(A response to Molly Templeton’s call for How-To pieces by women. Read more about her NYT Book Review-inspired project here)
Since moving to New York, I have learned just what kind of idiot all those day-to-night magazine articles are written for. I’m not even that busy or important and yet I am regularly out of the house for what feels like an eternity. The glossies of the world usually recommend smart separates or extra jewelry that will allow you to transfo-orm your look! but I’ve found that, in my experience, there are far more pressing issues that need to be addressed over the course of the 16-hour day. Like, say, mental stability and underarm conditioning. With my 16-hour day warrior anniversary fast approaching, I thought it would be fitting to share some of what I have learned over the past year. Behold, this girl’s guide to winning at the 16-hour day.
A bigger bag Between your change of shoes, breath-freshening devices and protein-rich snacks, you’re going to be hauling around a lot of shit. Upgrade your purse.
Gym membership This is not about how those pants make your ass look (although, conveniently, carrying your 16-hour day purse will contribute to a sculpted, if somewhat uneven, upper body!). Beyond creeping dudes in shorts, gyms are also excellent places to clock a catnap. For that awkward forty minutes between the end of your regular work day and your drink date with that bearded musician from OkCupid, the gym lounge really is where it’s at. Lockers aren’t just for stinky running shoes anymore - store ear plugs to ensure undisturbed slumber.
Your bitch face You deserve that seat on the subway. That German couple really has no right to stand in the middle of the sidewalk. You have spent years perfecting your coffee order - don’t let that flop-haired barista make you feel badly about it. But remember, the bitch face is about survival. You’re still allowed to (occasionally) have nice thoughts about those other idiots close to your body.
Starbucks napkins The urban environment’s native blotting papers. Keep a reserve.
Tweezers Take advantage of the painfully fluorescent lighting in public bathrooms and get rid of those pesky and otherwise invisible chin hairs. This is also a good moment to cry/regroup emotionally.
Some brain food You’re going to need some thoughtful podcasts or smart-looking magazines to help you feel like all those hours on the subway aren’t all for naught. Alternatively, they provide an excellent excuse to not engage in social interactions with other humans in public spaces. Bank a lil’ you time.
Baby powder The 16-hour day’s Most Valuable Possession, it’s kryptonite to unwanted moisture and stink. Subway making you sweaty? Shower not in the schedule for today? Freshen up at halftime.
And so, dear 16-hour day warriors of the world, go forth bravely. You are welcome.