Straight from the ad pages of your favorite magazines, here’s your guide to being a girl in December. Take notes.
1. Stay cozy. Wear a baby.
If you play your cards right, your sensitive, goateed dad/boyfriend/professor will reward you with a pair of socks made out of his extra sweater sleeves.
2. Flaunt your complexity.
Show off all your many dimensions at once. When planning outfits for your holiday soirées, think: “I’m an heiress and an Italian professor at this upscale tropical funeral.”
3. Represent feminine softness in a hard masculine world.
All around you are skyscrapers made of bricks and iron and glass and ouchy things. They’re all pointy and hard. But not you. You’re a soft pink flower in a gentle haze of light. Everything around you is blooming, because you breathed springtime into winter. You’re a superfresh candypants sugarblossom.
4. If you’re truly hot, you won’t get cold.
You’re outside. It’s winter. There’s snow falling around you. But also? You don’t feel cold. Whatever you do, don’t hide your light under a bushel by putting a coat over your party outfit. Just drag it along behind you in the snow and use the oil on your legs to fuel warm thoughts. Tell yourself the sequins on your dress are tiny hot-plates. Imagine fire. Visualize volcanoes.
5. Sit like this while waiting for the valet at the end of a holiday party.
What? Oh. Yes, that’s my silver Ford Fiesta. Pull it ’round, will you, Jeeves?
6. If you insist on being serious, you must be 100% serious at all times.
Tired of all that frivolity? Here’s your alternative: If you are serious, you can’t have hair — so slick it back. Also, no makeup. Only a black smock, white handbag. No colors. No jewelry. Earrings are not serious. No smiling. Your expression should imply that you’re as serious as a heart attack. Now look what you’ve done. You’re so serious you’ve given everyone a heart attack. Ready to be jolly again?
7. Live every moment like a dream sequence.
In Cartier's "Winter Tale" ad series, kittens who live in the sky (leopards? panthers? I don't know, I get the wild cats all mixed up) sneak up on gift-wrapped jewelry items. It's cute because the cats are babies, but it's sad because if they're in the clouds, I guess they're dead? So, dead baby cats. But lots of diamonds. The point is, ladies, if you're a majestic angel-kitten, heavenly trinkets are yours for the stalking. So be a wild, sexy, dead, luxurious cat-baby.
8. Do a sports thing. That’s funny.
Topless, smirking handbag-boxing ladies with boy haircuts make a statement. Are you making a statement? Be bold. Have short hair and do something sportsy while also wearing your purse as a bra. This shit is crazy, and so are you.
9. Wear makeup, like a deviant.
You know what those fringy things are at the edges of your eyelids? Eyelashes. You know what it means if you put dark stuff on them? You’re a total perv. Slap some red on your lips too, and it means you’re the Lady Mayor of Kinktown, USA. Go ahead, wear a little foundation, you dirty, filthy, nasty thing, and when you show up to your office party wearing all this...this...cosmetic substance...on your face, we’ll know exactly what memo you’re sending. Tie me up, tie me 5% down like this quarter’s earnings, know what I mean?
10. Ignore the voice of reason.
Ahh, the warm, snuggly comfort of over-the-knee suede boots and a chunky cashmere turtleneck on a brisk winter day. But no pants. Never pants. This look is as adorable as it is impractical. And you want this impossible dream, don’t you? You do, because a world where you can wear the tall slouchy boots and the big fuzzy sweater and nary a stitch to cover your ass is a world where practicalities mean nothing and there are no limits. When you ignore the rules, you get what you want. Take only desserts from the buffet of life, girl. Leave the vegetables to the losers.
Pants are for suckers. Merry Christmas.
Originally published December 19, 2016
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Mary Laura Philpott is the author and illustrator of the humor book Penguins with People Problems. Also an essayist who writes for a variety of outlets, Mary Laura lives in Nashville, Tennessee, where she has two day-jobs: she's the editor of Musing, the online magazine from indie bookstore Parnassus Books, and the co-host of A Word on Words on Nashville Public Television. She blogs at I Miss You When I Blink, and you can find her on Twitter @marylauraph and on Facebook. If you need a little inspiration, check out @WildLifecoach on Instagram — her brand-new cartoon offering pep talks for people, from animals.