Thursday, May 29, 2008

While We're NOT on the Subject of Japan...

Several weeks before I went to Japan, I happened to be at Safeway filling a prescription, and I had to wait awhile and this magazine caught my eye:

The copy talked about the most important article I could read this year, so I picked up the magazine and flipped to it. The article was about the losses of the war, written around the trip home for a fallen soldier, and it was interesting enough, but I bought the magazine because of two articles: The 75-year-old Alpha Male Don Wildman (and the related "Change Your Life in One Week" article) and the list of 75 Skills Every Man Must Master. The latter, especially, I wanted to memorize. I read through the magazine several times, and then I went to Japan.

Well. Apparently I wasn't the only one who noticed this article. While I was out of the country, it was apparently blogged about, discussed, shot down, idolized, added to, the add-ons were argued about, etc. People tried to write female versions. You know you've got a really good list when you publish it and immediately people tell you you're wrong. For myself, I liked it, especially the parts about things I don't know much about. For example, I don't know anything about gambling, but I believe the list when it tells me I should know how to place three different bets on a craps table and split aces and eights in blackjack. I'll work on it. It's not NECESSARILY a man's list, because women could certainly stand to know how to do all 75 things. But there's a few more things that women should know, I think.

One restatement of this list that I actually like can be found here (possibly the only right-wing link on this blog so far). An example of stupid comments about this list can be found here, especially annoying because the name of that blog is the same as the title of a really excellent book that doesn't deserve to be associated with stupidity.

(For more, there's more discussion on this than you could ever want on this google search.

And Now, My Two Cents

I've been thinking a lot about this sort of thing recently. I recently realized, while running, that most humans should be able to jog two miles and walk five miles or so, daily, if necessary, and that got me thinking about things that Most Humans Should Be Able To Do. In the case of Armageddon, what would I do if I had no food and water? No way to contact family? How would I travel? What would I do with Titan? Where would I sleep, how would I shower enough to stave off disease? Would I know what plants to eat safely or how to cook a rabbit? Would I know how to find clean water? And then I started making a list, in my head, of things that Most Humans Should Be Able To Do, and more specifically, Things Grown Women Should Be Able To Do.

Most Humans Should Be Able To:

1. Run or walk quickly enough to cover a mile in ten minutes or less. Then keep going for several miles. What if someone is chasing you? What if you have to catch a ferry?

2. Cook for themselves without prepared food.
Most humans should be able to cook for themselves and feed themselves properly and healthfully. There's no need to count vegetable servings. Starting the day with complex carbohydrates and fruit and nuts, and then repeating that process two more times, adding a complete protein, is all you need and it's not difficult.

3. Lift most things you own.
In a pinch, if you are friendless, alone, and broke, you should be able to move your stuff. Be able to separate what's important and what's not; keep track of the stuff that is important, let the rest go.

4. Know how to inflict pain. Physical pain, that is. Know how to inflict pain on an attacker. I've read that the eyes and nose are especially good, as, of course, are the privates if he is male. Don't punch with your hand--you'll break the bones. Use the heel of your hand. The head is also a good weapon; the skull is a lot harder than almost any other bone in the body. Smash suddenly forwards or backwards with your head, or drive an elbow into the stomach. Smash down on the instep. (The arch of the foot.) Grab of handful of his hair and attempt to rip it out. It will hurt.

5. Fend Off Boredom and Depression. Set yourself goals for the day. Do them. Work out a routine for each week of different things you will do on each day. Stick to it. You should include: working, exercising, eating, household chores, and time spent on a pleasant hobby. There's plenty of way more involved websites about this, but household chores should include: keeping the windows, walls, and floors clean. Keeping the bath, toilet, and shower clean. Keeping the counters and kitchen sink clean. Changing the bedsheets. If you can't remember the last time you did any of these things, you're not doing them often enough. It seems simplistic, but I have trouble with this, full disclosure. Writing it down in this simple fashion can help.

6. Get enough sleep.
This is one of the most important things humans can do. It helps maintain body weight, hunger cravings, and mood. Not sleeping enough drops your IQ as much as smoking marijuana. You have no excuse to get less than eight hours. Kick in your TV and give away your computer if you find yourself pressed for time.

7. Spend Less Than You Make. A lot less. You can't buy everything, just get over the idea right now. Someone will always have more toys than you. And if you can't be first place in the toy race, why are you fighting for 52nd place? No one cares. Buy the stuff you need, buy a few things you want, spend the rest of the time developing a hobby.

More Specifically, For Women

8. Know how to take pain. Women, not having the benefit of tough sports, often don't know how to protect themselves, and so will simply stand and take physical punishment, or will run, or scream. Know which parts of your body you have to protect and let the other parts take the punishment. Hold up your arms in front of your face, or if you're on the ground, curl up into a ball to protect your inner organs. Your arms and legs will heal, your face won't. The kicks or punches or knife cuts will hurt terribly, but it's all superficial. Really. Let your limbs take the pain. If he has a gun, though, definitely do run and scream, in that order. It's very difficult to hit a moving target.

9. Know Your Limit and Stay Below It.
Do not become noticeably drunk in a public place. Know your limit with food and without food; with sleep and without sleep. My personal rule: If I've eaten recently and am well-rested or pumped up on adrenaline I can drink a maximum of two drinks per hour. If I haven't eaten in as few as two or three hours that drops to one drink per hour. Other rules I try to follow: Avoid being the most drunk one, no matter what. Hot weather or working up a sweat dancing increases feelings of intoxication, so watch out for that, as does smoking. Try to avoid sugary drinks, or mixing alcohols. After midnight, stop drinking. Do Not Succumb to Peer Pressure to have six shots of tequila in an hour.

10. Nothing Wrong With Getting Drunk Sometimes. Do it at home with people you know. Some women I know only get drunk with other women, pretty specific but valid.

11. Know how to tell when a man is not right for you. It could be for something tiny. That's fine.

12. Know how you feel about marriage and kids. Not how your mother feels or how your friends feel, even your best friends. You'll find other methods of fulfillment if you truly don't want kids or a husband. You just have to admit it to yourself first.

13. Get Over the Idea of Romance. I can't believe how many grown women--way older than I am--that I've known of who left their husbands because of someone they met online or in a pottery class. Who claimed true love. Who find the idea of star-crossed love attractive and want it to happen to them. There are very few real great love stories that have happened or will happen in the history of the world. Your love for your new internet friend is not among these.

14. Know your personal style. I look good in higher-waisted jeans and crisp button downs, wrap dress, and fitted tanks or tees. I look better in higher waists, but not empire waists unless they're fitted just right. I look good in medium-to-deep colors. I look terrible in cardigans, vests, suspenders, low-rise anything, most empire-waist things, any pullover that sits right at my hips, and any pastels or warm tones. Know this about yourself.

15. Don't obsess about your personal style so much that you refuse to wear your friend's bridesmaid dress.

16. Decide who your important friends are in your life. Cherish them. Make sacrifices for them. Loan them money, offer to babysit. Make sure these things are returned. Give them honest advice when they ask for it. When they don't, keep your mouth shut. Unless your friend is being abused, her relationship is not your relationship.

17. If a friend complains for more than a year about her relationship but doesn't do anything constructive, you're allowed to tell her to shut up occasionally.

17. Stay in contact with your family.
Even if you don't get along.

18. Refuse to obsess about things. Meditate enough so that you know the tangled paths your brain goes down. When it goes down a bad one, stop it. Especially do not obsess about germs, work, or relationships. Basic personal hygiene is plenty of guard against getting sick. Work on your career, and work on work; when you leave work, forget about it. Some of your relationships will work out and some won't. Maybe you'll end up divorced at 55. Worrying about that now won't change the outcome one bit.

19. Put your feelings aside. While in the sports game, or in the argument, or in the raise discussion, disregard all emotion. You'll have plenty of time afterwards.

20. Know how to carry on a conversation with a famous person.
Regardless of my success or lack thereof with the other items on this list, I have absolutely no idea how to do this. Thoughts?

21. Know how to talk to a very good looking man.
SMILE, for God's sake. He's just human. Ask him where he's from, ask him what he does for a living, ask him what he does in his spare time. Everyone wants to be found fascinating.

22. Know how to budget your time.
You really do not have to do everything. This seems like a little thing, but if you constantly seek to be Superwoman, you'll never be happy, and you'll obsess and become overly emotional. Be very good at some things. Pay someone else to do the other things for you.

23. Keep a stock of guest foods. Nuts, cheese, chocolate.
A few beers, a few bottles of wine, some basic liquors. There's nothing that makes me feel more like a failure than when people show up at my house and I have nothing to offer them. Cream for coffee, toilet paper in the bathroom, soap on the sink.

24. Make peace with your relationship with feminism.
How do YOU feel about make up, about gender roles, about sexual assault, about blow jobs? Don't worry if the feminist party line is different. You think for you.


l-t said...

Fun post. So much so, I'm going to add MY COMMENTS.

FYI: I pwn all of RWN's list. I'm good on all but about 8 of Esquire's.

On Aarwenn's:

3. I disagree. Don't let go yet; just be ready to if you must. Or get a chainfall.

4. Head only on the top of the forehead or the very back, not the crown. And remember that your elbows and knees are incredibly hard too, and often not looked after. Plus, you'll likely be close in to your attacker, and won't have the room or leverage for your hands and feet.

6. No way. Sleep less. 4-6 hours, tops.

7. Save money, but die poor.

10. Hell yeah. Good friends sittin' on the porch? Throw down.

15. I don't get it.

16. See: Loyalty.

Finally, my two of my favorite sayings which go well here: Work to live, don't live to work. Also, never volunteer for something just because you're good at it, but do volunteer for something distasteful once in awhile.

C said...

I agree with many of the items in your list. Great post! Another I thought of, mostly because it is a HUGE pet peeve:

-Be fluent in your native language.

I don't care which language you speak natively, but it bothers the hell out of me when people cannot construct a grammatically correct sentence. Now, if you wish to use fragments or improper whatevers for stylistic purposes, fine. But know how to do it correctly.

OK, I'm done. I may have to steal your idea and make a list of my own, but am at a loss as to what to put in it.

C said...

Oh, and also? (I'm sure this is on the original list, but I haven't read it yet...)

*Know CPR and basic First Aid. You never know when you'll need it.

Midge said...

in order to be delightfully cryptic, I'll just say #24. Last line.
for. shore.