There is an unspoken rule in Western society that life begins to degrade rapidly after age 30. Why? Because all of the worse parts of life happen after then. Sagging skin, balding crowns, infertility, middle management. Mediocrity.
In the dating and love realm, the message is clear: You had better figure out life and marry someone by the time you reach 30, or else no one will want you. This rule is applied much more stringently to women than to men (much of this has to do with biology, of course). After all, no one wants to be seen with a cat-loving lonely middle-aged spinster. Older brides (like Meghan Markle) are judged harshly by public, but are judged nonetheless slightly better than single and childless people over 30. In many ways, it is much more socially acceptable to marry and divorce several times than it is to be single after a certain age.
I’m beginning to see a common thread between much of the language used in popular culture about relationships between men and women. There seems to be a great deal of game playing going on. For every tip about “game” written on Red Pill/manosphere forums, there might be double the amount of language made available for women in popular music, self-help books and other sources. One book stands out as the pinnacle dating bible for women: “The Rules: Time-tested Secrets for Capturing the Heart of Mr. Right,” by Ellen Fein and Sherrie Schneider,” was published more than 20 years ago. Full of manipulative dating tips, such as wait for him to call and pretend to be busy, the book continues to be read widely in spite of its very obvious flaws. Why is game playing so popular among dating gurus?
[This is a re-post of a previously-published article.]
I’ve always gotten nervous by the idea of eating in fine restaurants, and my fear of publicly embarrassing myself while dining out seems to grow as I get older. I wonder: Which fork should I use? What happens if I spill food on myself? Or worse, what happens if I mispronounce a word on the menu? Will everyone in the restaurant, waitstaff included, know that I am a phony who does not deserve to eat there?
My time away from Ladies Again has changed my views on everything
I apologize for my long absence from Ladies Again. This past year has been a whirlwind for me in a number of ways. In the past 12 months, I quit my job, started a new job training program, and traveled in Asia. I also began a self-healing journey, as corny and pretentious as that sounds. Much of my healing focused (or focuses?) on reducing my anxiety around relationships and dating. The creation of Ladies Again is a product of that anxiety, since the site was designed to be a repository of information about femininity and traditional relationships. Quick! I have to boost my femininity before I end up old and alone forever! I always prided myself as being an anti-feminist who hated today’s blase misandry, but the truth was I was deeply afraid of being used or manipulated by men.
It all started with the end of an unhealthy relationship, which forced me to recognize that I was repeating the same relationships over and over again. I signed up for therapy, which is when I confronted the fact that my father was not involved in my life, and that the fear of being a lonely single mother was guiding the decisions I made in my relationships. I also realized that I was preoccupied with relationships and love, and this is evident in the number of relationship-related articles published on Ladies Again. Dating gave me a lot of anxiety. I spent much of the past year working on that anxiety. Now, I see dating anxiety in others everywhere. I would bet that many popular dating columnists and pick-up artists have this kind of relationship anxiety and preoccupation with dating as well. MGTOW, for instance, may be a way of trying to manage dating anxiety by dropping out of the sex market altogether. After therapy, I realized an irony that was so intense that it smacked me in the face: I was so afraid of ending up alone that I was attracted to the men most likely to abandon me.
I had to admit the truth. I have always been honest and open in my friendships with other women, but I resorted to playing games with men. Without seeing positive relationship role models in my own home or family, I followed much of the foolish dating advice given in pop culture by armchair experts like pick-up artists, talk show hosts, and advice columnists, among others. Sometimes, there are quality articles from professional psychologists (like this one), but most of it is garbage. Play hard to get. Wait for three months to have sex. Return his calls late. Don’t talk about your ex. Never depend on a man. Make him pay for everything. Let him take the lead in all decisions. Much of this advice is outdated, illogical, and makes dating more complicated than it needs to be. At best, modern dating advice works well only for people looking for casual sex. At worse, dating advice teaches people to be dishonest. In the long run, you lose by following mainstream dating advice. Who wants to be in a relationship with a man or woman who does not answer their phone calls, doesn’t open up about their past, and allows the other person to dictate all relationship decisions? A person who is clearly not interested in establishing a healthy and open relationship.
My new dating mantra is “it depends.” It all just depends! The only thing you can do is go with your gut–if a person is giving you anxiety or making you feel insecure, it’s not a good fit. It is impossible to apply firm rules to a dating world that has been affected by the forces of industrialization, urbanism, feminism, misandry and secularism. Firm rules work only for individuals confined to their own religious or political communities, like Mormons for instance.
So, I stopped stressing out about relationships and dating. I decided instead to spend much of my free time with my friends and family. I learned to dance in the past year, something I never thought I would do. I finally had the time to volunteer and read fiction books. I also threw my dating rules out of the window. It doesn’t make sense to pretend to be something you’re not just to hook someone in. Finally, I stopped putting marriage and children on a pedestal. I am just starting to realize that a person’s contribution to the world does not have to be based on their ability to marry and have children. Snooki and Kanye West have children, and that doesn’t make them healthier than a random childless person. It’s probably for the best, for example, if sociopaths, addicts and narcissists decide to skip marriage and children altogether.
Ultimately, it all depends! Oh, how freeing it is to admit that truth. I will continue to write for Ladies Again, but the focus of my writing will now include details on my own self-healing journey. I will write about my efforts to be more open, honest and caring. Stay tuned!
Many of the articles on Ladies Again follow our theme on better ways to increase femininity through self-improvement. Today, however, I would like to try something different. Instead of writing about the better ways to clean or how volunteering can increase our sense of caring and femininity, I’d like today’s article to focus on one aspect of femininity that cannot be underestimated: integrity.
The dictionary Merriam-Webster defines integrity as a firm adherence to a code of moral or artistic values. You know a person with integrity when you see them. These are the people who are honest, trustworthy and down-to-earth. They are not afraid to be assertive about their values and morals during times when others either oppose them or put pressure on them to conform. Individuals with integrity understand right from wrong, and stick to their principles.
When it comes to women, individuals with integrity are respected and trusted by their peers. These women handle themselves with grace and confidence. They will admit when they do not know the answer to a question, and they will accept responsibility when they make a mistake. Can integrity be taught? It’s possible that it is taught from the family or from religion. The jury is still out if it can be taught in schools.
The subject of integrity is especially relevant today given the role it played in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Voters in rural and urban communities alike found themselves debating the trustworthiness of presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. The election was full of enough ethical conundrums to puzzle spectators for years: During the campaign season, Clinton faced an ethics probe over her emails, while Trump faced a lawsuit over his troubled Trump University.
The question many people asked themselves was “Who is more likely to be lying to me? Who is more likely to be telling the truth?” One woman interviewed in a New York Times article accurately summarized many of the sentiments held by voters last year:
I really wanted to have a female president. I think that’s important. But I’m not sure that’s her…I voted for Obama the last time. I don’t agree with a lot of what he said, but I felt he was honest.
Integrity is key to caring for and respecting others, and it is a quality that is key to femininity. Interestingly enough, it is also key to masculinity as well, after all, men who adhere to an ethical code are respected and appreciated.
How much do you volunteer each year? Would you say 10-20 days a week? If you do not volunteer regularly, consider becoming a volunteer and using your time to help others in need. I currently volunteer at a hospital so that you I can learn more about working in the medical field. There are thousands of way ways to volunteer: You could work in a hospital, build houses, pack meals or help a child learn to love reading. Why? First, it feels great to help other people. By volunteering your time, you are increasing your ability to care for other people, which will make you more feminine. After all, compassion is one of the hallmarks of femininity. In addition to the impact that volunteering has on your ability to empathize with others, volunteering also offers a number of unexpected benefits.
Thinking of Others
Volunteering will help you to think about the needs of other people in your community. Though you may be successful or live comfortably, many people in your very same community are facing serious challenges and need assistance. Perhaps, for example, you do not visit your local library that often, but that library makes a big difference for veterans trying to find jobs or local foster teens who need quiet spaces to do their homework. Volunteering helps to remind you that you are sometimes greater than you think: Your few hours of volunteer service may make the difference for a family struggling to feed their children or a homeless person trying to get back on his feet. You can also learn more about your community through volunteering.
Volunteering teaches you to be grateful for the opportunities you currently have. As a lady, you have to carry yourself with grace and humility, and one of the best ways to appreciate the life you have is to meet others who are in need of help. Volunteering gives you a perspective that you may not get at your job or hanging out with your friends.
Connecting with other Thoughtful People
Volunteering is a great way to expand your social network! Consider that by volunteering in a tutoring program or in an environmental cleanup project you are meeting others in your area who are also interested in the same activities. Maybe you might connect with environmentalists on a volunteer project that you would not have met otherwise. Many people have met friends and partners from volunteer projects.
I always think that volunteering is one of the best ways to get hands-on experience in a new field or activity. Unlike formal internships, volunteering opportunities give you unfiltered and unstructured access to new career fields. By volunteering on a home building project, for example, you have the chance to learn directly what it is like to work as a construction worker, if that’s a career you are interested in. Similarly, a person thinking about becoming a nurse can learn about all facets of working in a medical setting by volunteering in a hospital.
Will you host a party this summer? Back in the day, it was expected that women would host elegant parties to bring together friends and acquaintances from their various social circles. Middle- and upper-class women would compete to see who could host the most popular parties. Today, many women (and men) have issues finding time to host house parties, so home events are far less common than they used to be. But it doesn’t have to be that way. If you have time to read this blog post, then you have time to spare to plan a party for your social circle.
If you have never hosted a party before, start with as easy project, such as hosting a barbeque or beach bonfire. Outdoor events are much easier because you do not have to worry about securing color-decorated table settings or fine silverware. Another easy option would be to host a game night or potluck in your home. You can use recyclable dinnerware and serve food on one central table.
If you want to host an event of medium difficulty, consider hosting a brunch, creative event (i.e., painting night) or dance party in your home. With the brunch, you will have to round up dishes and seating options for your guests. As for the creative events, you will need to prepare for the party by purchasing the craft materials (check Pinterest for ideas). For the dance party, you will need to secure a DJ or a band, plus you will need to make sure that your neighbors are okay with the loud music. Prepare to spend a great deal of time cleaning up after your dance party ends (trust me).
If you are interested in hosting a high-level (top-shelf!) difficult event, consider hosting a dinner party in your home. I classify dinner parties as the hardest events to host because of the amount of pressure on the host to create a seamless and elegant event. With the dinner party, you will need to select a set of stylish table settings, cook excellent meal course options, and secure wine and other beverages. For this event, you will need to also check if your guests have food allergies or limitations.
Here’s a few tips to hosting a party that will be the talk of the town:
Don’t just select a date in your calendar and begin planning your party on that day. You must first ask friends in your social circle if they are interested in your party idea. Do they want to go to a Pinterest-inspired painting night in your home, or are they more excited about a summer beach bonfire? Once you decide the kind of party you will have, you must also think about when your closest friends are available for an event. You want to make sure that you select a date far in advance, usually one to two months early. After all, you do not want people to skip your event because they already made plans.
Prepare for Your Party with a List
After you select a date, begin to think about the theme for your party. Will all of the cups have one central color or pattern? Select a theme, then walk through every step of your party to determine what you need to buy or cook. When a person walks into your home, should they get a name tag? Then purchase name tags and markers for the party. When they come your bonfire, should they receive a flower lei necklace? Think about every item you will need, including paper towels and band-aids.
Get a Core Group of Friends to Help–Thereby Ensuring that they Come
Once you start planning your party, choose a few select tasks that your closest friends can help you with. I say this tip so that you can ensure that a few select people are certain to attend your event, after all, they have a responsibility to help in some way with the event! You may also benefit from their help. Have one friend bring a few bottles of white wines, and have another friend bring the plastic forks and knives. Ask one friend to take photos throughout the event. One friend can bring the pinata, if necessary.
On the day of your party, eat as much as you can before the party so that you can prepare for all of the running around you’ll do during the party. Trust me, you will not have time to eat a full meal during the party. You’ll be too busy socializing, which is a good thing!
Have Fun and Make the Rounds
Make sure to talk to everyone at your party. Introduce your acquaintances to your friends and vice versa. You never know when new connections will be made at your party.
Do you have any party hosting tips? Share them below on online using the hashtag #ladiesagain
On Ladies Again, we write about better ways to take care of yourself because we realize that self-care is important to femininity. It is for this reason that we write about our own journeys with weight loss and finding makeup and self-care routines that work effectively. Below, I’m sharing my own personal journey through one aspect of self-care.
For years, I struggled with an obsession that I hid in secret. I would think about it every day, like when I showered, when I was at work, when I was in the library, when I watched television and when I read magazines. I would think about it especially when I noticed my reflection in mirrors and building windows. My obsession was my skin, which was plagued with large cystic acne.
For years, I coasted through high school and college with little to no acne. I had a few small forehead bumps occasionally, but I never had substantial pimples or breakouts on my face. My skin was so clear and smooth that I sometimes received compliments from others about the quality of my skin. All of this ended after I graduated from college and decided to stop taking hormonal birth control. Suddenly and without warning, I started getting large red blotches on my face and massive cystic pimples under the surface of my skin. Shortly after the pimples subsided, dark-colored and deep-pitted acne scars started to form on my face. My beautiful clear skin became rough, blotchy and pitted. I started to have serious anxiety about my skin. My friends and family started to notice the acne breakout happening on my face. Like it or not, your physical appearance is the first impression you make to the world, and I was cognizant of this fact more than ever before. I felt helpless and I was confused about what was going on with my skin, and I felt ashamed and embarrassed.
Makeup did not work to cover it up, and neither did over-the-counter acne facial washes and acne creams. Products that were supposed to help the acne ended up drying out my skin, which encouraged my skin to produce more oil. With the additional oil production, I ended up using more drying creams, and the cycle continued. I also spent a great deal of money on pricey dermatologists. One sinister (and highly-respected) dermatologist convinced me to take powerful antibiotics for months to keep the acne at bay. Doing so led me to have serious gastrointestinal issues as a result. Nothing worked.
Collectively, I spent hours researching acne treatments online and in libraries. I tried one quack acne method after another. I gave up peanut oil and I applied ice packs to my face every day. At one point, at my craziest point, I was sleeping every night with a few cold green teabags on my face. Crazy and desperate, right?
One day, by sheer luck, I stumbled upon a book that described the role diet plays in supporting overall health. The book, Clear Skin Weekend, specifically detailed the way that processed sugar in particular increases the production of hormones that create oil. Bacteria is attracted to excess oil, so skin infections (acne) happen when bacteria invade the oily pores. People with acne-prone skin have unique skin that is prone to trapping oil, which is why they must take additional steps to minimize the oil and subsequent harmful bacteria on their skin.
Clear Skin Weekend changed my life! The book made it is easy for me to understand the connection between diet and skin care, and gave me simple steps to take to improve my skin and overall health on a regular basis. I learned about all of the different ways that acne-prone skin is unique. Usually acne is caused by a hormonal imbalance paired with acne-prone skin. But sometimes, acne can be caused by a fungal infection or a reaction or allergy to a product.
The book also helped me to realize that sometimes conventional wisdom is wrong. For years, the medical profession has said that there is no link between diet and acne, but new research is showing that they are wrong. I now realize that the birth control impacted my hormones levels in a drastic way, which was altered when I stopped taking the birth control. Then, my hormone levels continued to spiral out of control when I began eating a diet high in refined sugars and low in fiber. Clear Skin Weekend gave me a list of steps to take to change my diet for the better and get my skin back to normal. Not only did my skin improve, but my overall health changed. I had more energy and I lost weight.
The book also discussed ways to improve the skin through select products. I learned that products, like skin exfoliants, that work for many people may be abrasive for individuals with acne-prone skin. Acne-prone skin is unique in that it needs to be exfoliated more often than other skin types to stay acne-free, but the methods and products used to exfoliate the skin must be gentle in nature. So, think gentle enzyme exfoliants, not abrasive sea salt exfoliants. The book also detailed hair and skin care products that are harmful to the skin.
If you struggle with acne, consider reading the ground-breaking guidebook Clear Skin Weekend. It’s worth the investment if it will change your overall physical health and improve your self-esteem.
What are your experiences with acne and skin care? Talk about your experiences reading Clear Skin Weekend using the hashtag #ladiesagain.
Have you ever been in a disorganized, cluttered and filthy home? You know, one that is filled with stacks of papers, crowded kitchen sinks, overflowing trash cans and grimy toilet seats? I, unfortunately, have experienced the horror of being inside filthy homes before. These of the homes of my colleagues, classmates and family members. I’ve been in homes so messy that I was not sure where to step or sit down, for fear of sitting on an item or stepping on clutter. The clutter is not just limited to the home: A messy person is messy everywhere. I’ve also had the unfortunate luck of being inside of someone’s cluttered car or messy work office.
There could be a variety of reasons that explain why a person a person could have a cluttered home. It could be that messiness is in some way related to a lack of conscientiousness, or a lack of inattentiveness to detail (messiness is common among people with Attention Deficit Disorder). Or, the person could just be busy and does not make cleaning a priority for some reason. It’s also possible that a cluttered person may have hoarding tendencies and feel an unhealthy attachment to material items. Or maybe, some messy people just feel more comfortable living in cluttered environments, similar to pigs in a muddy pigsty. I once had a roommate who, when the subject of cleanliness came up, said that she preferred her house to look “lived in,” and that too much cleanliness was overbearing. Yuck.
Cleanliness is a subject of utmost importance to feminine ladies. A clean home is a welcoming home. You should feel pride in being a responsible person who keeps their home clean and organized. Hold yourself to high standards because it is up to you to make cleaning a priority. Neglect is not sexy nor is it healthy. Additionally, a messy home communicates instability of some sort. And think about how productive you could be if you maintained a clean and organized home! I have always believed that messiness, in general, is bad, but I think it is unforgivable if a messy home belongs to a woman. I have just always imagined that our kind and compassionate nature would naturally lend itself to help us keep our homes clean. But, alas, some women struggle with cleanliness more than others.
Perhaps cleanliness is a challenge for you. You may want to keep your home cleaner, but you just do not have the time. Below, we offer a few easy ways to keep your home clean.
Get to the Problem First
If your home is frequently cluttered or unorganized, what is causing the clutter? Are you too busy? Or, if you are honest with yourself, do you dislike cleaning? Do you live alone and lack pressure to keep your house clean until guests come over? Are you unorganized in all aspects of your life? Are you busier than you should be? Take some time this week to think about what is causing the clutter in your life. Think about specific examples to get to the source of the issue. Think about your bathroom, for example. Do you empty the trash every on a schedule, or do you just dump the wastebasket when the trash overflows? If it is the latter, what is stopping you from cleaning the bathroom regularly? You need to get to the root of the problem before you can solve it.
Make a Schedule
If you wait until your home needs to be cleaned to get your home in order, it will never look clean. You should not wait until your trash piles up or there is mold growing on the shower tiles before you decide to put your gloves on and do some cleaning. You should set aside at least an hour every week to clean your home. You may need to set aside more time than that depending on the size of the home. Pick a day in the week to schedule a time clean your home, which includes doing a deep cleaning of your kitchen sink, dumping the trash, disinfecting the kitchen counters, mopping/vacuuming the floor, scrubbing the tub, washing your bathroom sink and cleaning the toilet. Set aside an additional 20 minutes to file and sort any paperwork or tools that are lying around your home.
Have a System
Do you mentally have a system for how you like to clean your home? Create a cleaning methodology. Decide, for example, that you want to prefer to clean your kitchen before you clean your bedroom and bathroom. Then, move on to cleaning your car or closets, if that is a part of your system. Make a habit to keep a certain amount of bleach and other cleaning products in your bathroom and kitchen. Create a system that works just for you.
Figure out how to make cleaning more enjoyable. When you figure out how to make it a fun activity, you’ll be more inclined to do it regularly. I love cleaning because it is the one time every week when I have downtime to myself. I can de-stress from the week’s activities when I’m mopping or cleaning my refrigerator. I also like to listen to music on full blast when I’m cleaning. I might even dance a little when I’m cleaning. Some people may listen to a television show or film while they clean. Find a way to make cleaning fun!
What’s your cleaning technique? And do you have any horror stories from visiting other people’s homes? Share in the comments below!
How do you show love and care to others on a regular basis? In what ways do you like to show your spouse that you care about them? How do you care for your family and friends? And if you have them, how do you show love to your children?
One of the hallmarks of being a lady is being empathetic to the needs of others. Feminine women know how to show others that they care about them, and that they are understanding and attune to the needs of others. The difference between feminine women and masculine women is in the effort made to think about how to care and support people other than themselves. They know how to listen carefully to loved ones to find ways that they can support them better. Perhaps that includes bringing soup to a friend feeling sick, baking muffins for a neighbor, or offering to drive a relative to a job interview. It might even include occasionally sending a friend a card or hand-written note to show them that you care. Feminine women are masters at recognizing ways to help others around them.
As I continue on my journey to to improve my sense of femininity, I am always looking for ways to improve myself every day. It sounds crazy, but one of the best ways to improve compassion for others is to start small and get a houseplant. I know, you’re probably thinking, how is a nonverbal, static houseplant going to help me improve my compassion for others? Plants are great way to train yourself to think about other entities on a regular basis for several reasons. First, having a plant improves your sensitivity to the needs of others. The only way to keep the plant thriving and healthy is to pay careful attention to its needs. Does your plant need new soil? Is the plant dry and limp? Does it need sunlight? As a plant owner, you will need to think carefully about what the plant needs to stay alive. Depending on the plant, some houseplants require more care than others―think orchids, not peace lilies―so you can actually train yourself to be more caring by purchasing very delicate plants.
Second, plants require regular and consistent care, and having one in your home reminds you that the world does not revolve around you all the time. Other people have needs too, and having a plant teaches you to think about things other than yourself and your needs. Much in the same way that plant owners must remind themselves to water and re-pot their plants, feminine women also might remind themselves to call a distance relative to check up on them, or to make plans to visit a long-distance friend.
If you are interested in learning how to improve your sense of femininity, start small by getting one plant, and build up to buying 10-12 plants for your home. Your home will look better as a result of your efforts. If you have enough space in your home, consider upping the ante and starting a small garden. At one point a few years ago, I had a small vegetable garden on my balcony that brought me so much joy! I could not wait to get home from work to check on my tomatoes and zucchinis. At the same time that I had my balcony garden, I spent a lot of time caring for my partner and friends, and I attribute some of that caring to my garden. If there was a barometer for care and kindness to others, my levels were off the chart that summer thanks to my garden!
How do you show love and care through plants? Take a photo of your plant and share it using the hashtag #ladiesagain.