Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Seven Skills Every Woman Should Master

Yay for Maggie Mason and her lists. She made a list of skills every woman should master (or muster.) I agree with most of her things, and I have a few of my own.

1. Write a thoughtful and personal thank-you note. I can't tell you how many times recently I've received a "thank-you" note from someone for whom I took at least a little trouble to find a personal and thoughtful (I thought) gift. In every case the note was not addressed to me on the inside, and in most cases said something like this: "Thank you for your thoughtful gift, whatever it was."

When I was in elementary school, my mother once refused to allow me to complete an assignment handed out as a punishment: copying pages from the dictionary by hand. As a professional writer, she loathed the idea of writing as punishment. These deeply impersonal and thoughtless notes seem a lot like that kind of punishment to me; frankly, I'd rather not receive a thank-you note at all rather than one of these no-thanks notes.

2. Entertain unexpected guests. Keep a bottle of white wine in the fridge and a bottle of red someplace dark. Keep bags of cashews, toasted pecans, and dried apricots in a dark place in the cupboard (and don't polish them off while watching "Grey's Anatomy.") Invest in a nice cheeseboard, and keep a wedge or two of decent cheese (like an aged cheddar and a hard cheese, like real Parmigiano or Dry Jack) in the fridge.

3. Perfect one easy appetizer, one salad, one main course, and one dessert. In case the unexpected guests stay for dinner. Here are some that are easy and use things that ought to be in your pantry (if they're not, consider keeping them in your panry.)

Cheese straws
Spinach-Basil Salad with tomatoes, candied walnuts, and warm bacon dressing
Glazed blueberry chicken
Orange flan

4. Break up with a toxic friend. You know who I mean--it's that one friend who admires your new shoes, and two days later has some of her own. The one who, when you told her you had a crush on a new boy in high school, became enamoured of him herself. The one who is just a little two-faced or likes inappropriate drama or doesn't return phone calls when she's got a boyfriend. Yeah, you don't need her--you just need a good way to lose her.

5. Throw a frisbee, a baseball and a football. Believe it or not, these things will come up. And if you can't do them, the boys will notice you. And not in a good way.

6. Apologize convincingly. You would be surprised how far a heartfelt apology will carry you. And even if you don't mean it, you should sound like you do.

7. Say no to your mother-in-law. If she's like mine, she is surprisingly convincing. I am working on this skill myself.


Treen said...

Amen to number 4. I've been getting better at it through the years and just had to do it today. People don't realize that friends, just like boyfriends, are no good for you too sometimes and need to be ditched as well.

I think I might post this and add to it too, I like it.

Sarah, Goon Squad Sarah said...

I need to get to work on a dessert.

Mmmm. Dessert.