Kelly Williams Brown, the blogger and author of the newly released guidebook Adulting: How to Become a Grown-Up in 468 Easy(ish) Steps, along with her boyfriend and a male friend, recently penned a list of 10 things every man should know before he turns 21 for Esquire(eyeball it here). Here’s my response for all the freshly post-collegiate ladies.
1. Drink apple cider vinegar. I’m serious: Every night I drink a glass of water with a splash of this in it (weird, but make sure it has “The Mother” in it — that’s what makes it work) and it’s made my skin better, my digestion better, and overall improved my life. Also, you can use it as a toner!
2. Clean your room for no “good reason.” Sometimes, when no boy’s coming over to smoosh, your room or apartment is too small to have parties, or you’ve been really busy, your living space suddenly becomes the Cave of Forgotten Dreams and No Toilet Paper. Yes, you might be single — but you should still pick up your dirty underwear occasionally, for Pete’s sake. Just do it for me.
3. Use protection. Every time. Just do it, or else you’ll end up sending your best friend panicky iPhone pictures of your vagina and asking her if she “sees anything.” (P.S. Not that this happened to me or anything. P.P.S. It was nothing.)
4. Read one classic novel a month. And not a modern classic. I’m talking a Henry James/Edith Wharton/Jane Austen jawn. I know it’s way harder than whipping out that In Touch you stole from the doctor’s office, but just think of it as flossing your brain.
5. Acquire the ability to go out to restaurants alone. You’re a grown-ass woman, and you don’t need someone else to give you permission to eat something besides sad ramen while huddled in your bed watching Top Chef.
6. If you’re waiting for a dude to change, stop waiting. He won’t.
7. On the flip: Don’t go out with a guy just because you’re afraid you won’t be able to do better or you feel like you “should” only because he is interested in you. Life is too short to sit at a bar listening to a guy you give 0.00 craps about talk about his job at Citigroup.
8. Stick with one kind of drink every time you drink. All-beer, all-cocktails (preferably with the same liquor), or all-wine will severely lessen your awful hangover the following day. But if you do wake up with one, drink one or two full-fat Mexican Cokes. This is weird, but it works, I swear to god. Why? I don’t know. I’m not a woman of science.
9. Stop with the through-the-pants jobs. Nobody besides your cousin Eric’s bar mitzvah attendees and maybe Amish guys on Rumspringa wants them.
10. Don’t worry about the future. Dear lord, stop worrying. If there’s one major thing I could tell myself at 21, it would be to calm the hell down. Everything will be fine. And if it’s not, you’ll always have apple cider vinegar.