Etiquette For The Modern Girl

In the 1950’s, when dinosaurs roamed the earth, stuffy women in floral blouses regularly churned out publications listing frumpy advice on “how women should behave”. Behavioural recommendations like: never share your doubts with your other half – be sweet and accommodating at all times, don’t drink any alcohol other than a flute of champers at a wedding, and stop kissing tramps for a swig of cider/urine (you know who you are).

Obviously it’s completely ridiculous that anything like that ever existed and thank GOD for feminism, Germaine Greer embarrassing herself on Big Brother, and Mums that let their daughters smoke crack in their bedrooms and stay out till 4 when they’re six years old. Or whatever it is that makes Jeremy Kyle shout things like, “Someone think of the children” and, “We’re going to lynch you in a steaming pile of Primark for being a chubber“ etc. That said, maybe it would be helpful to have a guide for ladies in the Noughties? Could call it ‘Don’t be Naughty in the Noughties’.

I tried for about an hour to come up with a better title than that one. NEWSFLASH: THERE ISN’T ONE


DON’T MESS AROUND WITH YOUR FRIEND’S EX. EVER.

I don’t care if you’re absolutely positive, with no doubt in your mind, cross your heart and hope to die certain that you’re going to marry him. Die alone. Die alone in a tear-stained wedding dress, staring at his photo, breathlessly whimpering, “I will survive” off-key as you wait for the chalky overdose to do it’s work. There are about 8 hundred trillion men in the world, and I have it on good authority that they all want to be with you – yeah I can show you the tally charts if you like, but can’t you just trust me FOR ONCE IN YOUR FREAKING ASS LIFE? So there’s really no need to get all Romeo and Juliet, “we can’t be together, this is so hard” about your friend’s sloppy seconds. And this isn’t dependent on how long they went out, or who broke up with who, or how hot he looks when he’s whining that he wants to be with you but just can’t. Just don’t go there.


TREAT WORK ROMANCES WITH CARE

Unless you work at a model agency or American Apparel, work life is bone-achingly, soul-crushingly dull. Even just getting out of bed requires a huffing strength of body and mind, grabbing your phone with a crazed look in your eye when the twinkly twangly alarm tone goes off. I bet when your Samsung arrived in it’s nice little box you spent ages choosing an alarm that was nice and relaxing, “this is so sweet I’ll probably even enjoy getting up to it!” Yeah right, in reality it’s become the sound of doom, causing uncontrollable shudders of pain when you hear it playing on someone else’s Nokia*, “How can you stand to have the charm bells of Satan as your ring tone?” So obviously it makes everything ooze along a little bit better when someone exciting slinks into your domain of work. To your eyes desperate for distraction they look like pre-hamburger Elvis in plaid, but be wary. Outside your walls of personal 9 to 5 pain they’re probably more like Nick Griffin in a dress, and quickly you’ll realise those jokes they were making weren’t wittily ironic, they were just racist. And what’s worse – THEY WEREN’T EVEN FUNNY.

DON’T BUY GRAZIA

This is more for your own safety than for etiquette reasons. This magazine is so dangerous. It doesn’t look like Heat, it doesn’t smell like Heat, but oh my touche eclat is it bad. It lulls you in with its glossy photos and darkly glamorous cover so your celeb addled mind rationalises that it’s actually a fashion magazine, “Yeah I just buy it for the articles because I’m really into clothes…No seriously – I might even do a degree in textiles or something…” I call bullshit. At least Heat holds it’s hands up to being the official documentation for the demise of everything that is good and true in this world. At least Heat gave out stickers of Harvey. Grazia just pours all the famous-people-gossip into a Vogue shaped whole, then smacks you in the face with a SERIOUS WORLD ISSUE when you turn the page – heightening feelings of guilt so much that the UK has been hit with a wave of paper cut related suicides amongst young women. Own up to what you are Grossia.

CRY IN MODERATION

Tears are the best. A well timed eye wash can get you out of some sticky situations, mainly because crying girls intimidate everyone – sobs equal maybe mental, which equals throwing things, which equals broken crap all over your bedroom. However, be wary with your gift little one, because pretty soon snotty juttery breathing becomes old news, and no longer will you be looked at with sympathy and understanding. Instead everyone will sigh and walk off, and all you’ll be left with is mascara on your hands and a Blair-Witch-drippy nose. God how fucking scary was Blair Witch? Just remembering that last scene with the man standing against the wall, kiddie hand prints everywhere, is enough to make me tear up all over my QWERTY. And that would be OK, because I’m not trying to get out of acting like an idiot, or making my Mum buy me a pony. I’ll save that for later.

OH GOD and the bloody thumb in the scrap of material outside the tent!11


STICK UP

I’ve been wracking my brains trying to find a way to do this one without sounding preachy and lame. Also, I don’t really know what I’m trying to articulate. I guess it’s just – stick up for shit. For people, objects, and funny quotations in books you agree with. I’m not saying write Female Eunuch, more if you read Female Eunuch and think it’s utter bollocks, stick with that. Even if some pretentious boy with a feminist agenda when it comes to getting girls tells you it’s well profound and jokes. And although I think girls should always be bitches, because it’s so fucking fun, maybe don’t do it too much. I know you probably all know this stuff anyway and are skimming over this last paragraph with a yawn, so just enjoy that smug satisfaction of knowing you’re more Ghost World than Mean Girls (love you forever Lindsay).

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