Thursday, October 15, 2009

Skills Every Woman Should Master

In May 2008 Tom Chiarella published an article in Esquire listing the “75 Skills Every Man Should Master”.

By the way, my personal favorites are numbers 22 & 73.

I took a crack at my own list of skills every woman should master. I’ve been working on it for some time and have a tentative list of 75 but would be interested in your comments and suggestions. Here are my first 31. Please feel free to add to the list.

1. Train a dog

You don’t have to own a dog or even like animals. To train a dog you need patience, persistence, a clear instruction and positive reinforcement. Incidentally, this skill works with people too.

2. Conduct a meeting

I don’t care if it’s a senate meeting, board meeting, community meeting or family meeting. You need to know how to get a group’s attention, identify a goal and get them moving in the right direction.

3. Talk to a child

Not baby talk. Talk to a child like the remarkable, near perfect, little human being that they are.

4. Listen to an elder

If you listen closely you will get inspiration for the kind of experiences you want to accumulate.

5. Say No gracefully

Don’t argue; don’t whine; don’t launch into a mini series of excuses - just “thanks but no thanks”.

6. Say No with force when necessary

Stand up and move forward. No means no. If you’re 17 and it involves a boy getting too fresh slap his sorry face. He will appreciate it when he has daughters of his own.

7. Read a map

Speaking as someone with the world’s worst sense of direction a GPS and car compass will only take you so far and sometimes will fail you completely.

8. Add panache to a picnic

It doesn’t take much – add some votive candles, a nice blanket for the beach, linen napkins, or a bottle of bubbles. It’s not always about the food.

9. Write a letter

Whether you put your own words together or go in search of the perfect quote you should be able to construct a note of congratulations, thanks, sympathy and celebration in writing.

10. Style your own hair

Look, there’s nothing like having a good stylist in your corner but you need to take the reins between appointments.

11. Kiss

If you are going to share this perfect expression of intimacy with someone put some thought and heart into it. Think Kevin Costner’s Crash Davis in Bull Durham “…I believe in long, slow, deep, soft, wet kisses that last three days.” For further inspiration check out the last scene of Cinema Paradiso on YouTube.

12. Kill a bug

I don’t know of many bugs that can throw and pin a human being. Step on the thing and get on with it.

13. Complete a simple yoga routine

Soft music, deep breathes and gentle stretches – what’s not to love?

14. – 19. Know when to:

Throw out food (somewhere between my mother’s 3-day rule and my own when-it-can-walk-out-on-its-own rule)

End a relationship (somewhere between an hour into the first date and 10 years, 8 months, 1 week and 1 day into the last date)

Leave a job (going to lunch on the first day and not coming back might be just a tad premature)

Repair a friendship (there’s a reason some people never make it to your future)

Replace your car (when the amortized repair bills exceed the monthly payment on a Lexus it might be time to pull the trigger)

Let go of loss, guilt or resentment (no time like the present)

20. Dress appropriately

Wedding, funeral, interview – unless they are taking place on the beach the flip flops are probably not appropriate.

21. Ask for what you want

Ask – don’t demand, mandate, intimidate or manipulate.

22. Control your temper

This isn’t about being lady-like. Pick your battles so that when you do let it rip it’s worth something.

23. Pack for a week in a single bag

I hear this is important but it ain’t happening. I use a single bag for just shoes.

24. Create a budget and work it

This has so many benefits I don’t know where to begin. It sharpens your analytical skills, strengthens your self control, focuses on what is truly important and puts you on the path to fiscal security. I’m all about having options and this will help you get there. Apply to your professional and personal life.

25. Accept an apology

As in accept it and move on. No fair banking the offense to use later.

26. Give an apology

Admit what you did; say you’re sorry only if you truly are; and tell them what you learned or what you are going to do to fix it.

27. Rock a baby to sleep

Even better than yoga.

28. Flirt

Generally subtly is lost on men. This may be the only instance where less is more. Leave the giddy girly laughs behind and flirt like an adult – lower the voice, tuck the chin and lift the eyes – a direct gaze and a small smile.

29. Discourage a suitor and leave him his dignity

Give the guy credit for good taste if he approaches you. We don’t fully appreciate how much courage this takes. Pointing and laughing with your girlfriends is not nice.

30. Intimate communication before the “big event”

Some of my male friends say that this skill is their personal favorite. These guys want to please their ladies and are completely baffled by the fact that the same routine doesn’t score a homerun every time (because, you see, in their case our same moves do score a homerun every time). Women are complex, moods and circumstances change, and what worked last week isn’t going to cut it this week. So, ladies, think clear instruction and positive reinforcement, remember that you chose this guy and give him the courtesy of at least a hint of what you like – he will move heaven and earth to do it for you.

31. Intimate communication after the “big event”

This one if far easier - let the guy rest. If you’ve honed your skill in number 30 he’s earned it. And, whatever you do, do not ask what he is thinking or feeling. All the blood has left his brain. He’s not thinking or feeling anything.