I have a friend who I deem to be the master of this skill. I remember this guy at the office was going around asking everyone for money to buy raffle tickets for his church. Now mind you, in that office, it seemed like we were giving money every day for some worthy cause – starving children, breast cancer, world peace, you get the idea. Well this guy comes around to me and of course, even though he annoys the crap out of me on a personal level, I give him the money. I asked my friend if she contributed to his cause as well, and she said she didn’t. And I was like wow, how did you get out of that one? That was when she imparted a lesson on me that I still need to learn: When someone asks you to do something that you don’t want to, smile sweetly and say, “No thanks.” A few years have passed and I’ve mostly lived by this rule, until recently. Another friend of mine and I were meeting for happy hour and she sent me a text asking if it was okay to invite this guy she met at another happy hour because it could be a “good networking opportunity.” And I’m thinking, for whom? Because she had already told me about this guy, and said he looked like Danny Devito, but was kind of “sweet.” Needless to say, I did not want him to join us. But did I text back sweetly, “No thanks,” as a wise woman would do? And believe me, in this case, I really should have. Because when I got to the bar, I see her sitting with this guy and he looks like he’s about 80. My friend said he would just “stop by” but ended up staying the whole time, regaling us with his stories about how successful he is and how he represented himself in court five times and won. Of course, I asked him what he was charged with and he became very evasive and said, “White collar stuff.” The best part, he starts to hit on my friend who is probably 40 years his junior. “You have such beautiful skin,” he says to her. I excused myself to the restroom at this point in protest and disgust. Later, she tells me he asked her out. The real clincher: when the bill came, Mr. Successful insisted we split it three ways. It just goes to show even old guys can be douche bags.
Word to the wise: A little no thanks goes a long way. When you think about it, it’s really hard to argue or get offended by someone who says this to you. It softens the blow and saves you from looking like the bad guy.
When is it hard for you to say no? Note: If I’m lucky enough to get a book deal, your comments may be published anonymously in the upcoming book, “Wise Before 25, 50 Things Young Women Need to Know.”
Unfortunately, I’ve dated a lot of cheap men in my life. I’m certainly not proud of this fact and it I think a lot of it has to do with self worth. I also think the lines for young women are blurred even more today than they were when I was in my 20s. But that still doesn’t mean you should date a man who splits everything 50/50 or won’t take you out and pay. As one of my eloquent cheap ex-boyfriends tried to argue, I was an “independent woman” and that I should pay when we go out, even though he seemed to conveniently forget that I cooked dinner for him every week and he never once brought over a bottle of wine. I got over him (finally) after we went on a ski weekend together and after we had split everything down the middle, he had the nerve to ask me for gas money. It was the last straw. But here’s what I also have found about men like these: when they aren’t generous with their money, they won’t open their hearts either. It’s weird how this behavior seems to go hand in hand. My dad, a very wise man, says, “character counts.” The way a man treats his money and how he spends it on you (or doesn’t) is a key insight into his character. I know a lot of young men will make the same argument as my ex-boyfriend (who was in his 40s, by the way) but don’t fall for it. Cheap is as cheap does. And trust me, it still isn’t easy for me to let a guy pay. Those moments while the check sits on the table cause me major anxiety and I feel like I have to do something like offer to “help” or pay the tip. I’ve done both of those things. But I’ve found when I didn’t do either, I felt much better. If the guy really cares about you, he will, too. So I’ve finally sworn off of cheap men because it’s not worth going out with a guy knowing you can treat yourself better than he can.
Word to the wise: Cheap men are a dime a dozen and it pays to find the ones who aren’t. If you’ve been looking for love in all the wrong places, this is the right place to start. And here’s a few more thoughts on this topic:
Do you agree with the correlation of man’s heart to his wallet? Ever dated a cheap guy? Note: If I’m lucky enough to get a book deal, your comments may be published anonymously in the upcoming book, “Wise Before 25, 50 Things Young Women Need to Know.”
For me, this one has always been easy. Because I hate to keep people waiting. Especially people I care about. Which is why I can’t relate to or understand lateness. When I’m on time, it shows my family and friends that I value theirs. I remember I had this boyfriend who was always late and it drove me crazy. Apparently, I wasn’t the only one. He told me he had a friend who whenever they made plans to get together would ask, “Is that Steve time, or Pacific time?” I thought this was pretty funny. But not for long. And don’t even get me started on the boyfriend (a different Steve) who kept me waiting 45 minutes at a restaurant because he was watching “Jeopardy.” Actually, I can’t believe I stuck around. But I was in my 20s and those were the days, as Lena Dunham of “Girls,” says where we have complete self-confidence and no self-worth. I definitely suffered from that affliction, which is no doubt why my dating life was one disaster after another. What I will say to all you late folks out there who may never change their ways no matter how much it annoys, irritates and feels disrespectful to their friends, boyfriends, children, husbands, etc.: If you’re going to be consistently late, at least apologize. That can make all the difference in the world. I’ve found that most people who are late, don’t do this and it kind of blows my mind. I feel far more forgiving toward those who do. Maybe you’ve seen the license plate frame, “Always late, but worth the wait.” Are you?
Word to the wise: If you’re always late, not everyone will wait. If you care enough, or someone makes you care enough, you’ll change. And if you’re always on time like me, it helps to bring a book.
Are you an early or late bird? Ever have anyone not wait for you and how did you feel about it? Note: If I’m lucky enough to get a book deal, your comments may be published anonymously in “Wise Before 25, 50 Things Young Women Need to Know.”
Admittedly, I still haven’t mastered this one. I don’t even own a shaker. A friend of mine uses plastic wrap and a bowl to mix her martinis. I think a cocktail shaker is like $5 at IKEA. I really should go get one of those. Because then I’d be well on my way to making my killer cocktail. Which would probably be a dirty martini or Cosmo. Actually, I already have vodka. Now if I just had some vermouth, cranberry juice and lots of jumbo green olives, we could really get this party started. I guess my point is, beer and wine are fine, but some occasions call for something special. Like the first time he picks you up at your place. Having a signature libation can showcase your creativity and sophistication. Not to mention that it makes you kind of cool. Do you know what your killer cocktail would be?
Word to the wise: Bring some retro into your life. Take a cue from the TV show “Mad Men” and spruce up your cocktail repertoire. Once you’ve picked your potion, test it on yourself. Even if it’s on a night where it’s just you, your jammies and Netflix, you’ll feel fabulous.
Here’s a recipe I’d like to try: http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/sour-apple-martini-10000000434061/
Know how to make one great drink? What’s your recipe? Note: If I’m lucky enough to get a book deal, your comments may be published anonymously in “Wise Before 25, 50 Things Young Women Need to Know.”
Contrary to Romeo Void’s lament, a girl in trouble is not a temporary thing. No matter what the outcome, if you’re that girl, it’s with you for life. While I have may have done many unwise things in my teens and 20s, getting pregnant wasn’t one of them. And even though I haven’t experienced an abortion firsthand, I speak from the experience of my friends. A few of who have had more than one abortion by the time they were 25. Case in point: A dear friend of mine got pregnant in her late 30s and wasn’t sure she wanted to keep the baby. Because she’d already had three abortions, she knew if she had another one, she might never be able to have children at all. So she kept it. All I knew was I couldn’t face myself if I had to have an abortion. So I did whatever I could to avoid a situation that would be unbearable for me. And bottom line, there was absolutely no way I was ready to have a baby. But in the heat of the moment, all of this is quickly forgotten. That’s why I’m on the pill and have been for years. Of course, if you’re really smart, you won’t tell guys that. Because unless he’s your boyfriend and you know for a fact he’s not cheating on you, it pays to be safe. As in make him wear a condom anyway. It protects you from other things, too. And when you’re on the pill, you’ll never have to worry if it has hole.
Word to the wise: There are plenty of ways to protect yourself and you’re the one who has to do it. Unless, of course, you don’t mind having an abortion or two. Or giving your baby up for adoption (see “Juno”). Or keeping it even though you’re not ready. None of these are attractive options and much harder than choosing a method of birth control and using it. And if you’re still not convinced, just watch an episode of MTV’s “16 and Pregnant.”
What are your thoughts on this touchy topic? Any personal experiences or experiences of friends you’d like to share? Note: If I’m lucky enough to get a book deal, your comments may be published anonymously in, “Wise Before 25, 50 Things Young Women Need to Know.”
Boy, I sure wish I’d learned this one before I turned 25. Not that I could be compared to Gene Simmons, but I certainly was no angel. And while some of it may have been fun, most of the time, I felt empty and unfulfilled. Inside, I always wished that each one would be the one. And as the years passed, all of these encounters didn’t bring me any closer to what I really wanted – a loving relationship with my soul mate. I recently watched an indie film called “Tiny Furniture,” which was the precursor to the HBO series, “Girls.” Honestly, it made me melancholy and quite sad. I thought young women had come so far and weren’t doing the stupid stuff that I did. Or at least not as much of it. All this talk of “Girl Power” allowed me to believe that we were above degrading ourselves for some loser guy. That said, if you still want to have “fun” and think you can handle it – all I can say is be safe. But also, be honest with yourself about what it is you really want.
Here are a few good questions to ask yourself about your friends with benefits relationship or other casual encounters: http://www.yourtango.com/experts/donna-davidge/casual-sex-good-idea-you
Word to the wise: A good lay is just a good lay. It won’t keep you warm at night, especially after the door closes and someone says they’ll call and they never do.
What do you think about casual sex? Do you think these experiences hurt or help young women? Note: If I’m lucky enough to get a book deal, your comments may be published anonymously in “Wise Before 25, 50 Things Young Women Should Know.”
Many have told me that my life is an open book. As clearly, writing this blog would indicate. And I’ve also been told that I wear my heart on my sleeve. These are not terrific qualities for attracting and getting a guy – or keeping him. There was an expression I heard once, and I apologize in advance for the language – but it goes like this: “Only show a man half your ass.” This is an incredibly wise saying. Why? Because honestly, men really don’t want or need to know everything, and I mean everything, about you. You should always have some things you keep to yourself. Not only does this help you maintain your independence, it also makes your guy wonder from time to time what you’re up to. Or what you’ve been up to. Nothing wrong with that. This concept, unfortunately, is even harder for most of us to do today because of Facebook, Twitter and what I call the social networking palooza. Everyone seems to be sharing way too much. But that doesn’t mean you have to, too.
Word to the wise: Let him spill his secrets. When you share less about yourself, the more he’ll share with you. And that’s a secret all wise women know. Here’s some more interesting thoughts on this mysterious subject: http://ezinearticles.com/?Mystery-Solved—How-to-Be-Mysterious-and-Keep-Him-Wanting-More&id=3031693
How do you feel about keeping a bit of mystery in your relationship? Note: If I’m lucky enough to get a book deal, your comments may be published anonymously, “Wise Before 25, 50 Things Young Women Should Know.”
Look at me. My life sucks. All of my “friends” are always going somewhere exciting, have boyfriends who are willing to take lots of pictures with them and throw really fun parties they don’t invite me to. Reading these posts can incite me to throw a party of my own – a pity party. But then I remember that I went to Italy last year, fulfilling a lifelong dream, and hey, I’m working on writing this blog and getting a book published. And then, well, things start to look up a bit. Maybe if I posted some of that on Facebook, I’d feel better. Someone might even hit the “like” button or make a comment. Wow, I could start feeling really good about myself again. And then whoever reads my posts might feel just like I do when I read theirs. Hmmmm…
Word to the wise: Have a life outside of Facebook. And know that just because people post that they’re having the most wonderful time in the world, doesn’t necessarily mean that they are. Or if it makes you feel better, they are.
What do you think? Note: Your comments may be published anonymously in the upcoming book, “Wise Before 25, 50 Things Young Women Need to Know.”
True story, I kid you not. My final roommate (and the following will give you an indication of why I’ve been living alone ever since) used to bring guys home from bars. We had two bedrooms and we shared a bathroom and a shower. Good times. Especially when strange dudes would sleep over. Like Butch, the felon (and yes, that was his real name). I was told that he served time, but my roommate didn’t know what for. Butch was quite a character. I remember how it creeped me out the way he would look at me before I would go for a jog. Yes, I was wearing shorts and a sports bra, but that wasn’t atypical jogging attire, unless you just got out of the slammer and haven’t seen a woman in five years (just speculation). And get this, according to my roommate Brittany, whose name I’ve changed to protect the stupid, when they went out to dinner and it was time to pay, he would have her go out to the car and start the engine. When he would get in the car, he’d tell her to step on the gas because he had just skipped out on the bill. I believe that’s what they call a “dine and dash.” After hearing about this incident, I moved out pronto.
Word to the wise: When it comes to roommates, know when it’s time to hold ’em and when it’s time to fold ’em. Because your safety and well being come first. You shouldn’t allow any roommate to put either of those things at risk. And if you can afford to live alone, that’s the wisest thing you can do by far.
What do you think? Note: Your comments may be published anonymously in the upcoming book, “Wise Before 25, 50 Things Young Women Need to Know.”
My mother, a wise woman when it comes to looking amazing for her age, always used to say, “Take care of your skin and it will take care of you.” Well, I didn’t do a great job of that in my 20s. After a night of three Long Island Iced Teas, two (three?) Kamikazes, a Jell-O shot and dancing until 4 a.m., passing out on my bed was priority number one. Taking off my makeup when I barely could say my name, not really a priority. And of course, if I had someone of the opposite sex stay over, I certainly didn’t want him to see me without my makeup – even if I looked like a raccoon when I woke up. Luckily, by the time I turned 30, I wised up. Probably because that’s when I noticed those first few lines on my face in the mirror. After that, I made it a point to wash my face every night before I went to bed – no matter how tired I was or who stayed over. I think not skipping my skin care routine in my younger years has helped me skip the Botox in my later ones.
Word to the wise: Wash your face and put on a little moisturizer before you go to bed. If you can do it most nights, you could look pretty fabulous in the decades to come. And maybe instead of spending your money on Botox, you could spend it on a vacation.
What do you think? Note: Your comments may be published anonymously in the upcoming book, “Wise Before 25, 50 Things All Young Women Need to Know.”