As I read, I came to appreciate the different values and customs that women around the world have and traits that we share. Then I developed my own list things that I think all women should do:
1. Be able to cook one signature dish-If anything is truly universal, it’s food. We all have to eat to survive, and communal activity is often over food and/or drink. While not all of us are meant to be Giada deLaurentiis, Paula Deen or Padma Lakshmi, I really think that every woman should have something in her repertoire that she can bring to dinner parties and potlucks. It doesn’t have to be a perfect Beef Wellington…heck, it could be macaroni and cheese…just make sure it’s really great macaroni and cheese.
2. Know how to dress yourself-Every woman should know her body well enough to know what it looks good in. If you’re wearing makeup, know what your best colors are. Whether you look good in skirts and dresses, pants or t-shirts, wear them and wear them well. And to paraphrase fashionista Edith Head: “Your clothes should be tight enough to show that you’e a woman but loose enough to show that you’re a lady.”
3. Stop with the name-calling-You know, there was a time when men sang about wooing their darling angels. Now they sing about “knocking their bitches up.” Half of this is their fault, but the other half is ours for accepting it. Stop using “bitch” “slut” and “ho” as terms of endearment for your girlfriends. Enough is enough!
4. Live alone-It’s not so good to be alone all the time, but in the time that I’ve lived alone, I’ve learned more about myself than I ever have (particularly that I’m not meant to be alone for the rest of my life.) Living alone helps you to determine what you really want in life, how to manage your finances and how to appreciate both alone time and time with your peers.
5. Vote-I really don’t care if you’re Democrat or Republican; liberal or conservative; big government or limited government. In any case, you have opinions. Women before us fought for this right. They were imprisoned and brutally beaten so our voices can be heard. Use your voice…Just vote!
6. Be sensitive to your single girlfriends-She supported you as you made the transition from single to not single. She wore your choice of a bridesmaid dress when you got married. She bought you the diaper genie. She really is happy for you and your newly found love, but she’s still single and she doesn’t need to hear about your relationship bliss 24/7. She appreciates the fact that you invite her out with you and your significant other, but sometimes she gets tired of being the 3rd wheel and she misses you and those girls nights out!
7. Stop being fake.-If you don’t like someone or something, don’t pretend like you do. There’s a way to be honest but tactful. I was sitting with some high school girls that I mentor, and we decided that truth is like a belt. With it you can feel secure, without it, you have to keep pulling up your pants. Who wants to have to watch what they say every time they open their mouths?
8. Take care of yourself.-As women, we tend to have this constant need to please and nurture others. This is great, but also go to your doctor checkups, perform breast exams, eat right, exercise and take time for yourself, too. Reserve time to do the things you enjoy. When you’re at your best, you can take care of others much better.
9. Never stop learning.-We’re not know-it-alls. If you think you do know it all, you should refer to #7 on this list. The more you know, the more you grow, so read books, talk to people, and perhaps the best piece of learning advice I’ve ever gotten: Spend more time with people over the age of 70 and under the age of 6.
10. Be a good role model-No matter where you go, someone is always watching. It may be a little sister, a co-worker or even just a random child. Carry yourself well and know that someone may be learning from you or wanting to be like you.
I usually like to make lists in 10’s, but I couldn’t resist one bonus item:
* Appreciate men for their efforts and what they do right.-This means that if he takes you out to dinner and wants to pick up the tab, let him. If he wants to open the door for you, let him do it without some snide comment about feminism and how you can open the door for yourself. When a man tells you you’re beautiful, buys you a gift, leaves you a sweet note or just proves to you in any way that he is a man and not just a male, show your appreciation and tell him thank you.