone “winning” one? Let me know in the comments below!
*Oh, honey. No guarantees.
You know it’s been a crazy couple of weeks at work when you have recurring dreams … about work. The only way to combat such nonsense? Let’s start with these four highlights:
- “The Great Gatsby”: Despite touting its soundtrack as the best of 2013, I hadn’t seen the Baz Luhrmann masterpiece until recently. It’s a visual spectacle and takes F. Scott’s Fitzgerald’s narrative to explosive, extravagant new heights.
- Aziz Ansari’s Love Advice: I can’t wait to read the undoubtedly hilarious writing debut from Ansari, called “Modern Romance.” Till then, BuzzFeed graciously cooridinated a Q&A sesh that doesn’t disappoint.
- Warriors Win!: I was thrilled to have both of my Bay Areas in the playoffs recently, but sadly the Lightning didn’t pull through against the Blackhawks. Thankfully, the Warriors brought home a trophy for the first time in 40 years — what a sight to see!
- “GDFR” – Flo Rida f. Sage the Gemini & Lookas: This song should be in the dictionary next to “pump-up jam.” Whether you’re hitting the gym or the bar, you just feel like you can take on the world after hearing this one.
It’s been a weird week, getting back into the swing of things at work and trying to get the last of my movers’ boxes unpacked. Weird, I thought staring at the boxes for hours on end would prompt them to unpack themselves. Hmph.
- National Singles’ Day: You guys hear about this? Apparently November 11 is China’s National Singles’ Day. The most impressive feat of all? Alibaba (similar to Amazon in the US) took full advantage to have more than $9 BILLION in sales. Dayummm, girl.
- Straw: This carnival-themed restaurant in Hayes Valley serves up delicious food and whimsical decor at a decent price. We didn’t get to sit in the Tilt-O-Whirl booth this time … all the more reason to go back soon!
- OKCupid: I recently joined this dating site in an attempt to take my relationships more seriously (had nothing to do with Singles’ Day, I swear). So far, it’s a better experience than my first few days on Tinder. We’ll see how long this lasts.
- “Secrets” – Mary Lambert: This soulful singer is well-known after last year’s “Same Love” with Macklemore and Ryan Lewis — and now her upbeat and honest follow-up is sure to be another smash. In the words of my mother: You go girl!
These next few months are sure to be a whirlwind of packing and planning, so I’m gonna try to keep my head on straight as best as I can. Some tricks to help with just that:
- Long Beach: I spent this past Sunday at a friend’s beachside home, and despite the terrible sunburn, it was one of the most relaxing days I’ve had in a long time. Sand and surf are always good for the soul.
- Dominie’s: Another good friend just moved to Astoria, so we had to check out the neighborhood. This cozy bar was the perfect atmosphere for hanging with old friends and meeting new ones, too. Plus, the chalkboard humor is A+!
- Smarter Women Stay Single Longer: Ready for a heartwarming tale? Intelligent women are more likely to become spinsters. This article makes various assertions — some I agree with, some I don’t — but I recommend the read regardless. More to come on that later.
- Never Stop Dancing: I’ve watched this video approximately 200 times since I first saw it Monday, and it still has me in stitches. Proof that age is a state of mind … keep the boogie fever alive, guys!
I lose it every time he drops the canes.
After much hemming and hawing, I finally joined the “social networking,” AKA laziest dating app ever, Tinder.
And since I’ve been on it for about 48 hours, I’m basically an expert. Check out this fancy infograph and get ready for some harsh truthbombs.
So, I’m like Cameran from “Southern Charm” (and “Real World: San Diego,” but that’s another story): I’ve been sent from the heavens to help all you turds.
See? We’re basically twins.
Before we begin, I insist — for the first time in my life — that you listen to Kesha & Pitbull.
Step 1: Set up your profile properly.
You can add up to six photos from your Facebook account, so choose wisely.
The first/default picture should be a clear, well-lit shot of just you. If you’re in a group of guys, I have no idea which one you are. If you’re with kids, I don’t know if they’re yours or someone else’s. If you’re pixelated, I can’t tell if your face is blurry or it’s just your shit phone.
Your other photos can include those things, but keep in mind: This is a shallow service and we’re going off first impressions. Many girls will not swipe through to see more if they’re scratching their heads on photo #1.
Other tips for selecting photos:
- Don’t have pics with a bunch of seemingly random girls; you’re trying to DATE someone new and we don’t know them or your history
- Include a full-body shot and don’t get pissy about it — this is a two-way street
- Vary the content, unless you wear a polo and have a drink in hand at all times … we’d like to think you’re a little more complex than that
- Animals are featured often — nothing wrong with it, but don’t be that guy who “shows off” his dog to make a girl swoon
I just want to be her best friend.
Step 2: Don’t ruin those carefully selected photos with an awful “About” section.
I write for a living, so just shut up and listen.
Most people don’t read (I’m set for life, clearly). So don’t use 500 characters as an open invitation to tell your life story or hate on “why women swipe Yes but don’t message” you.
Bottom line: Forget writing a novel, throwing shade or misquoting an outdated movie. If I read one more “My apartment smells of rich mahogany lol,” I will lose it.
I’ve seen a lot of guys link to their other social accounts — namely Instagram — and who list their height. I’m not necessarily against either, but keep that username in mind when sharing with a potential lady friend. Read: bang_gang69 is not attractive.
Step 3: You’re matched! Don’t be an idiot.
Congratulations! You’ve picked decent photos and didn’t scare her off … yet. Now, don’t screw it up.
I’m not super-old school, but I do think guys should feel confident within this app to send the first message after matching. It shows self-assuredness and a willingness to be the first man she’s met who isn’t scared to approach her.
Make an observation about one of her pictures … not her boobs, but ask what’s in the drink she’s holding or what song she was dancing to.
Ask how her day is going, or what she would be doing on a normal [insert day] if she weren’t on Tinder.
Anything but “Hey,” “What’s up?” or something wildly offensive should work.
The beauty of Tinder is how non-committal it is. You swipe and swipe and swipe, and hopefully your battery dies before you seriously embarrass yourself or kill your chances.
Despite my self-proclaimed expert status, I need to know: Am I missing any tips? Let me know in the comments — and happy hunting!
I don’t know if it’s possible to put in any more hours than I have the past few weeks. Between my day job, freelance and getting the apartment in shape, I am le tired. Me, me, me. Wah, wah, wah.
Let’s make this quick, then, shall we?:
- Subway Time: If you’re like me and perpetually late, then this little app is a gem from the fickle MTA gods. Do you need to book it or can you take a Sunday stroll? Check how long you have to make your next train; available for select lines.
- My Life (So Far) Without a Date: It seems like everyone in my generation is happily coupled up, well on their way to marriage and 2.3 perfect kids. This piece from Refinery 29 excerpts Kate Heaney’s novel that reassures us solo riders that — hey, we’re pretty great (and normal).
- Cascabel Taqueria: Unlimited mimosas, spicy margaritas and other libations + tasty Mexican food + walking distance from my apartment = the perfect brunch. The Benedict dishes are served on cornbread. Need I say more?
- “Counting Stars” – OneRepublic: I really, really didn’t want to like this song. And while it still doesn’t make me want to buy a car or whatever other product it’s selling for the millionth time, I have to admit: I’m a fan.