Being a teenage girl is the pits, and being an adult woman in your 20s is no easier. Once you get to the point where you’re paying your rent, making your own meals, and getting regular pap tests, there are a few traits from your teenage years that you have to let go of. Immediately.
1. Stop playing dumb
Baby voice and an inner thigh rash are equivalent in sex appeal, so I’m still staggered by women who continue to play the I’m-so-stupid card. There’s nothing cute or charming about your open ignorance. You should vote in every election. You should know there’s a famine in East Africa. You should know how many quarters are in a dollar. Be careful who you pretend to be—it’s too easy to become known for who you pretend to be.
2. Wear a bra
This is not Coachella, you are not a sexy hippie, you are at work. Put it on.
3. Stop worrying about how much or how little sex you’re having
No one needs to know your number. Have fun, wear a condom, don’t get pregnant, don’t get an STI, don’t believe anything a one-night stand tells you, and don’t worry if you’re not having any at all. We’re not all one-dimensional characters from Sex & The City (sorry?).
4. Stop calling other women “whores” and “bitches” and start calling them “assholes” and “jagwagons”
I know women aren’t supposed to hate on other women anymore because YEAH, CAPITAL-F FEMINISM and BOYS GET PAID MORE BOO-URNS and SOMETHING SOMETHING MEAN GIRLS IS LIKE, MY LIFE, but being kind to women just because they’re women is equally condescending.
It’s acceptable to dislike another female because she’s disagreeable, purposelessly cruel, personally tedious, or whatever other flaw that means you two aren’t going to click. What isn’t okay is using the words “whore,” “bitch,” “slut,” or any other female-centric pejorative to describe her.
Calling other girls terms that can only be used in regards to women makes it acceptable for men to do it too. Women don’t suck—people do, and it’s fine to want to use words to call them out on their crummy behavior. But insults directed specifically at women and women alone tend to focus on sexual impropriety, and that’s not fair. If a dude can’t call a woman a whore for wearing a low cut top, or a bitch for being aggressive at her job, you can’t either, sister.
If she gets a job you wanted or even if she wears tight t-shirts to put her heaving bosom on display for the public, she’s not a whore. The only time you can maybe, maybe call her that is if she has sex with literally every single human being you know. All of them. And if she heeds the previous item on the list, she really doesn’t care what you think about her sex life anyway. That girl? Yeah, that girl sucks, doesn’t she. Call her a dinkus and move on.
5. Stop being mean to your parents
Your 20s are all about your quarter-life crisis and you’re going to spend a lot of time thinking about WHO YOU ARE and WHERE YOU ARE GOING and HOW YOU ARE CHANGING. You may have five or six a year, so being mad at your dad for trying to break you and your boyfriend up or at your mom when she yelled at you at your cousin’s wedding in front of all those people, Mom, oh my god, I can’t believe you embarrassed me like that, I hate you, I hate you, I wish I was never born!!!!!!!!!! isn’t going to fly for much longer.
This won’t be true for all of you, but for many, you have to put your traumatic middle-class upbringing aside as you’re going to realize that no one else is ever, ever, ever, ever going to love you so much that they just want to call to ask what you had for dinner and how you’re going to cut your hair and whether you wore a jacket outside even though it’s 17 degrees, Mom, do you have to fill my goddamn voicemail with this, I’m at work!
6. Stop getting stupid tattoos in cursive writing on your rib cages, wrists, and necks that say things like “live” or “breathe” or “love” or “pestilence” in another language
Your body is not the inside cover of your 8th grade notebook—treat it accordingly.
7. Stop hating yourself
You’re skinny enough. I promise. Yourself is enough. Maybe you could read more, but whatever, we all could. Your clothes are fine. No, you don’t need to change before we go out. You’re not perfect but there’s a very small percentage of females who are, and he dumped you because he has a learning disability and refers to himself as “The Wind.” It has nothing to do with you.
Your friends, even the ones who hate themselves too, hate you more when you resort to self-pity. Request excellence of you and others, but don’t turn into a sad-sack because you’re not your own ideal. Stop crying. You’re not Miranda July, your strife isn’t twee, and you’re too old for teenage angst. Everything is alright.