Five Things Women Who Want to Appear Intelligent, Secure, and Reasonable Should Stop Doing

No, ma’am.

We women have our shortcomings. We talk about our hair more than the average man cares to hear. We get in other folks’ business more than the IRS.  Some things, though, are as unforgivable as Diddy’s pop-group pimping. If you’re a woman who desires respect and admiration, I’d advise you to refrain from the following:

1. Wearing too-light foundation. There’s a rule about clothes—they always, always look better when they fit. Not too baggy, not too tight, but just right. The same rule applies for makeup. If you could double for Patrick Swayze in your NC45, it’s time to get a darker shade. Now, I understand that many of us still have hangups about our complexions. The media doesn’t help us. Several major cosmetics companies — cough, Almay, cough, Neutrogena — still think Lucy Liu is dark. Many brands, fortunately, do recognize human skin tones are vast. Trust me, brown paper bags are for groceries, and that’s only if you don’t have reusable bag. The shade that matches your skin tone — whether you’re Paula Patton, Jennifer Hudson, or Viola Davis — is always going to look prettiest on you. Anything lighter might make you appear insecure.

2.  Wearing leggings as pants. Since the revival of these ’80s staples in about 2006, spandex has been up everyone’s crack. And not just the one you sit on. They’re much more comfortable than constricting skinny jeans, but they have been sorely misused. I was officially disturbed with the trend when, under the high midday sun, a fuller-figured girl’s blue-and-pink polka-dotted drawers stung my eyes. She was wearing leggings—as pants. With a tiny polo shirt. And her underwear gleaming right through them. Unless you’re working a Michael Kors runway, we commonfolk have no interest in seeing which pair of Hanes you pulled from the three-pack today. I don’t care if you’re wearing a thong, granny panties, or nothing at all [side eye] — leggings are not like pants, period. Your top should cover your rear. If not, find something else to wear and stop insulting us with your cracks.

3. Talking about your sex life on Facebook. I can deal with the fascinating I’m-doing-laundry posts. I can even deal with the 47th pic of you in the bathroom, though to much lesser extent. I cannot, however, bear the vivid details of your sexual encounters. Unless it’s snowing, I don’t ever want to read about white stuff in your status (Yes, I really did one time. I evicted her from the feed). Unless you have a dog named Richard and a cat named Fluffy, stop talking, now. Though we’re even more open about our sexuality than our predecessors, Facebook is the place where you share the family-friendly parts of your life. What happens in your bedroom isn’t anyone’s business. Take down those pics of you biting your finger, too.

4. Wearing heels higher than three inches during the day. Nothing says “I’m low-maintenance, sensible, and forward-thinking” like a five-inch platform pump at 8 in the morning. Nothing is more practical, comfortable, and stylish than walking up steep hills and stomping down escalators in four-inch Aldo wedges. Ok, I’ll cut the offenders some slack here. The right shoe can upgrade even the most basic outfit. And we all admire a girl with a mean shoe game. But please, for the love of Dr. Scholl’s, try to keep your heels lower during the day, at least while you’re running errands, commuting, or working (unless you, um, work at Stadium. Look that up yourself. It’s in DC.). You’ll avoid the Kevin Hart buckle and your feet will feel better. Win-win!

5. Talking in a baby voice on purpose. I love my 3-year-old nephew’s speech. Every basic word or phrase he says is cuter, sweeter, and funnier because it’s coming out his little voicebox. Sadly, I also hear that same chirpy chatter from people taller than 3’2”. I understand if your voice is naturally high-pitched. You can’t control that any more than you can control the price of a washcloth in Burundi. But if you’re using an irritatingly elfin voice because you think it sounds cute, you are sorely mistaken. No one agrees with you. In fact, most people just want you to shut up. I’m all about self-expression, so please, say what’s on your mind. Just leave the baby talk for Heidi Klum or somebody.

What other bad habits should sensible women give up?