11 Life Skills You No Longer Need to Learn
Finding All the 34Bs on the Rack
Once upon a time, you bought a bra, and it fit, and you memorized the size, and that was that. No longer, gentle shoppers. Now you have to contend not only with an ever-changing body but also with, ahem, inflated “vanity sizes” that are meant to flatter, but instead confound
. So skip the tag checks, and go straight to the no-nonsense lady with the tape measure. You don’t even need to know what size she brings you. You just need to know it fits, and that it will make your every day (and T-shirt) that much more comfortable.
Changing the Toner
Word of warning: Learn the simple fix for the piece of office machinery that is always breaking—the copier, the fax machine, the coffee maker with the pod thingies—and you will never again complete a task at work without being interrupted with a repair request. Keep your head down, and your fingers busy and wait for a professional to deal with the printer.
Pretending Bad Stuff Isn't Happening
Think about the people you love: Are they the ones with the Betty Draper smiles plastered on at every given moment? Or are they the ones who are brave enough to be real, to be vulnerable, and to sometimes say, "Things are hard right now, but I am trying"? It's okay to be a little messy; it's okay if everything's not always fine, fine, fine. In fact, it's actually a sign of emotional maturity to be able to admit everything isn't perfect.
Hitting the Q with Your Pinky Finger
Yes, Mavis Beacon's rules for touch-typing can teach you to rock a QWERTY keyboard. But that's no longer the point when you're dashing off messages from your phone or using a touchscreen to check in for a flight. You need to be able to type quickly and well no matter what device you're using, whether it's an Underwood No. 5 or a Samsung Galaxy.
Using a Diaphragm
There are better, more effective forms of birth control
Taking the Perfect Picture
If you don't have Photoshop, you certainly have Picasa
(it's free). Or Instagram
(also free). Shoot first, look your best later.
Deboning a Leg of Lamb
Nose-to-tail cooking may be all the rage, but how pioneering does a busy modern woman really need to be? Your butcher can produce the cut of meat you want, preventing waste, saving you time and relieving you of the need to spend precious evening hours trying to channel Laura Ingalls Wilder (who, let it be remembered, never had to choose between cooking up chicken livers and reading The Interestings
Changing a Tire
Advances in technology mean we're less likely to find ourselves stuck with flats on the side of rainy highways as if we're acting out horror movie setups—hooray! Not only that, roadside assistance often comes standard with the extended warranty when you buy a new car (check with your dealership for details
), and is a common option when purchasing car insurance, as well.
Doing the Things Your Smartphone Does Better
(a) Long division
(b) Metric conversions
(c) Spelling “acceptable”
(d) Finding true North
(e) Calculating a tip
(f) Clipping coupons
(g) Carrying around pictures of your kids
(h) Reading a map
(i) Remembering your second-best-friend’s phone number
(j) Remembering your own phone number
(k) Remembering anything, really
Chitchatting Over Bar Din (or Choosing a Movie that Represents Your Personality)
Wider acceptance of the unique and quietly wonderful qualities of introverts
means that you don't have to pretend to love boisterous small talk with strangers in order to function in polite society. Internet dating was practically made for the soft-spoken. But—hooray for love!—there's no one right way to meet your mate. If the thought of describing yourself in an online profile turns your stomach, more and more dating sites offer group events, and of course you can still head out to the bar and charm your potential suitors IRL.
Finding the Oldies Station in Topeka
Someday you'll tell your grandchildren about how you used to settle into rental cars in faraway cities and guesstimate where your favorite radio stations might live on the foreign dials. "Bottom of the dial for murmuring NPR broadcasts," you'll say, as if recounting a folktale, "top of the dial for oldies, or possibly disco." Then you will turn on the Sirius Satellite Radio in the car or plug in your iPhone, and program the GPS to patiently direct you through the unfamiliar streets to the hotel. "Oh," you will add, "and couples used to get lost and fight about directions, too." And everyone will laugh because it will sound so crazy.
Next: 8 life skills mom forgot to teach me