The Fabulous Girl’s Guide to Decorum by Kim Izzo and Ceri Marsh

The Fabulous Girl�s Guide to Decorum by Kim Izzo and Ceri Marsh

Reviewed by L.D.Y.

Trade, 299 pages, 2001

Rating: 10/10

Reason for Reading: I’m a sucker for a cute cover, even if it’s a book about etiquette.

Synopsis: A sassy Miss Manners update that acknowledges girls need advice on things such as how to be civil to an ex-boyfriend, surviving Jill Jobs before getting to an actual career, and entertaining on the cheap without looking cheap. A Fabulous Girl (FG) has the goal of being classy, classy, classy, and reaping the benefits that good manners bring to those who use them. The book is interspersed with fictional accounts of a trio of friends who often learn the hard way there could have been a better way of handling things.

Why you should read this book: At some point in your early to mid-twenties, you should recognize that the pretty, wide-eyed, ‘Oops, silly me’ look you’ve perfected is best retired by avoiding social gaffes in the first place. It’s time to find a better way of doing things and start moving up in the world, career-wise and socially, and this book is your best reference for getting there, addressing specific problems of women in their 20s.

Why you should avoid this book: If you’ve never been in a bad situation that this book wouldn’t have helped you get through, may everyone salute you.

Opening paragraph:

Manners will make you fabulous. Manners are sexy. The well-mannered get invited to more parties and have a wider array of friends and colleagues who admire them. These are the basic tenets of The Fabulous Girl’s Guide to Decorum.
The idea for this book came to us gradually over the course of one too many encounters with the socially inept, suffering through bad dinner parties and enduring thoughtless comments. Nearly once a week we would find ourselves on the phone or over tea, railing, ‘They didn’t even put food out until 11 p.m! There was no music at all!’ or ‘She showed up to the cocktail party in jeans and a charity fun run T-shirt’ or ‘We ran into his ex and he didn’t even introduce me.’

Fabulous quotes:

Never utter these phrases to your newly minted ex-boyfriend when you’re being dumped:
1 Don’t you love me anymore?
2.Is there someone else?
3. What did I do?
4. Can’t we try one more time?
5. I can change.

The Art of Flirting: There are signs that you’ve gone too far, for example, when he’s standing too close to you and his girlfriend comes over and puts the ‘He’s mine, bitch’ clamp on his arm. The ultimate sign that you are in fact an ‘overboard’ flirt is when the men around you keep their distance. Women will often be jealous of an FG in full flirt mode, but if the men in the room are raising eyebrows or avoiding you, then it’s time to think subtle – think ‘lipstick’ to ‘lipbalm.’

You’re ready to make a move up, and now it’s time to get tactical. The Jill Job style of leaving work behind exactly at the end of your shift will no longer serve you. If you want more responsibility (and money), you will obviously have to start giving more. You won’t have to surrender your entire life to work, but you will have to appear more flexible about your time. Try to start spending more time with the senior members in your work or field. Book appointments with your boss to present your ideas. Quietly advertise your achievements. Many women feel uncomfortable bragging. Get over it. Letting people know how valuable you are may not come naturally to you, but it’s key to your success. You can’t gain recognition for something no one knows you did.

Also Recommended: Sex and the City: Kiss and Tell by Amy Sohn.

Also by this author: The Fabulous Girl’s Code Red: A Guide to Grace Under Pressure.

© Lisa Yanaky 2003-2007

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