I have a confession: I subscribe to Real Simple. There are several reasons I should not do so, the most readily apparent of which is that the very title of the publication flies in the face of one of my raison d’etres, namely, defending the integrity of the English language. Seriously, Real Simple? You couldn’t call it “Real. Simple.” instead? Just two little periods, or even one of those funny lookin’ pipe | thingies could do your rag a world of good. But no, you had to abuse an adverb, just like the “Eat Local” army. Fine. Whatever. I’ll eat delicious food that grows locally while you sit down to a four course meal of intangible adjective.
Along with syrupy prose contributed by its college-educated female readership who’ve chosen to stay home with the bratlings and wax poetic about cheese sandwiches or whatever, one of the magazine’s regular features is lists upon lists of time-saving tips. The tips are often pitched with a Pollyanna-esque, “If you can do your makeup in only 30 minutes, you’ll have more time for YOU!” What, pray tell, would a woman who spends more than 30 minutes on hair every day do with that extra time? Spend more time on lipliner? My advice to them would be: Stop doing your hair. Voila! 100 percent more time for you!
So in the spirit of mean-spiritedness, and since Real Simple won’t be informing its readership how to actually get more time for themselves anytime soon, leastwise without plugging a $40 bottle of face cream and reinforcing some serious heteronormativity and serving as capitalism’s and classism’s little glossy handmaiden, I came up with some more realistic time-saving tips for the less credulous among us. Written for the typical Real Simple reader, who, I imagine, is female, at least 30, white, upper-middle, with a husband, 2.5 kids, a dog and a picket fence:
1. Ditch the Hubbie
Ever get snippy with your doting spouse? It may not be the stress of planning all those complex dinner parties and thoughtful holiday gifts — he’s probably just using up nearly half of your special you time! He always wants to talk, wants to cuddle, wants to put it in your butt. Those things take time, my friend — get rid of the geezer and you’ll automatically gain plus-10 you-time points!
2. Don’t have kids.
Seriously, ladies, did you know it’s actually illegal for you to leave these little time-sucks alone for up to TWELVE YEARS? You don’t want to spend the best years of your adulthood in drudgery, watching insipid childrens’ television, cleaning up excrement and/or Cheerios, and trying not to shake your offspring to death, do you? If you’re unfortunate enough to already have one of these, take heart: In Nebraska, you can abandon your children no matter how old they get!
3. Live in a van.
Garden got you down? Lawn putting you to shame? Garage organization projects keeping you up at night? How much time do you really spend weeding, whitewashing, mopping and coming up with innovative storage solutions for all your crap? Sell it all and move into your suburban assault vehicle. Cleaning a small space is a snap, and entertaining’s out without an outdoor dining set.
4. Quit your job.
Forget the Pomodoro Technique. It doesn’t matter how much you prioritize, how many 100-calorie snack packs you stash in your desk drawer or how many green tea breaks you take, you will never, ever be caught up at work. Instead, quit. Live off all that money you’re making by contributing syrupy prose to milquetoast organizing magazines.
5. Get ugly.
Without a husband or a job, why bother spending even that measly 30 minutes blow-drying and heat setting your hair? Come to think of it, you probably can’t afford that $40 face cream, and there’s no outlet for a blow dryer in a van. But, now that you’re ugly, poor, unmarried and childless, you probably finally have enough time to sit down and read Real Simple cover to cover, and realize it actually only takes 10 minutes to blow through the whole thing, ads included.