Archive for June 29, 2009
We love making lists.
Really love to make lists.
For a while, I’ve been fascinated by this trend. We make lists, buy software to make cool lists, buy pretty memo pads to make more lists, and occasionally follow lists. Don’t forget the little tear-out list sheets at the end of most women’s magazines. Magazines have the most lists. Open any magazine, and you will be bombarded with lists. How-to’s, what not to do lists, and essential checklists that every woman should follow to be happier. Even better, these lists are supposedly formatted by experts, with the intent of making you live a fuller, happier, and more organized life.
Even I can’t deny that lists are useful. My most famous list so far is regarding perfect men. What qualities must the perfect man have? It’s a short list of 18 items that you can print out and place into your 30 pound handbag for easy handling.
The good thing about lists is that they’re so easy to make. They’re easy to look at as well, letting you know exactly what needs to be done, and when. Magazine lists are the best, because they’re made by experts. Experts meaning that the lists tell you the best things that need to be done, and when is the best time to do them. Plus you can just tear out a page or two to read at your leisure.
In fact, the January 2009 issue of Real Simple is called the list issue. THis issue contains 20 essential lists that will make you feel calmer, as well as help you organize your life. There’s “make dinner faster,” “save on home repairs,” “find time to exercise,” and much, much more. And remember: essential means important. Very important. More important than playing the NOM NOM NOM 4 FUD cheezburger game.
Over the course of many magazine readings, I’ve noticed that there are 3 main types of lists. The first one is the list of things to do, mainly known as the “to-do” list. We put all the undone chores, laundry that hasn’t been done, and broken household equipment over here. Cosmo‘s 30 things to do with a naked man goes under this listing. So does Glamour‘s 3 things to do to get that perfect first kiss. They also have a handy picnic checklist for that perfect summer picnic that you’re kind of dreading.
The second type of list is the “things” list. It’s a list of the editors’ favorite things, and as a result, should soon become a list of YOUR favorite things. Or it’s a list of various ways to… get stuff done. For example, we all know that Oprah has many favorite things. Well, here is a list of her favorite things for the summer. Or look at Glamour’s list of 101 ways to have the best sex of your lives. That is, if you pretend that you’re going to spend the whole summer naked. Now wouldn’t that be nice? Cosmo has a list of 7 pairs of shoes for the summer. You’re guaranteed to love these shoes. Don’t forget Oprah’s list of life-changing beauty products.
The last type is the “not to do” list. Similar to the 10 commandments (well, probably not) this type tells us about all the things that we’re not supposed to do. Under any circumstances. No matter what. Real Simple asked its readers of the January issue to give us their lists on what not to do at all. One woman said that she was never going to diet again, climb Mt. Everest, or line her kitchen drawers. Another was not going to worry (good one, that). Another was not going to squish her fat.
A Glamour blogger has a list of things not to do on a blind date. Apparently, she showed up late, drunk, acted stupid, semi-open-minded, and fed her feelings. Cosmo has a list of 10 things not to do on spring break (for you college girls out there). Among them, you must not pick up crabs, pole dance with no underwear, update Twitter every time you drink Tequila, and work on your thesis.
But why are we fascinated with lists? Is it because we feel calmer putting the items that have yet to be done on a list, knowing that we’ll take care of them sometime even if we don’t? Or is it because we feel that our lives are more in control simply by making a simple little list?
All we know is that if we follow the lists that art given us, we shall live a longer and happier life.
All because of one little list.
Happy list making!
(There’s even a list on how to rethink your lists. Here.)