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.
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.)
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.
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.
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 withold the deals.
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).
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.
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.
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.
11. Never disparage another woman for choosing and embracing the domestic/housewive/stay-at-home-mom life.
12. Never disparage another woman for choosing a really demanding career instead of family life, if that’s what she wants.
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.
14. Learn the worlds of options there are between “orthopedically criminal high heels” and “computer programmer running shoes.” Find something stylish that also works for your life and tastes.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
21. Always have a backup plan.
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.
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.
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.