I'm not big on lists of rules. In fact, since I errantly read "The Rules" when I was a young teenager, I've pretty much hated them with a passion. This year's list is no exception.
So, before I get into it with the "24 Rules of a Lady" or whatever they are, here's my list for how to be a human, and it's a list only for me (but if you like, you can adopt it).
1. Don't make lists of rules for people who are not you.
OK, now that that's out of the way, let's dissect this lady-list, shall we?
1. Master at least one dish that you can whip up on relatively short notice, for when you're having people over and don't want to be like, "There's a box of stale Wheat Thins left if you want to fight over those."
2. Hold doors for everyone, especially older people or people carrying heavy things.
Yeah, I do that. I'm actually perpetually holding doors because my kids walk at .0000000000001 miles an hour, and I get to the door about 30 minutes before them, and then hold it open the whole time.
So far, I'm two for two.
3. Make plans with friends you haven't seen in a while, and actually follow through with them. (This includes not scheduling things on a morning when you know you're going to be too hungover to go anywhere.)
Here's my first fail. But I'll try to pencil you in between the library and losing my damn mind, OK?
4. If one of your friends is a little too drunk to handle herself at the bar/club/house party, do the right thing and remain sober-ish enough to properly babysit and facilitate her trip home.
If one of my friends is a little too drunk to handle herself, it will be long after I left at 10 p.m. to pay off the babysitter and actually make my kids go to sleep.
5. Do not assign moral value to food items, on your own plate or anyone else's. A mozzarella stick is a mozzarella stick, and nothing more.
Sorry, but these Doritos are evil. Just look at them. Sitting there. Being evil. I can judge them, you see, because they aren't people.
6. When another woman compliments your cute bag/shoes/dress and asks you where it's from, it is your moral obligation to tell you where you got it -- especially if it was on sale. Thou shalt not withhold the deals.
It's from Walmart. The white band though only comes from wearing it for a year with no rest. Good luck achieving that kind of class.
7. When taking a boy shopping, always make sure there is at least a comfy place for him to sit if you're going to be trying on more than one outfit (and you know that you likely are, even if you state otherwise upon entering the store).
Clearly, you don't know me (or all women) at all. I haven't tried anything on in a store in five years. Also, what's a boy? A boy? Really? (I mean, below, you tell us we're not 19 anymore, so...)
8. Always give someone the chance to make up for it if they've hurt your feelings, and the best way to start that process off is giving them the dignity of telling them how they hurt you. Ladies don't subtweet, they earnestly reach out on Gchat.
I use a phone, but you know, I also don't tell people how to run their grudges, their boundaries and their lives.
9. Be happy for friends when they announce big life moments, such as engagement or pregnancy, if only on the surface. (Exceptions of course being made for situations that are seriously unhealthy or endangering.) When it comes time for your big moment, you'll want the same kind of support.
Oh, look! I'm back on the lady list! Huzzah! But I guarantee you, I'm happy for all my friends all the way through. There is no surface-happiness here.
10. Have at least one outfit in the closet for job interview, one for first date, and one for going home to see family (yours or someone else's). The amount of headaches that can be spared by simply having a versatile blazer and pencil skirt at one's disposal are incalculable.
Job interview, first date, and home to see family. Bam. One tidy package. (I'm beginning to think this list isn't for moms. But did you know that moms can be ladies, too? Shocking.)
11. Never disparage another woman for choosing and embracing the domestic/housewife/stay-at-home-mom life.
Yes, all this could be yours!
12. Never disparage another woman for choosing a really demanding career instead of family life, if that's what she wants.
Why does this one have a "if that's what she wants" tacked on the end of it, but housewifery gets a free implication pass?
13. Keep a small bar in your apartment with the basics to make a few classic, tasty drinks for a small variety of tastes. There is a time and a place for having only a bottle of Mad Dog and some Boone's in your cupboards, and that time is 19 years old.
Oh, so, so classy over here. I really enjoy the juxtaposition against the kids' artwork and pictures. Anyway, ask me how many "classic, tasty drinks" I make. The answer would be all of them. Ain't nothin' tastier than a shot from the bottle, amirite? Have I lost my lady pass yet?
14. Learn the worlds of options there are between "orthopedically (sic) criminal high heels" and "computer programmer running shoes." Find something stylish that also works for your life and tastes.
First, I look fabulous in both and I can walk in both. So, what are you saying up there? Also, I got them off shoedazzle and eBay, respectively (since you're all about the deals, and I feel the need to prove to you that I haven't tried anything on in the better part of a decade.) And finally, may I direct you to your own number 15? Because, damn.
15. Never base your feminism in telling other women what makes them a "good" or "bad" feminist. Being a good, compassionate person should be your only criteria, and wearing makeup or liking Sex and the City should not be an issue.
16. Keep fresh-cut flowers in your house.
Yeehaw! Back on the lady train! (Hey, you didn't say how often to change those flowers, dude, and we've only got money for fresh ones once every two weeks. They're fab. Like me.)
17. Be a good hostess -- learn how to make people feel comfortable and welcome in your house, and leave feeling like they got to be themselves.
Spoken as if it's that easy. Have you ever met an introvert? You can't just have a rule like this and not tell anyone how to do it.
18. Stop looking at marriage as the defining endeavor in a woman's life, no matter how much it has been ingrained into you. It should neither be something you actively disdain, nor something you seek out with white-knuckled deadlines.
Have you read #15, though? Just wondering.
19. While you are not obligated to like any other woman strictly on the basis of being a woman, and there are certain things that are totally fair criticisms, her weight is never one of them.
Oh, hey, I run a website about this.
20. Do not consume media which you know, before you even see it, is going to make you feel badly about yourself. If you watched the VS Fashion Show and spent the whole time liveblogging about how ugly and inadequate it made you feel, do not give it your mental health next year. It doesn't deserve it.
BUT HAVE YOU READ NUMBER FIFTEEN YET? Let people do what they want, Jeebus.
21. Always have a backup plan.
Yeah, otherwise this could happen. Oh, did you mean in general? Because that's pretty general.
22. Give other women compliments when they are sincere and non-selfish, because girl-on-girl compliments are the greatest thing and the mark of a true lady.
I mean, what's a selfish, insincere compliment, anyway? Are you listening to yourself?
23. Do not hold gender-based expectations about who is "supposed" to pay for things. Everyone contribute, everyone do what they can, everyone take pleasure in being the one who gets to treat the other sometimes.
I thought this was a list for 2014. I didn't realize we were back in 1987.
24. Be the one to kiss first sometimes, and don't ever think that makes you weird or too forward. First kisses are too great a joy not to be shared by all genders.
Oh good. I'm glad you said something. Now I have the confidence I need to kiss first. Here's me, kissing your list of ridiculous rules goodbye.
ALSO ON HUFFPOST: