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the catherine zinger guide on how to be a lady

Since I loved the Business Insider’s Guide to Being a Man, I thought I’d create my own guide on How to Be a Lady! Am also thinking of installing a hate-o-meter on my site for the stuff I write that is sure to raise the ire of many.

Let me preface this list (no, I am not qualifying!) by saying that this is my personal guide on how I go about life. If any of these points suit you, then by all means, pass them off as your own. If not, I’ll look forward to your hate-mail ;-)

  1. Just say “No”. Volunteer at school if you truly want to but if you don’t, then stop signing up for everything. Otherwise do not spend the rest of the school year complaining about it.
  2. Being inappropriate is entirely appropriate – with the right people in the right setting. Know the difference.
  3. Eschew perfection. It’s exhausting to yourself and others. Aim for “good enough.”
  4. Befriend a Southerner- Southerners will teach you how to be charming.
  5. Befriend a Yankee- Northerners will teach you how to get your point across.
  6. Do not let your little ones run around restaurants. Other people have paid good money for babysitters and would like to enjoy their meals in peace.
  7. The “era of casual” has become parasitic. It permeates our dress, our dialogue, our demeanor. Rebel against it and re-introduce formality into your life wherever you can.
  8. If you’re running a few errands or “just meeting a friend for coffee”, wear something– anything that is not yoga pants. Make the effort. You’ll be surprised at how much better you feel not wearing glorified pyjamas.
  9. Be as nice to your husband as you are to your children, no matter how tired you are. If you don’t, someone else surely will (and I guarantee she won’t be wearing yoga pants).
  10. This is not the eighties. Offer your hand like a lady – shake hands firmly but please don’t attempt to break mine. Or try the European double kiss.
  11. Try dry-shampoo—which has a come a long way over the past decade. It really isn’t necessary to wash your hair every day and it gives your hair extra body.
  12. Do “self time-outs”. Take the time to do something for yourself that has nothing to do with your kids or husband – even it means hiding in the closet for a twenty minutes with a good book or a fashion magazine.
  13. Go out with girlfriends whenever you can. They will save you from yourself.
  14. Don’t be neutral. Neutral is boring. Take a stance, even if only to play devil’s advocate. But never be adversarial—it’s negates any point you’re trying to make.
  15. If you’re having friends over, even if just for coffee, use your nice stuff to serve them. When else were you planning on using it?
  16. When you’re invited to someone’s house for the first time, find something nice to say about their home- even if it’s something as simple as, “What a fabulous door stopper!” Women put a lot of thought into their living space.image-4
  17. Teach your sons to be gentlemen. Make them wear collared shirts if you’re going out for a nice dinner. It’s respectful. Their entire world is casual. Show them there are exceptions.
  18. It is okay to lie in certain social situations. It’s called manners.
  19. Whether your overdressed or underdressed and no one else is dressed like you, don’t worry about it. Hold your head high and act like you belong. Confidence will get you through it.
  20. There is a big, wide, fat line between confidence and cockiness. The latter is gross.
  21. It’s just as sexy to order a cocktail as it is to order a demure glass of white wine. It’s even sexier to know your limit.
  22. A glass of wine and package of nuts or potato chips are a perfectly acceptable meal when you’re dining alone. Gummy bears make a nice dessert.
  23. It’s absolutely fine to flirt. Consider it the art of playful conversation. And it’s just as fun to flirt with other women as it is to flirt with men.
  24. Refrain from oversharing- admittedly difficult in this age of Facebook. At what point did it become okay to treat every single person we speak to as a therapist? And btw, Facebook is not a therapist.
  25. Do not self-deprecate. Do not self-deprecate. Do not self-deprecate.
  26. When complimented, just say “thank you”.
  27. Look for any opportunity to pay it forward. If the person behind you at the grocery store has a basket and you have a full cart, let them go ahead.
  28. Kindness, grace and compassion are never wasted. Even on dumbasses. That’s when grace is most needed.
  29. Forget the Hallmark Card psychology & Pinterest quotes about needing to “love yourself”. (Most days I can’t stand myself.) Focus instead on maintaining loving relationships. They will give you reason to smile. And that should be “good enough.”
  30. Take everything with a grain of salt and in moderation – like inspirational Pinterest shit (which I love) and lists such as this one  ;-)

  • Michelle Costin Bray

    Brilliant! And very useful advice!

  • Man in Milano

    Hot, wise, and fun – you might be the perfect woman!

  • Rebecca Havel Vyhnalek

    Great advice Cat! Additionally… Uggs are not shoes they are slippers! They are not fashionable and should never be worn with the intent to “complete” an outfit.

    • http://catherinezinger.com/ Catherine Zinger

      That sounds like something someone from my inner circle would say, someone who is one of my closest girls. Oh wait a minute….

  • Trina

    Well said! Xo

    • http://catherinezinger.com/ Catherine Zinger

      Thanks Tri. Still waiting for your self-complimenton on my Brag piece. I KNOW you can do this! XO, C.

  • Brandie U

    Absolutely love this!!! I especially love the the commentary on the overly casual nature of our culture. This is so valid and something I didn’t really notice until I lived in Britain. Another positive influence taken from their lovely yet quirky society! BTW, you will never get hate mail from me- I’m a devoted follower!!! <3

  • Lulu S

    Brilliant post!

  • Rosie Whitaker

    I love the Eschew Perfection, part, I will try and remember this especially on Christmas day! Sooo much pressure for it to be a perfect day for everyone.

    • http://catherinezinger.com/ Catherine Zinger

      Actually, Rosie, I heard the funniest thing the other day that made me laugh out loud – I think it might have been on the BBC. It was something like, “It was horribly contrived and utterly dysfunctional. You know, like Christmas dinner with family.”

  • Karen

    I love this, and I think with a few small changes it can also be titled “how to be a gentleman”! The world would be a better place if we all made the effort to respect those around us, and especially if we respected ourselves!

  • Esther/Fira

    Dear Katherine! I read your blog and your post admiring you greatly as always! Love you and wish you the best!

  • http://maternal-dementia.com/ MDTaz

    These are words to live by. Well said. And if I didn’t already want to meet you and hang out, now I *really* do.

  • Wil Nefkens (not Wil you know

    Catherine, loved your blog, but way too deep for me! Us old fogies don’t want to think when we are reading!

  • 50 something

    Brilliant. Of course, number 4 is my personal favourite.

  • Maile

    This guide is perfect…..as is your writing :)

  • EmKayAy

    Well Done Katinka! Loved all 30 points!