How to succeed as a woman

There is no doubt that modern life is confusing, especially if you are a woman. Fortunately, there are a number of simple rules that you can follow in order to have a successful female life.

First of all, be attractive. If you can’t be attractive, at least make it look as if you’re trying; nowadays there are so many options, from make-up to plastic surgery to injecting yourself with paralyzing poison. Above all don’t be too fat, because that is a sign that you are self-indulgent and lacking in willpower. Is that cake really worth it? But don’t be too skinny either, because real women have curves.

Work hard at your studies and your career, and become a responsible taxpayer and a good role model to those younger than you. However, don’t focus on work too much or you will become a hard-nosed and unattractive “career woman”.

It is vitally important that you don’t sleep with too many men because that makes you a slut. Or too many women either, although you really should put that phase behind you after graduation. On the other hand, don’t be too choosy, because what, you think you’re something special? Being a virgin past a certain age is just freaky.

Of course you will have to marry at some stage, or you will become sad and neurotic. Don’t settle down too young, because that is a brake on your freedom, but don’t leave it too long either, because then you just look desperate. Once you’ve got the ring, don’t nag or become smug. If you end up divorced, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

To achieve real womanly fulfillment, you must have babies, because childless women are self-centered and will never know the true meaning of love. Once the little ones are born, you must breastfeed, but not in public because that is icky. Be strict enough so that your children are not brats, but not too strict or you will damage their delicate psyches. Numbering is important: having an only child makes you little better than those childless weirdos, two is fine, three is okay, four or more — what, do you have no self-control?

Yes, life can be complicated as a woman of the 21st century. It is just as well that we have guidance provided to us by Heat magazine, The Daily Mail, and other such useful publications. Otherwise we might actually start thinking for ourselves, and where would that lead?

Things that are Wrong

“Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts.” – Daniel Patrick Moynihan¬†

There are certain rumours that people keep repeating. They need to stop. They are wrong. Not just “matter of opinion” wrong, but wrongly wrong, like someone who got a PhD in Incorrectness at Mistaken Facts University.

Natural blondes will NOT become extinct in 200 years. Neither will redheads.
This one originates from a misunderstanding of recessive genes. If blondes mate with non-blondes, their children might be dark-haired, but their great-grandchildren may well be goldi-locked. Since there are no known factors that are killing off blondes or preventing them from reproducing, there’s no reason why the fair-hair genes would die off.

Think I’m just having a blonde moment? Read Snopes’ take on the blonde extinction myth.

Women do NOT say 20,000 words a day while men say only about 7,000 (or numbers in a similar ratio). Honestly, if you wanted to make up a statistic like this, you could at least make it credible; I might buy a 20% increase in talkativeness, but nearly 3 times as much? Actually, most studies have found that men and women speak about the same number of words, on average. Individual difference are much more pronounced, so chatty Cathy and silent Sam are balanced out by shy Susie and blabby Bill.

Don’t want to take my word for it? See what Language Log has to say about sex-linked lexical budgets.

People in ancient Rome/Medieval Europe/Colonial America were NOT considered elderly by 30 and at death’s door by 40. It’s true that the increase in life expectancy is one of the great achievements of the modern era. In Medieval Britain, life expectancy at birth was an estimated 35 for both sexes, but this doesn’t mean that a 35-year-old in 1400 was due to drop dead at any moment. The low life expectancy was largely affected by the high child mortality rate. If you survived to adulthood, you had pretty good odds of living to be an old codger.

Don’t believe this old fogey? Check out the facts at the Local Histories page.

So, now you know better and can sound much more sensible in conversation. Or at least, you can avoid a tedious lecture from people like me!