I’m sending out a blanket apology to anyone who listened to my advice when I was twenty-five. I’m so sorry, I was an idiot.
My friend Sonia recently reminded me that she got married because of me. I had no recollection of any profound words.
“When I moved in with Doug,” she said of her ex-husband of nine years, “you said ‘why would he buy the cow when he’s getting the milk for free?’”
Frankly, I didn’t put that much thought into my throw-away comment. I was just repeating an old-fashioned adage that I naively bought into. What did I know at twenty-five? I was a newlywed myself, pleased that I had crossed that off my life’s To Do list.
Now on to building my glamorous career
so that I can take time off for those 2.5 babies
planned for the next two to seven years.
After she and I laughed at our youthful stupidity—me for dispelling crap and her for taking it—she told me about some bad advice she gave way-back-when to another friend. Her friend was frustrated that her boyfriend wouldn’t make her a priority. Instead of telling the young woman to move-on, Sonia had advised, “make yourself indispensable.”
“Like she was gunning for a promotion?” I asked.
“Exactly,” she laughed. “They got married, had a couple of kids, and then she divorced him. He was a terrible husband.”
We thought, how many bad marriages could have been avoided if people didn’t listen to our shitty WISDOM?
In my youth, I too, received some advice that meant well, but may have been misguided. When I was fourteen and disliking my enormous, muscular figure-skater thighs, my mom told me not to worry.
“Most men don’t care if you’re not supermodel skinny,” she said. I was relieved to think that someday, a man would lower his expectations, accepting my flawed body. It’s taken me years to realize that my thighs aren’t imperfect—they are unapologetically strong as hell, beautifully toned, and can kick some ass.
Around that same time in my life, while standing on the supermarket’s checkout line gazing at the cover models on magazines, I said to mom, “I want to be sexy.”
“Me too, but that’s not our destiny,” she said as she loaded groceries onto the belt. From then on, I accepted being Mary Ann to Gilligan’s Island’s Ginger. It didn’t help that my best friend at the time said to me “you’re cute and I’m pretty” and would assign me the role of Kate Jackson’s Sabrina when we pretended we were Charlie’s Angels.
*Sheesh* Fourteen-year-old girls suck.
It probably wasn’t until I was forty-something when I realized I didn’t need mile-high legs to be sexy and that Mary Ann and Sabrina were gorgeous, funny, smart, and sexy as hell.
My advice today?
Number one: women are not cows and I don’t give a damn how much or to whom you give your “milk.” Instead, I’d say, have sex when you want and get married or not—whatever. You do you.
Number two: Especially relevant now that I’m dating again, if a man isn’t making you a priority, say buh-bye. If it’s not a “fuck yes,” from him, it’s a “fuck no” from you.
Number three: Cover models and social media “influencers” are not real. Stop comparing yourself to anyone. You are as beautiful and desirable as you feel. Confidence is sexy—full stop.
Number four: I don’t know what the hell I’m talking about, so if you have listened to any “words of wisdom,” here is my blanket apology.