The Girl's Guide to Absolutely Everything

( 5 )

Overview

A colossal cheat sheet for your postcollege years. Finally, all the needs of the modern girl—from the benefits of a Roth IRA to the pleasure and pain of dating (and why it’s not a cliché to love yourself first), from figuring out what to wear to a job interview to the delicate enterprise of defriending—are addressed in one rollicking volume. Here is the perfect combination of solid advice and been-there secrets for every one of life’s conundrums you might confront, all delivered in Melissa Kirsch’s fresh, ...
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The Girl's Guide to Absolutely Everything: Advice on Absolutely Everything

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Overview

A colossal cheat sheet for your postcollege years. Finally, all the needs of the modern girl—from the benefits of a Roth IRA to the pleasure and pain of dating (and why it’s not a cliché to love yourself first), from figuring out what to wear to a job interview to the delicate enterprise of defriending—are addressed in one rollicking volume. Here is the perfect combination of solid advice and been-there secrets for every one of life’s conundrums you might confront, all delivered in Melissa Kirsch’s fresh, personal, funny voice, as if your best and smartest friend were giving you the best and smartest advice in the world.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
One would be hard-pressed to come up with a more accurate title for this comprehensive guide. Kirsch, a former producer at Oxygen Media, provides a wealth of advice for women in their twenties and thirties on everything from body image and friendship to first jobs and money. For each subject, she includes pertinent articles and diagrams as well as relevant web sites and phone numbers. She shares handy tips on how to choose a credit card, whom and how much to tip, and how to get criticized without bursting into tears. Her well-designed book is pleasurable to read and encourages healthy, responsible behavior. Highly recommended for academic and public libraries.


—Deborah Bigelow
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780761135791
  • Publisher: Workman Publishing Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 11/16/2006
  • Pages: 640
  • Sales rank: 232,253
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author


Melissa Kirsch, an editor at the online magazine Café and a former senior producer at oxygen Media, has written for New York magazine, National Geographic, and Ladies’ Home Journal, and consulted as an expert on relationships and etiquette for Glamour, Jezebel, and Cosmopolitan. She lives in New York City.
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Read an Excerpt


Introduction
An Informal Meet-and-Greet, A Little History and What You Can Expect from Here on Out

Here’s a conversation I have pretty much every day

—Guy: What do you do?

Me: I’m writing a book for women in their 20s.

Guy (suddenly very interested): Oooh, is it about sex?

Me: Um, no. I mean, yeah, sure, it’s about sex. But it’s also about a trillion other things like

—Guy: So what can you tell me?

Me: About what?

—Guy: You know, about women in their 20s, what do I need to know? I like women in their 20s.

Me: I’m not writing a dating manual.

—Guy: Then what else is there to write about?

Well, actually quite a bit. There’s this asinine rumor going around that the majority of our time is spent teetering about in stilettos, trying not to spill our very pink cocktails on our very tight frocks, lest we embarrass ourselves adorably in front of the smoldering hunk smiling at us over on the banquette.

You and I both know there’s little truth in that tableau outside of a romantic comedy. But for all the complexity of our lives, insulting stereotypes persist. There seems to be no end to knowing aunts, cheeky advice columnists and plucky sitcom heroines peddling conflicting messages about how you can “survive and thrive” during your quarterlife odyssey. But somewhere between the overplayed “you go girl!” cheering and the outdated “find a man and settle down” guidance, the important questions aren’t being answered. How do you say “no” without feeling guilty? Where can you find a bra that fits? Why do some of yourgirlfriends turn into paper dolls when they’re around guys? Should you take “Dry Clean Only” tags seriously? What are you going to do with the rest of your life? Girl, meet World. World, play nicely. Oh, if only it were that simple!

In 2002, I was 27, working as an editor for a women’s media company. Every week, books for review would arrive on my desk, each marketed squarely at me. These glittering tomes had witty titles and flashy covers that promised to explain how to snare a man, how to order a cocktail, how to land that corner office before I turned 30. Most of these “guides to life” bored me to pinkbubble- letter distraction—they proffered little more than retrograde flirting tactics and shopworn clichés. I wearied of saying “I could do this so much better” and decided it was time I did.

My first order of business was to contact all the wise, brilliant, hilarious women I knew in their late 20s, 30s and 40s and ask them: “What do you know now that you wish you’d known right after college and in your 20s that would have made your life a lot less difficult, spared you heartache, generally made the transition to life on your own a heck of a lot easier? What do you still not know that you wish someone would tell you?”

The results of my poll were staggering. All the responses were enthusiastic, passionate, soul-searching. Certain subjects came up repeatedly—it seems not one of the women had been given solid advice about how to avoid debt or how to unleash herself from the yoke of her college major. The women described still not knowing how to apologize with grace, what to spend on wedding presents, how to explain their job and dating choices to their parents or how to find a good gynecologist. All the women expressed a desire for a “cheat sheet,” a volume of intelligence that would have helped them avoid a lot of the mishaps they encountered in their 20s. The urgent need for meaningful, compelling advice for young women was cast in bold relief. I had my work cut out for me.

In this book, you’ll find all the wisdom that I gleaned from that first, innocent query—plus all the additional, juicy, hilarious, scary, real stuff I discovered once I set out to put together a colossal cheat sheet to a woman’s 20s and 30s.When I couldn’t figure out the answers for myself, I sought the know-how of experts in different fields; you’ll find counsel from experts— physicians, psychotherapists, a nutritionist, sex advice mavens, a practitioner of Chinese Medicine, a real estate agent, an image consultant and lots of women’s moms—all of whom pop up in different chapters throughout the book. For example, every time you see a box entitled “A Quick Trip to the Couch,”we’ll hear one of our resident psychotherapists’ take on the subject at hand.

I also checked in again with my cohort of wise women. For every chapter, I carried on extensive e-mail surveys, wrangled small focus groups and conducted oneon- one interviews with about sixty women, from 22 on up.What emerges is a collaborative effort, some hard-and-fast factual stuff, some opinions and philosophizing, lots of different voices, discussions and options. Any time I had more to say on a particular topic but had to move on, there are suggestions of books and Web sites to check out for deeper investigation. You’ll also find an extensive resource list at the back of the book.

Some of what you find in here you may already know. You might disagree with a few things here and there. That’s all very fine by me— if anyone were to swallow every piece of advice in this book wholesale, I’d doubt their sanity. I’d also beg them to stop because if there’s one thing I’ve learned in all my experience (it’s pretty vast: I’m 31 now. But I only look 30.) it’s that all the advice in the world isn’t going to do you a whit of good if you don’t, ultimately, make up your own mind, if you don’t think for yourself. That’s it, my best piece of advice. Wait, could I have just written three measly words and you’d be good to go? Okay, fine, there’s a little more to it than that—about 500 pages’ worth. But take what’s here with a grain of salt— take it with a giant, deer-sized salt lick—process it, then decide for yourself how you’re going to live your life.

This is the book I wish someone had given me when I finished college. Or when I got my first job. Or when I turned 30. I’m glad that someone had the good sense to give it to you (or you brilliantly plucked it off the shelf of your local bookstore). Your 20s are so frequently treated as the waiting room to the rest of your life. But why should you wither away in anticipation of real life beginning? To hell with putting Baby in a corner—you’ve got a lot of living to do! Good luck. I’m here if you need me.

—MELISSA KIRSCH

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Table of Contents


Introduction xv

C H A P T E R 1: Health and Body Image 1

REAL WOMEN GET PAP SMEARS, EAT BREAD AND NEGOTIATE CEASE-FIRES WITH THEIR FULL-LENGTH MIRRORS

An Exercise Regimen You Can Stick With • Why Everyone’s Nuts About Yoga • The Gym: Home Away From Home or Vile Torture Dungeon? • Secrets to Cheap Gym Membership • Stress: The Root of Most Evil • Rock Bottom, Thy Name Is Insomnia • Eat This Up: A Healthy Diet That’s a Cinch • Centrum, Flax Seed and B Complexes, Oh My! • Bowel Movements: They Really Should Move You • How to Lose Weight Intelligently • Shelve the Cosmo: Living Inside a Real Body • Who Decides You’re“ Too Thin” or “Too Fat”? • Why You Really Must Quit Smoking Today • Chablis Is Not a Breakfast Drink • From Dermo to Gyno: How to Find the Right Doctor • Four Ways of Looking at Menstrual Cramps • Things Suck and They’re Not Getting Better: When to Call in the Professionals • One-Way Ticket to the Valley of the Dolls? The Medication Question • HMOs, Point of Service and That Viper COBRA—All in Plain English

C H A P T E R 2: Careers and Work 63

HOW TO GET, KEEP, QUIT, CHANGE, IMPROVE, EXPLAIN OR SURVIVE ANY JOB

What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up? • Résumés and Cover Letters • Looking for a Job • How to Ace Every Interview Every Time • Limp Handshake, Limp Personality • Graduate School: Now or Never? • Networking: Wiring Your Connections • Mentors and Role Models • Being an Assistant Before You Are the Boss • Accelerate Your Career Advancement • Temping Without Contempt • Talking to the Boss • Taking Criticism Without Bursting into Tears • Your Job Is Not a Sorority • The Art of Talking Up • Suicide by E-mail • When Good Jobs Go Dreadfully Awry • Leaving a Job and Keeping Your Identity • Being Excellent at What You Do

C H A P T E R 3: Money and Finance 111

SAVING UP, CREDIT SURFING, DEBT DEMOLISHING, RETIREMENT PLANS AND SCADS OF OTHER FINANCIAL STUFF NO ONE W ANTS TO TALK A BOUT

Financial Hardship Is for the Birds: What Variety Are You? • How to Put Yourself on a Budget • The Id and Superego of Spending • Girl Walks into a Bank • What’s a 401K and Who Could Ever Run That Far? • IRA: He’s Not Your Uncle but When He Gets Old, You Get Rich • Avoiding Debtor’s Prison • Credit Cards: The Gateway Drug? • Which Will Die First: Me or My Credit Rating? • The Big Student Loan Payoff: Heaven Can Wait • Stocks, Bonds, Splits: The S&M of Investing • You’re Special, But on April 15, We’re All Equal • The White Knight Fantasy • Two Gargantuan Purchases: Car and Home • The Rent vs. Buy Debate

C H A P T E R 4: Etiquette: It’s Not About the Fork 175

HOW TO TAKE A COMPLIMENT, SOFA-CRASH ELEGANTLY, SELECT A WEDDING GIFT AND OTHER PAINLESS BUT NECESSARY ESSENTIALS OF GOOD BREEDING

The Dos and Don’ts of Conversation • The Spinach-on-the-Tooth Rule • No Throwing Food: Restaurants and Bars Done Classy • The Tipping Point: A Crib Sheet • The 13 Essentials of Table Etiquette • A Good Host Never Insists on Pictionary • Only Connect: Making Introductions • Don’t Poop on the Party: What Makes a Good Guest • A Word on E-vites • Weddings: The Stuff They Forgot to Tell You • How Many Gifts Must a Good Guest Give? • Communication in an Increasingly Barbaric World • Long Live the Longhand Letter • Giving Good Phone • Avoiding Cell Phone Boorishness • Crackberry Crackdown • Offering Condolences

C H A P T E R 5: The Company You Keep 209

MAKE NEW FRIENDS, KEEP THE OLD AND STILL RESPECT YOURSELF IN THE MORNING

Being There: How to Be a Good Friend When . . . • Multiple Choice: Your Ever-Changing Friend Lineup • A-List, B-List, No-See List • So Do I Just Introduce Myself? • Long Distance or Long Lost? • Splitting the Bill: Pals in Different Income Brackets • Two Girls on a Trip: Five Steps to Success • Living with Roommates • Who Are These People? Letting Friends Change • Catfight Club • When Saving the Friendship Is More Important Than Being Right • How to Say You’re Sorry with Aplomb • Spread the Love: Balancing Friendship and Courtship • Being a Girls’ Girl vs. Being a Boys’Girl • Friendship Sandbars • Defriending: A Delicate Enterprise • The Chosen Family

C H A P T E R 6: Dating, Sex and Romance 243

THE PAIN AND PLEASURE OF DATING, TALKS ABOUT US, NON-GOAL-ORIENTED SEX AND OTHER CONCERNS OF THE ROMANTICALLY INCLINED

Loving Yourself First (It’s Not a Bunch of Crap) • First Dates: Nervous Breakdown or Touchdown? • Beware the Overshare • How to Find a Date • Identifying the Smart, Dateable Few from the Psychotic Masses • The Big Electronic Boyfriend Warehouse: Online Dating • Bad Judgment Call: The Drunken Hookup • Shut Up and Look Pretty: Bad Advice You Shouldn’t Follow • The Woman’s Sexual Bill of Rights • The Orgasm, Revisited • Maybe Baby? Maybe Not • Didn’t Get It From the Toilet Seat • Flings, Tricks, One-Night Stands and Part-Time Lovers • In It for the Long Term • The Truth about Nice Guys • Moving In Together • How to Have a Love Affair • The Talk About Us: A Primer • Dumping vs. Being Dumped • A Little Encouragement for the Ladies Who Love Ladies

C H A P T E R 7: Getting Along with Your Family 295

WHILE FIGURING OUT WHO YOU ARE

Seeing Your Parents as Real People • Making Your Siblings Your Allies • Home for the Holidays: It’s All Eggnog and Good Cheer, Right? • Recasting Call: Changing Your Family Role • The Black Sheep Grows the Prettiest Wool • Boy Meets Family, Boy Oh Boy • Should Your Parents Be Your Best Friends? • Can You Fire Your Mother? • Moving Back Home Doesn’t Mean You’re a Loser • Purse Strings and Apron Strings: Accepting Money from Your Parents • The Good Daughter • Little Talk, Big Talk

CHAPTER 8: Spirituality 319

LYING ON YOUR BED AND STARING AT THE CEILING AND OTHER PATHS TO ENLIGHTENMENT

What Is Spirituality? • That New-Time Religion • Life After Sunday School •“There Are Hundreds of Ways to Kneel and Kiss the Ground” • Spirituality and Ethics: Hopeless in Love or Vicious Smackdown? • Instant Karma • The Importance of Not Lying • Oops, I Was Totally Inauthentic Again • On Judging and Feeling Judged • Ethics in Action: Your Social Conscience • Does Giving Money Help Anyone But Me • Mere Anarchy:When Things Fall Apart

CHAPTER 9: Home Ec for Modern Times 343

OR EVERYTHING YOUR MOTHER DIDN’T HAVE TIME TO TEACH YOU

Gimme Shelter: How to Find a Place to Live • Slobs and Neat Freaks Unite: How to Keep House • The Mystery of the Household Stench • Housekeeping with Housemates • Hassle-Free Laundry • Out, Out, Damn Spot • The Dirty Truth about Dry Cleaning • On the Mend • Cooking for One: It Doesn’t Have to Be Depressing • Life After the Easy-Bake Oven: Outfitting the Kitchen • Freeze Everything • Going Organic: The Cost/Benefit Analysis • Six Simple Recipes Even a Non-Cook Can Make • The Meal that Keeps on Giving • If You Had a Hammer: Handywoman Special • Lights Out, Make Out: Saving Energy and Cash•Alien Invasion: Creepy, Crawly Roommates that Don’t Pay Rent

CHAPTER 10: Fashion Sense for Any Era 393

THE PITFALLS OF PANTYHOSE, FLIP-FLOP FELONIES AND THE GREAT BIKINI WAX DEBATE

Building a Wardrobe: Foundation Items • On Being a “Type” • Cost Per Wear • How to Get Dressed in 15 Minutes or Less • Eight Ways of Working the Same Black Dress • Figuring Out What Looks Best on You • Think Architecture: It’s All About Balance • Designer Names for Less: A Cautionary Tale • Secondhand Rose, Firsthand Woes • What to Wear Everywhere • Accessorize, Don’t Excessivize • The Closet Overhaul • How to Have a Healthy Shoe Fetish • The Girl in the Wrong Bra • A Short Paean to the Brief • The Crotch and Beyond: Hair You Wish Wasn’t There • How to Get a Haircut You Don’t Hate • After a Fashion: Some Parting Words

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Preface

Introduction

An Informal Meet-and-Greet, A Little History and
What You Can Expect from Here on Out

Here’s a conversation I have pretty much every day

—Guy: What do you do?

Me: I’m writing a book for women in their 20s.

Guy (suddenly very interested): Oooh, is it about sex?

Me: Um, no. I mean, yeah, sure, it’s about sex. But it’s also about a trillion other things like

—Guy: So what can you tell me?

Me: About what?

—Guy: You know, about women in their 20s, what do I need to know? I like women in their 20s.

Me: I’m not writing a dating manual.

—Guy: Then what else is there to write about?

Well, actually quite a bit.
There’s this asinine rumor going around that the majority of our time is spent teetering about in stilettos, trying not to spill our very pink cocktails on our very tight frocks, lest we embarrass ourselves adorably in front of the smoldering hunk smiling at us over on the banquette.

You and I both know there’s little truth in that tableau outside of a romantic comedy. But for all the complexity of our lives, insulting stereotypes persist. There seems to be no end to knowing aunts, cheeky advice columnists and plucky sitcom heroines peddling conflicting messages about how you can “survive and thrive” during your quarterlife odyssey. But somewhere between the overplayed “you go girl!” cheering and the outdated “find a man and settle down” guidance, the important questions aren’t being answered. How do you say “no” without feeling guilty? Where can you find a bra that fits? Why do some of yourgirlfriends turn into paper dolls when they’re around guys? Should you take “Dry Clean Only” tags seriously? What are you going to do with the rest of your life? Girl, meet World. World, play nicely. Oh, if only it were that simple!

In 2002, I was 27, working as an editor for a women’s media company. Every week, books for review would arrive on my desk, each marketed squarely at me. These glittering tomes had witty titles and flashy covers that promised to explain how to snare a man, how to order a cocktail, how to land that corner office before I turned 30. Most of these “guides to life” bored me to pinkbubble- letter distraction—they proffered little more than retrograde flirting tactics and shopworn clichés. I wearied of saying “I could do this so much better” and decided it was time I did.

My first order of business was to contact all the wise, brilliant, hilarious women I knew in their late 20s, 30s and 40s and ask them: “What do you know now that you wish you’d known right after college and in your 20s that would have made your life a lot less difficult, spared you heartache, generally made the transition to life on your own a heck of a lot easier? What do you still not know that you wish someone would tell you?”

The results of my poll were staggering. All the responses were enthusiastic, passionate, soul-searching. Certain subjects came up repeatedly—it seems not one of the women had been given solid advice about how to avoid debt or how to unleash herself from the yoke of her college major. The women described still not knowing how to apologize with grace, what to spend on wedding presents, how to explain their job and dating choices to their parents or how to find a good gynecologist. All the women expressed a desire for a “cheat sheet,” a volume of intelligence that would have helped them avoid a lot of the mishaps they encountered in their 20s. The urgent need for meaningful, compelling advice for young women was cast in bold relief. I had my work cut out for me.

In this book, you’ll find all the wisdom that I gleaned from that first, innocent query—plus all the additional, juicy, hilarious, scary, real stuff I discovered once I set out to put together a colossal cheat sheet to a woman’s 20s and 30s.When I couldn’t figure out the answers for myself, I sought the know-how of experts in different fields; you’ll find counsel from experts— physicians, psychotherapists, a nutritionist, sex advice mavens, a practitioner of Chinese Medicine, a real estate agent, an image consultant and lots of women’s moms—all of whom pop up in different chapters throughout the book. For example, every time you see a box entitled “A Quick Trip to the Couch,”we’ll hear one of our resident psychotherapists’ take on the subject at hand.

I also checked in again with my cohort of wise women. For every chapter, I carried on extensive e-mail surveys, wrangled small focus groups and conducted oneon- one interviews with about sixty women, from 22 on up.What emerges is a collaborative effort, some hard-and-fast factual stuff, some opinions and philosophizing, lots of different voices, discussions and options. Any time I had more to say on a particular topic but had to move on, there are suggestions of books and Web sites to check out for deeper investigation. You’ll also find an extensive resource list at the back of the book.

Some of what you find in here you may already know. You might disagree with a few things here and there. That’s all very fine by me— if anyone were to swallow every piece of advice in this book wholesale, I’d doubt their sanity. I’d also beg them to stop because if there’s one thing I’ve learned in all my experience (it’s pretty vast: I’m 31 now. But I only look 30.) it’s that all the advice in the world isn’t going to do you a whit of good if you don’t, ultimately, make up your own mind, if you don’t think for yourself. That’s it, my best piece of advice. Wait, could I have just written three measly words and you’d be good to go? Okay, fine, there’s a little more to it than that—about 500 pages’ worth. But take what’s here with a grain of salt— take it with a giant, deer-sized salt lick—process it, then decide for yourself how you’re going to live your life.

This is the book I wish someone had given me when I finished college. Or when I got my first job. Or when I turned 30. I’m glad that someone had the good sense to give it to you (or you brilliantly plucked it off the shelf of your local bookstore). Your 20s are so frequently treated as the waiting room to the rest of your life. But why should you wither away in anticipation of real life beginning? To hell with putting Baby in a corner—you’ve got a lot of living to do! Good luck. I’m here if you need me.

—MELISSA KIRSCH

Read More Show Less

Introduction

Introduction
An Informal Meet-and-Greet, A Little History and What You Can Expect from Here on Out

Here's a conversation I have pretty much every day

--Guy: What do you do?

Me: I'm writing a book for women in their 20s.

Guy (suddenly very interested): Oooh, is it about sex?

Me: Um, no. I mean, yeah, sure, it's about sex. But it's also about a trillion other things like

--Guy: So what can you tell me?

Me: About what?

--Guy: You know, about women in their 20s, what do I need to know? I like women in their 20s.

Me: I'm not writing a dating manual.

--Guy: Then what else is there to write about?

Well, actually quite a bit. There's this asinine rumor going around that the majority of our time is spent teetering about in stilettos, trying not to spill our very pink cocktails on our very tight frocks, lest we embarrass ourselves adorably in front of the smoldering hunk smiling at us over on the banquette.

You and I both know there's little truth in that tableau outside of a romantic comedy. But for all the complexity of our lives, insulting stereotypes persist. There seems to be no end to knowing aunts, cheeky advice columnists and plucky sitcom heroines peddling conflicting messages about how you can "survive and thrive" during your quarterlife odyssey. But somewhere between the overplayed "you go girl!" cheering and the outdated "find a man and settle down" guidance, the important questions aren't being answered. How do you say "no" without feeling guilty? Where can you find a bra that fits? Why do some of yourgirlfriends turn into paper dolls when they're aroundguys? Should you take "Dry Clean Only" tags seriously? What are you going to do with the rest of your life? Girl, meet World. World, play nicely. Oh, if only it were that simple!

In 2002, I was 27, working as an editor for a women's media company. Every week, books for review would arrive on my desk, each marketed squarely at me. These glittering tomes had witty titles and flashy covers that promised to explain how to snare a man, how to order a cocktail, how to land that corner office before I turned 30. Most of these "guides to life" bored me to pinkbubble- letter distraction--they proffered little more than retrograde flirting tactics and shopworn cliches. I wearied of saying "I could do this so much better" and decided it was time I did.

My first order of business was to contact all the wise, brilliant, hilarious women I knew in their late 20s, 30s and 40s and ask them: "What do you know now that you wish you'd known right after college and in your 20s that would have made your life a lot less difficult, spared you heartache, generally made the transition to life on your own a heck of a lot easier? What do you still not know that you wish someone would tell you?"

The results of my poll were staggering. All the responses were enthusiastic, passionate, soul-searching. Certain subjects came up repeatedly--it seems not one of the women had been given solid advice about how to avoid debt or how to unleash herself from the yoke of her college major. The women described still not knowing how to apologize with grace, what to spend on wedding presents, how to explain their job and dating choices to their parents or how to find a good gynecologist. All the women expressed a desire for a "cheat sheet," a volume of intelligence that would have helped them avoid a lot of the mishaps they encountered in their 20s. The urgent need for meaningful, compelling advice for young women was cast in bold relief. I had my work cut out for me.

In this book, you'll find all the wisdom that I gleaned from that first, innocent query--plus all the additional, juicy, hilarious, scary, real stuff I discovered once I set out to put together a colossal cheat sheet to a woman's 20s and 30s.When I couldn't figure out the answers for myself, I sought the know-how of experts in different fields; you'll find counsel from experts-- physicians, psychotherapists, a nutritionist, sex advice mavens, a practitioner of Chinese Medicine, a real estate agent, an image consultant and lots of women's moms--all of whom pop up in different chapters throughout the book. For example, every time you see a box entitled "A Quick Trip to the Couch,"we'll hear one of our resident psychotherapists' take on the subject at hand.

I also checked in again with my cohort of wise women. For every chapter, I carried on extensive e-mail surveys, wrangled small focus groups and conducted oneon- one interviews with about sixty women, from 22 on up.What emerges is a collaborative effort, some hard-and-fast factual stuff, some opinions and philosophizing, lots of different voices, discussions and options. Any time I had more to say on a particular topic but had to move on, there are suggestions of books and Web sites to check out for deeper investigation. You'll also find an extensive resource list at the back of the book.

Some of what you find in here you may already know. You might disagree with a few things here and there. That's all very fine by me-- if anyone were to swallow every piece of advice in this book wholesale, I'd doubt their sanity. I'd also beg them to stop because if there's one thing I've learned in all my experience (it's pretty vast: I'm 31 now. But I only look 30.) it's that all the advice in the world isn't going to do you a whit of good if you don't, ultimately, make up your own mind, if you don't think for yourself. That's it, my best piece of advice. Wait, could I have just written three measly words and you'd be good to go? Okay, fine, there's a little more to it than that--about 500 pages' worth. But take what's here with a grain of salt-- take it with a giant, deer-sized salt lick--process it, then decide for yourself how you're going to live your life.

This is the book I wish someone had given me when I finished college. Or when I got my first job. Or when I turned 30. I'm glad that someone had the good sense to give it to you (or you brilliantly plucked it off the shelf of your local bookstore). Your 20s are so frequently treated as the waiting room to the rest of your life. But why should you wither away in anticipation of real life beginning? To hell with putting Baby in a corner--you've got a lot of living to do! Good luck. I'm here if you need me.

--MELISSA KIRSCH
Read More Show Less

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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 24, 2007

    GREAT GIFT!

    Bought this for my neice who graduated college and moved to Chicago. She thanks me every time I see her. She told me it is indispensable for a girl like her starting out. I read through it before giving it to her and thought it was fun with great information.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 15, 2007

    A reviewer

    I read it in the bookstore this week and ended up reading the entire thing and learned so much in such a short time. I even went to the author blog. She really knows her stuff and gives good advice that you don't learn in school, in college, or even from your parents 'sorry mom'. Seriously, I recommend it. It covers everything from Finances, Style, Beauty, Relationships, Body Image, Health, and even Home Life. She even breaks down the family of Sallie Mae and how to deal with the other annoying family of common household pest. If you're in need for a good laugh and to be educated about how to live this life, you won't be disappoint.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 17, 2007

    Everything you need to know--money, sex, work, you name it.

    My parents gave me this book for college graduation. Unlike so many books for new grads, this one is actually fun to read 'wait until you read the etiquette chapter!!' and useful. I've literally consulted it on everything from what to make for dinner to what to wear on a first date. I highly recommend it!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 6, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 28, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

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