1) Do Not Pluck Your Eyebrows - This is key! If you haven't started yet then I am able to stop you progressing down a very bumpy road. If, like me, you didn't know it would open a world of hurt and have blithely spent years ripping errant hairs out with gay abandon then I implore you to stop immediately! Let them grow, rock that monobrow like a long lost Gallagher brother. If you must do something, get them threaded by a professional. They won't leave you with one perfectly groomed eyebrow and one untouched by tweezers because the pain was so bad and your eyes were watering so much you couldn't continue. Yes, I know you should alternate but no-one ever does. Yes, I know you should pluck each hair singularly, but come on, the satisfaction of ripping out 4 or 5 of the buggers at once is blissful.You focus on one brow, plucking and brushing until you have one perfect Dietrich arch and the other looks like it belongs to Oscar the Grouch. You pluck above the brow regardless of the warnings but always a bit too much, leaving you with a permanent look of surprise. The only way to achieve a perfect arch truly is through botox and that is a poison. So no! Shamefully you cave and reach for the Lady Bic as it will hurt less but a razor near the eye causes the shakes and pretty soon the other brow resembles Vanilla Ice. So just stop now and accept it for a lost cause. Like Pringles, once you start you can not stop. Besides Vogue says brushy eyebrows are in this year so it's a fashion statement.
2) Alcohol + Home Kit Hair Dye = Disaster - Yes, this one is fairly straightforward and shouldn't need to be written down but surely I am not alone in doing it. If you can drive a car after a glass of Pinot Grigio, L'Oreal Excellence should be a breeze. Errrr, no. You WILL dye your ears, neck, forehead and parting and be forced to spend at least a week rocking the Harry Styles look and having to explain to those around you that you are, in fact, a twat. As I am currently sporting pink sideburns after half a bottle of Chardonnay it is obvious I do not take my own advice but Reader, learn from me and do not become another statistic.
3) Yellow - Yellow, such a joyous colour. Think summer, picnics, festivals and sunshine. Mr Kipling yellow Fondant Fancies are lovely, as is butter. Yellow things in general are yummy. Yellow however is impossible to pull off. I know you think you can beat the curse but you can't. Wearing all over yellow will ensure you look like a corn on the cob so you have to break it up with black and this will make you look like a giant bumble bee. Pale yellow will wash you out and bright yellow will reflect on your face and make you look jaundiced. And don't even think about yellow shoes with an all black ensemble, can you say "Special Bus"? Yellow nail polish = fungal infection, yellow tights = Big Bird. Do you catch my drift? Even Coldplay's "Yellow" is depressing. Be like Zamo, just say no!
4) Blind Dates aka Set Ups - We all love our friends, those special people in our lives who know us better than anyone and who love us unconditionally. You heed their advice with an open mind because they care about you and want you to be happy. This is good. When they tell you they know this guy who would be perfect for you, run as fast as you can in the opposite direction. They mean well, but IT. NEVER. WORKS. We all have friends who swear that they know a friend of a friend who is in this amazing relationship which began with a blind date, this is an urban myth of epic proportions, up there with the Loch Ness Monster and winning scratchcards. You will be subjected to hours beforehand hearing about how great he is, his interests and hobbies, how he climbed Kilimanjaro last year for charity, how he's never met the right woman. Tortured into agreeing just to stop this madness you go for a drink - Always make it a drink. Dinner means you have to stay for at least an hour *¹ without looking like a complete bitch and having to suffer the disdain of your mutual friend forever after you decide to climb out of the bathroom window after the starter. What's one little drink? Where's the harm? He will be a freak. I say this nicely, but it's true. There are more women out there than men, so the law of averages implies that any decent, normal man should be beating off single women with a stick. If he isn't and has resorted to the set up, he will be a freak. Please note: This is just about set ups/blind dates, dating web sites are okay. Yes, he will have lied on his profile, but so did you. Going to one Zumba class two years ago does not mean you can tick "Sporty" in the hobbies section. Set Ups = Fifty Shades of wrong
*¹ The only dinner option that will be less than an hour is McDonalds/KFC. So he is a cheap freak and you need new friends.
5) Friends With Benefits - Not the Justin Timberlake/Mila Kunis film which was surprisingly funny but sleeping with your male friends. There are no benefits at all, this is merely a ploy instigated by some sick bastard to get into your M&S boyshorts. Women in general can't disconnect emotions from sex so in theory, sleeping with a friend makes perfect sense. If he's a mate, it stands to reason that you like each other and there will none of those awkward first night jitters because you're already comfortable together. Let me ask you this, do you ever think about any of your friends naked? If you're in a changing room and one of your girl friends comes in, do you automatically lunge for something to cover yourself with? Yep, we all do, so imagine that feeling of embarrassment multiplied tenfold and picture your male friends sporting wood. As friends, you'll know each others war stories so you know exactly where he's been and what he's been doing. Odds are, you've heard all about the crazy women he's dated and all of the bad sex he's had and now you're willingly considering adding yourself to the list. And he knows your stories too so right there at the crucial moment you'll be subjected to the Best Of clip compilation that will run through your head of all the mingers and bimbos he's been with before you and he will be watching the equivalent. At that point you have no option but to carry on, naked is not the time to cry wolf without losing the friendship forever. The sex will be average and then you'll have that awful 20 minutes afterwards where you both want to hide in the bathroom and pretend it never happened. There is no going back. If you don't hook up again, you'll both think it was because the other thought their performance was rubbish and if you do, you'll always be thinking it's only because you're friends and that he doesn't want you to feel like a one night stand. Friends with Benefits is a game changer *², like the eyebrows, it's best you don't start on this road. Best to imagine that all of your male friends are like Action Man and smooth down there.
*² I should point out that I know 2 couples who have successfully navigated these murky waters and are still smitten kittens at 3 years and 10 years respectively. It can work out beautifully. I also know of about 30 others who now have one less Christmas present to buy each year as a result of one too many so you roll the dice and take your chances.
And so ends part one of what I sense could become an opus. Like I said, these are only my thoughts and are not set in stone. Well they are really because I am always right... :)