It used to be so easy. All you needed was a thick mane of tousled auburn locks, high cheekbones, and a determined little chin; add an ounce of determination and an event from your past that haunts you still. Then, wham! You were the perfect fictional heroine.

But now it’s not so simple. With television shows like Grey’s Anatomy and Ally McBeal, books like Bridget Jones’s Diary and Good in Bed, and movies like Miss Congeniality and Legally Blonde, we’re getting all sorts of mixed messages over how the ideal woman is supposed to be. What’s a modern girl who wants to hold herself up to impossible standards to do?

Simple! Just follow these guidelines, and you’ll be as witty, complex and neurotic as the rest of them. In other words – you will be the perfect, modern-day fictional heroine.

Step 1 – Be Flawed

This step is super easy, because come on, we’re all already flawed anyway, right?

Except for one little catch. It is necessary to adopt the correct flaws, and these three are non-negotiable.

1.)You must be self-involved. This includes comparing your own petty personal problems to things like death, war, and injustice, and finding some sort of unique parallel no matter what the situation may be. It also includes having a constant inner dialogue with yourself where you point out these parallels with witty commentary. For example: “Even the news reminded me of him. Yesterday I saw this report that said routine circumcision in Africa could prevent 300,000 deaths in the next ten years. What a shocker! Chopping away at a guy’s penis could help eliminate pain, loss, and heart-ache. What will they think of next?”

2.)You must have issues with food. If you plan to be a television or movie heroine, this means that you cannot eat. Period. If you plan to be a book heroine, this means that you must eat all the time, except when you’re not eating, and then you should be thinking about eating. I strongly recommend the second option.

3.)You must become preoccupied with an unhealthy relationship. This includes but is not limited to, relationships with boyfriends, friends, mothers, fathers, roommates, and exes. Especially exes.(And make sure that your ex is dreamy, preferably with a new girlfriend who is in no way as good for him as you were.)

Step 2 – Practice Retail Therapy

Today’s modern day fictional heroine realizes one fundamental truth – that there is no problem too big or too small that cannot be remedied with shopping. Again, there is a catch; you need to be careful of what you go shopping for. Hard and fast rule – anything that’s practical or cheap is out. Other than that, I have provided you a list of approved shopping items, with the most highly recommended items on top, and continued in descending order:

•Designer shoes
•Designer beauty products
•Designer chocolate
•Designer purses
•Designer lingerie
•Anything else designer
•Clothes (This is listed as the very last option because although clothes shopping can be a lot of fun, if you happen to have gone up a size, the blow to your ego will be so enormous that it will negate the therapeutic aspect of said retail therapy.)

Step 3 – Have a purpose, deeply question it, then either accept it or abandon it to find a new purpose.

Rather than go into unnecessary detail, I have created a handy-dandy chart. Just pick an option from each column and you’ll be good to go.

Column A

1.You’re a (lawyer, publisher, or banker) and you love the power and money.
2.You’re a (doctor, policewoman, or writer) and you love changing lives.
3.You’re a stay-at-home mom and you love your family.
4.You’re all of the above, and you’ve never been so fulfilled!
Column B
1.It’s all getting to be too much and nobody understands you.
2.None of it means anything anymore and nobody understands you.
3.You wish you could have some time for yourself, and why doesn’t anyone understand you?
4.Is this really what you set out to do? You did major in art history after all.

Column C

1. After meeting the right guy, you decide to chuck it all and live overseas.
2. After falling back in love with the guy you’ve been with for years, you decide to start your own home-based greeting card company.
3. After realizing that the nerdy guy is actually the one for you, you return to your career with a new sense of purpose.
4. Who needs health insurance anyway? You decide to take some time off just to focus on you.


So you see; it’s really not that hard for truth to imitate fiction. Gone are the days of walking moors, wearing corsets, and dying of consumption. Nowadays all you need is a little attitude thrown in with a barely noticeable social complex. So get your credit cards ready, preheat the oven for those brownies, and start living your life as if everyone can (and wants to) hear what you have to say. A new age has arrived!

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