Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Internet Thinks You're Wrong, Ladies

(Image stolen brazenly from Jezebel)

It’s rare that I get a chance to be an actual expert on anything instead of just bluffing my way through a series of irrational points (see also: my basketball talk). But when something like this comes up…well, I just rub my palms together and thank the Lord above for lists like these that get forwarded faster than the dialog parts of Showgirls.

I am 29 years old. And here’s a list called “30 Things that Every Woman Should Quit Doing by 30” so this is meant for me, right? This is going to be a treasure trove of insight and should act as some sort of maturity litmus test for my life, correct? Not a list of grievances complied by someone who walks around with an internal Seinfeld-esque monologue of unused “What’s the deal with…?” bits.

Let me say that I actually agree with roughly 65-70 percent of the blurbs on this list. But just the fact that the list even exists smacks of smugness and judgeyness that just doesn’t sit right with me. Let’s take a stroll down “Random List Tells People What They’re Doing Wrong” lane, shall we?

1. Buying clothes from the junior section – Fair enough. Unlike Hall and Oates, I can go for that. Mostly because everything in the junior section looks laughable and costume-y on me.

2. Forgetting her parents’ birthdays.-
Is that a hallmark of the 20-something set? I guess it is supposed to indicate that you are self-absorbed but most people I know were capable of being a total fuck up and yet still remembering the date of birth of the people who spawned them. Maybe I travel in some highly advanced circle.

3. Making out with her BFFs at bars for attention.-
Sign and co-sign on this one.

4. Making out with her boyfriend at bars for attention.- Sign and co-sign on this one.

5. Filling her bed with stuffed animals (really, even one is too many). – Sign and co-sign on this one.

6. Carrying a torch for anyone she hasn’t seen in the last five years.-
Pretty solid advice unless that person is your birth parents or something.

7. Rebelling against her parents for the sake of rebelling against her parents. – Rebelling against your parents re: dying your hair crazy colors and getting tattoos? Yes. Rebelling against your parents by not going to work for them at the family meth factory in the guest bathroom? Solid decision making.

8. Declaring an entire gender “all jerks.” – I’m convinced that the woman who wrote this is actually a man whose two main sources were watching Dawson’s Creek and staring at a lifelike mold of a vagina.

9. Holding a grudge against anyone who wronged her in high school. –
Girl who was mean to you and teased you? Let that shit go. Person who shot you in a drive-by? Probably ok to hold onto a little resentment. But the bigger point here should have been “LET HIGH SCHOOL GO!”

10. Skipping regular gyno exams. – Again, I would love to know who the fuck this woman is that wrote this. Because I have never heard of this stereotype before. Ever. And let’s not even begin to address the thought that someone might have to “skip” a regular gyno exam because they don’t have health insurance.

11. Going to bed without washing and moisturizing her face. –
Probably a pretty fair rule but one that should always have certain loopholes.

12. Being “that person” who had a bit too much to drink at the office party. – Is this only at the office party? If you’re trying to say “stop being the embarrassing, emotional drunk girl” then maybe you should just say that. I can agree with that. By the way, at my office party last year, everyone was “that girl”. Especially the middle-aged guys.

13. Crushing on Justin Bieber. – Signed and co-signed in permanent marker. Cut that shit out.

14. Thinking she’s got it all figured out. – Who, when approaching 30, thinks they’ve got their shit figured out?

HALFTIME! So far, not too bad, right? Some decent advice interspersed with some weird mythological stereotypes I can only guess were cut and pasted from to pad the list out. Oh but it starts to go downhill…

15. Calling her father “daddy.” – Or here’s a better rule: don’t try to make people feel like shit for calling their relatives by the names that they have called them all their lives. But maybe you are right. “Daddy” is a relic of a time when you were a kid and you loved your parents. But now they’re just two people whose birthdays you cannot forget, lest you find yourself not in compliance with another rule on this list. To make everything easier, maybe just call them each by the last four digits of their Social Security Number from now on. Guess what, Shitty List? I’ll call my one remaining grandparent “Gran Gran” until one of us draws our final breath and you can pick which body part of mine you would prefer kissing if you suggest otherwise.

16. Engaging in sibling rivalry. –
I’m an only child but this sounds like a pretty solid rule.

17. Trying to get by on her looks. –
Right. Because that’s what every 20-something woman is accustomed to doing. None of them have ever had to work to get where they are now. Just showed a little perky cleavage. Well, this list wants you go grow up, ladies! No one thinks you’re hot anymore so you might as well put a bag over that old-ass head of yours and actually try for the first time in your life. God.

18. Living paycheck to paycheck. –
This list needs to die in a fire. Because to be so alternately stupid and judgmental as to believe that people just choose to live that way is like telling a cancer patient to “just get better already!” No one wants to live paycheck to paycheck. But guess what, List-hole? There was a little thing called a recession where lots of people lost their jobs, took pay cuts or had to dip into their savings. Right now, I can name half a dozen friends who would be thrilled to be living paycheck to paycheck because it would mean that they actually have a job. But kick them while they’re down, right?

19. Expecting a man/knight in shining armor to swoop in and save her. – Signed and co-signed. But this should also be included in “Two Things Two Year Old Toddlers Should Know”.

20. Aimlessly jumping from job to job. –
Again, die. If you’re saying to hold onto a job if you’ve got one, I can agree with you. If you’re saying that someone should not take just about any job that is offered them (nudity being the debatable exception) that will pay their bills, you’re an elitist asshole of a list? This list has a trust fund, apparently.

21. Using MySpace to pick up guys. – No worries there. None of my 29 year old girlfriends are also an emo band looking for someone to help them book a tour of the East Coast this summer so Myspace isn’t really in our lexicon. So this list is independently wealthy, judgmental AND out of touch? Awesome.

22. Expecting a man to do all the wooing. – Fair enough. Everyone can woo all over each other until someone needs a towel. This seems like more list padding.

23. Wishing she had someone else’s life. –
I’m pretty sure that anyone of any gender or any age would probably like to trade places with Bill Gates. Do they sit around gluing pictures of Bill Gates head on their bodies? Nope. Do they expend too much time on this thought? Nope. Do they wish that they had a life of unlimited wealth and independence where charity work is the main focus of their day? Yes, they probably do. And that’s human.

24. Expecting everyone to drop everything because it’s her birthday ... – Probably pretty sound. I’m in the waning years of birthday celebrating. Not because this list has convinced me that I’m old, silly and useless. But mostly because I get stuck with a bar tab at the end of the night somehow even on my birthday.

25. ... or because her “boyfriend” of two weeks dumped her. – Again, this list brought to you by the three hours of prime time CW programming the author watched before realizing she/he/it had a deadline and banged out this trail of “ate some old chili” loose bowels of a list.

26. Measuring her self-worth by a number on the scale. – Why aren’t you dead yet, list? Measuring self-worth by a number on a scale is bad. We can agree there. But surely this list, with all of its expendable income to spend on magazines or watching TV, has seen that women of any and all ages are inundated with ads telling them they could (or should) be thinner, less wrinkled, more firm and cellulite-free? But stop paying attention to billions in marketing and advertising, silly bitches! Oh but don’t forget to wash and moisturize every night. Otherwise you’ll be ugly and can’t rely on your looks anymore. Oh wait. Fuck. I’m trapped in your kid’s menu maze’s dead end of logic, Demon List.

27. Being cheap. –
So now that we’re like an early 90’s Super Mario Brother walking in place against a brick wall down in a sewer, let’s address this rule. So if I’m going to follow this list as my own personal code of conduct from now on, and I hope I am getting this right, I must not live paycheck to paycheck, not change jobs and also not be “cheap” about things. So I should spend money extravagantly on things which could be purchased for less? And that’s how I prove how grown up I am? Not, say, save that money and put it aside to have some savings so I won’t live paycheck to paycheck? Or maybe even go on a nice vacation? I guess this means that I have to spend a lot on that face wash and moisturizer too? But I’m not supposed to focus on looks and appearance anymore! Circuits overheating. Logic doesn’t compute. Need to call 5034 (formerly known as “Daddy”) for advice. Help.

28. Quitting a job without having a new one lined up first (especially in this economy!) – This is sound advice. And it’s good to see that the Getty heiress who wrote is has, by tip #28, acknowledged that the economy is not exactly rosy right now. Still, don’t be cheap or live paycheck to paycheck. Remember that, you underemployed whores.

29. Blaming her mother for all her issues. –
Or how about not blaming anyone for your issues? Wouldn’t that be a sounder piece of advice? No, that would be too broad and not offensive enough. We really want to jab these women good. So yeah, let’s throw that one in.

30. Romanticizing her 20s. – I’m romanticizing the part of my 20’s where I didn’t know this list existed. Back when I thought people were capable of living and let live. Before I knew that the internet has been kind enough to bring people lists of why they suck in the veiled form of self-improvement.

Footnote: I actually can’t wait to turn 30 this year. I can’t wait to leave my generally kinda shitty twenties behind in my dust. If for no other reason than to add my own personal addition to this list –

31. Don’t let lists on the internet written by people you don't know tell you that you’re living your life wrong. Live your life for yourself and don’t let the bastards get you down.

Now enjoy "The Ballad of Lucy Jordan" (written by Shel Silverstein) about how you should go throw yourself off a roof. Or appreciate the irony of the lyrics in conjunction with this list.

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