If you can help it, don’t age

The well-mannered, modern woman should never be — or appear to be — older than thirty-five. (Thirty-eight, maybe, if you are genetically gifted, incredibly wealthy and/or have access to Cate Blanchett’s stem cells.) Visible aging is inconsiderate and self-indulgent. By not dyeing your hair or moisturizing routinely, you are hurting the people around you, forcing them to confront their own mortality with each puckered crease of exposed elbow skin.

Take steps to protect the innocent

Camouflage, conceal, and distract. Buy every lotion, potion, contour pallette, and self-tanner you can get your hands on. Bleach or otherwise remove dark spots as they to appear on those hands. Freeze your face, your eggs, your fat, your ambition. Put every possible effort into maintaining the illusion. Purchase all the Spanx.

Start transitioning to a
predominantly digital existence

Avoid daylight and un-retouched images. If you must be present in three dimensions, limit yourself to dark basement venues without access to the internet, cameras, or cell phones. Socialize only in select circles. Ensure those circles are not under your eyes.

Get your nails manicured

Once polished, do not allow visible chips to form on your fingers. Chips suggest a hurried, harried woman with little time for frivolity. Chips imply that the weight of adulthood and responsibility and a lifetime of relentless personal monitoring and physical upkeep have begun to rob you of girlish, carefree charm.

Adopt a girlish, carefree charm

Do not be harsh. Do not sound harsh. Do not stand under harsh lighting or dress in anything too severe. When you visit your dermatologist/plastic surgeon/aesthetician, insist they take the steps necessary to plaster your face into a permanently pleasant visage.

Regulate your emotions

Do not yell. Do not cry. Consider experimental procedures to have your tear ducts removed. Crying will undercut your authority, highlight your physical and psychological liabilities, and compromise hours of strategically applied societal warpaint. Also, after a certain age, tears will cause you to spontaneously melt.

Wear heels

Comfortable shoes and sneakers are reserved for young, braless, perpetually perky women who amass at music festivals or on beaches with dress codes of triangles and string. Ignore foot pain. Ignore back pain. Surgery is preferable to apathy. Heels are elegant. Heels are flattering. Heels imply your body is fit and spry and impervious to the disabling effects of fascist fashions over time.

Take. Extreme. Measures.

There’s a reason the Phantom of the Opera wore a mask. Vampire facials. Lip fillers. High-powered lasers. Invest your savings. Hock your jewelry. Embezzle your 401K. A woman’s financial security is not reliant on high-yield bonds or stock options, but rather her ability to preserve the positive perceptions of others. Compound interest is inconsequential. Continued cat calls are your best rate of return.

Value the opinion of strangers

If you are public figure, base your self-worth on the collective criticisms of Twitter, Facebook and TMZ. If you are not a public figure, compare yourself to those individuals anyway. Resources are irrelevant. Their standard of beauty is yours.

If and when further aging becomes unavoidable,
have the decency to disappear quickly

Your ultimate goal as a woman is to establish a legacy of sexual desirability. Do not linger past the efficacy of your facial fillers. Do not attempt to “Sunset Boulevard” it. From this point forward, any public outing will become instantly and relentlessly about your appearance. Better anonymity than ridicule. Better seclusion than scorn. Let them wonder what happened to you. Let them eternally imagine you as you once were. And if there is an event you would really like to go to — say, an awards ceremony, child’s graduation, or funeral of an immediate relative — there is no need to miss out on it entirely. You can always ask a comparably aged male friend or former husband to live-stream it on his phone.