Life According to Sex and the Single Girl
When I took on the project of living my life according to Sex and the Single Girl, Helen Gurley Brown’s seminal book for women of the sixties, in order to write my book, Falling For Me, I agreed to feminize myself—to learn to cook, decorate, put myself together and essentially nurture those more womanly parts of myself that I’d long ignored. What I didn’t realize at the time is that I was also agreeing to, essentially, do a Hoarders episode on myself, sans camera and crew. But, it occurred to me long after it was too late for me to get out of the arrangement, that in order to create “an elegant apartment” with “unmistakable traces of grandeur around it”—the way Helen advised—the sea of suitcases mixed with cat hair mixed with a series of flower shaped pillows I’d once gotten in a gift bag, among other things, were going to have to go. The following is a list of items I was able to part with:
Books: Believe me, I didn’t want to hear it. I worship books. I write books! I grew up in a house with walls lined with bookshelves. I also had a bunch of crap books I had no intention of reading—that had been given to me by publicists or people who somehow incorrectly assumed I’d be interested in whatever it was. And I had even more books that I’d bought under my own mistaken assumption—often when I was shopping for the reader I imagined myself to be and not the reader I actually am. As time went on—I purged 200 books in all—I got even more vicious: if it was a book I’d read and liked but didn’t love and was fairly certain I’d never want to read again, into the stack it went.
The whole drawer full of cords: Like many of us, I’ve had a lot of phones and gadgets and recording devices and cameras. And—and I imagine I’m not alone here either—when the gadget or phone or recording device or camera has conked out on me or gone out of fashion or been lost, I’ve never once said to myself, “You know what I need to do? I need to go through that drawer I keep of random cords that are tangled together, figure out which belongs to this phone/gadget/recording device/camera and throw it away so I don’t get confused later when, in a panic, I frantically seek out the cord and plug I need, can’t find it, and burst into tears before running out to Best Buy to get the device again since, as it turns out, they don’t actually just sell the plug on its own.” The solution, as I saw it, was to start from scratch: I dumped all the contents of that drawer into the trash. And you know what? I’ve never once sought a cord since and not been able to find it. Fewer cords has meant fewer cord panics.
Gifts I never used and never will: Call me heartless—and some have—but the heart-shaped box my college roommate gave me that I’ve been holding onto for sentimental reasons didn’t have much of a place in my life when she originally gave it to me and had even less every year that passed. I was ruthless in this regard.
Paper shopping bags: What is this need so many of us have to hang onto those shopping bags? Sure, maybe I figured it was the one Missoni shopping bag I’d ever have but I already had whatever item it was I’d splurged on to get me the bag so who, exactly, did I think I was going to impress with the evidence of the purchase? Did I really need the now-empty gift bag from the movie premiere just to prove I’d attended a cool event? Why on earth did I have 30 freaking shopping bags? Was I potentially imagining a day when I’d bake two thousand cookies and need to distribute them, 10 cookies at a time, to all the residents of a small village? If I need a bag for a last-minute birthday gift, I decided, I was simply going to have to buy one.
Beauty products: I don’t know about you but when I’ve hung onto a sample handed to me by, say, an enthusiastic saleswoman at Sephora and I haven’t used it in a year, I’m never going to. And yet I optimistically clung to those, not to mention the half-used creams and lotions and perfumes I somehow imagined one day I’d be inspired to use until I went into my bathroom with a trash bag and dumped everything that wasn’t a part of my regular routine. Now, when I’m asked if I want the free sample, I smile and say, “No, thank you,” picturing my oh-so-organized bathroom as I do.
Follow us on twitter@thefastertimes
- 1 Amanda Bynes’s Behavior Revealed to Be Elaborate PSA
- 2 Obama Horrified by the Grammar in Our Emails
- 3 Monster Fart Prompting Management to Rethink “Open Office”
- 4 NSA Demanded Access To Un-Filtered Instagram Photos
- 5 Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson Ambushed By Alan ‘The Paper’ Rubinstein
- 6 ‘Licensed to Kim Jong Il’ Records 27th Straight Year Atop N. Korean Charts
- 7 ‘A/S/L’ Most Asked Question At Kaplan Online University Reunion
- 8 Vice Magazine Now Only Hiring Writers Who Fail Drug Test
- 9 Stanley Cup Final One Blowout Away From “Boston Massacre” Headline Outrage