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The Girl's Guide to Absolutely Everythingby Melissa Kirsch
Synopses & Reviews
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.
"Irreverant, funny and wise...like having a guru girlfriend who knows the answers to questions you never dared to ask....I laughed out loud." Rosalind Wiseman, author of Queen Bees and Wannabes
"Down to earth and incredibly informative, it's everything you wished your big sister or best friend had told you about navigating the real world." Jennifer Weiner, author of Good in Bed and The Guy Not Taken: Stories
"[This] well-designed book is pleasurable to read and encourages healthy, responsible behavior. Highly recommended..." Library Journal
A survival guide, advice column, how-to-live manual, best friend, and omnium gatherum of essential information, this resource covers everything from diet and exercise to understanding a Roth IRA and the ins and outs of Internet dating.
The book for every twenty-something single girl who looks around and says, Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in school anymore!
A survival guide, advice column, how-to-live manual, best friend, and omnium gatherum of essential information, WHAT’S A GIRL TO DO? covers everything from diet and exercise to understanding a Roth IRA to the ins and outs of internet dating. It is astonishingly complete, and written in a fresh, compelling voice with snap and irreverence that at the same time exudes authority, trustworthiness, and practical wisdom. Melissa Kirsch is a writer who’s spent four years writing and researching this 600-plus-page book, who’s consulted the experts, assembled a peer group of thirty wise women, and considered all the issues—and who can make you crack up while describing how to prepare for a job interview or discussing the pitfalls of pantyhose. She covers Health & Body, or Real Women Eat Meat, Get Pap Smears and Negotiate Ceasefires with Their Full-Length Mirrors; Etiquette; Money/Finance, from credit cards and credit reports to the rent-vs-buy debate; Career; Dating, Sex and Romance; the emotional intricacies of Friends and Family, which debunks the myth that you can’t fire your mother or that sibling rivalries never end; Living/Décor; even a pragmatic yet inspiring chapter on Spirituality & Self-Discovery, which argues (and gives solutions for) the importance of finding time for yourself, and deals with issues of integrity and emotional truth, therapy, faith, and positive self-love.
Taken together, here is a tour de force that’s elicited the same reaction from every older expert and mentor who’s read it—I wish I’d known this when I was in my twenties.
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.
About the Author
Melissa Kirsch, formerly a Senior Producer at Oxygen Media, where she wrote the "Ask Princess" column, has written for National Geographic Traveler, Ladies' Home Journal, Nerve, and Scientific American. A recipient of numerous writing awards and fellowships, she lives in New York City.
Table of Contents
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 Everyones 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 Thats 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 Youre“ 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 Theyre 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 • Whats a 401K and Who Could Ever Run That Far? • IRA: Hes Not Your Uncle but When He Gets Old, You Get Rich • Avoiding Debtors 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 • Youre Special, But on April 15, Were 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: Its 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 Donts 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 • Dont 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 Youre Sorry with Aplomb • Spread the Love: Balancing Friendship and Courtship • Being a Girls Girl vs. Being a BoysGirl • 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 (Its 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 Shouldnt Follow • The Womans Sexual Bill of Rights • The Orgasm, Revisited • Maybe Baby? Maybe Not • Didnt 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: Its 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 Doesnt Mean Youre 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 DIDNT 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 Doesnt 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 Dont 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: Its All About Balance • Designer Names for Less: A Cautionary Tale • Secondhand Rose, Firsthand Woes • What to Wear Everywhere • Accessorize, Dont 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 Wasnt There • How to Get a Haircut You Dont Hate • After a Fashion: Some Parting Words
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