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October 24, 2007

The Big Question: Don’t Tell Your Mother

Filed under: The Big Question — Miss Plumcake @ 11:01 am

Francesca and Plumcake want to know:

What is the single worst piece of advice you’ve ever received? Did you follow it?


  1. Since you didn’t specify fashion related:

    Don’t get divorced.
    Don’t go to law school. (tie)

    I didn’t take either. Both well meaning, both terribly misguided.

    Comment by Ash — October 24, 2007 @ 11:14 am

  2. From a high school guidance counselor:

    “Don’t bother applying to those schools. Your SAT scores aren’t high enough.”

    I did NOT take the advice, and applied to 4 big reaches. I was rejected by all of them, but now never have to wonder “what if.”

    He knew a lot about colleges, but I knew *myself.*

    (I had a fantastic time at the college I did attend, by the way.)

    Comment by Sarah — October 24, 2007 @ 2:15 pm

  3. From friends: “You should leave him.” Twenty five years later, we have most definitely had our stuff to work through, but I am so glad we stayed together and kept working at our marriage. It was not easy but it was worth it.

    Comment by rosarita — October 24, 2007 @ 2:38 pm

  4. “Don’t cry out loud. Just keep it inside… learn how to hide your feelings” from Melissa Manchester. And heck no, I didn’t follow it!

    Comment by anonymous cutie — October 24, 2007 @ 3:15 pm

  5. “You’d be so pretty if only you lost a little bit of weight…”

    (I followed it)

    Comment by Em — October 24, 2007 @ 3:48 pm

  6. “You should think about gong to community college. People like you don’t go to college.” –from my High School Guidance counselor. (I have a PhD and am a professor, so, uh, no, I didn’t take the advice.”

    Comment by Chaser — October 24, 2007 @ 4:18 pm

  7. Whoa–bad quick message. My high school guidance counselor wanted me to go to community college in order to be court reporter…and when he said “people like me don’t go to college” he was thinking Chaser’s family=PWT (poor white trash) and college=four-year school.

    In his defense, I was awfully good in my typing class.

    Comment by Chaser — October 24, 2007 @ 4:20 pm

  8. “The boys who are teasing you are doing it because they like you.” (Followed it, made it so much worse)

    “You have to go to grad school right after doing your bachelors” (Didn’t follow it, best decision ever. Am happily employed instead of having a complete breakdown.)

    Fashion related: “You look so much better with a perm! And you should brush it with a bristle brush every day” (Thanks mom. Agh, the 80s.)

    Comment by Tk — October 24, 2007 @ 4:44 pm

  9. “Don’t eat carbs.”
    …Didn’t follow that one. I’m pretty active and carbs are my brain’s favorite energy. If I’m miserable, I don’t look or feel superfantastic.

    “Stop dreaming of working in NYC.”
    …Blogging from Fifth Avenue right now, baby. (Hee. At work. Don’t tell anyone.)

    “You don’t have to floss. Don’t bother.”
    YES YOU DO HAVE TO FLOSS. Floss floss floss, ladies! Ask your dentist how to do it the right way and then do it every day! It could keep you from zillions of costly fillings later! Please floss?

    Comment by T — October 24, 2007 @ 4:47 pm

  10. I can’t remember the names of the people who said this to me, but there were many:

    If you’re studying to be a writer, you need to have some sort of back-up plan.

    Funny thing is that if I’d had a fall back, I probably would have fallen back. Because I’d made no alternate plans, I had no choice but to find some way to get paid for my words.

    Comment by Never teh Bride — October 24, 2007 @ 5:39 pm

  11. “You should be an English teacher. You’d be a great teacher.” – Both my parents.

    Um, no thanks. I’m a science student at a superfantastic tech school, and happier than I could ever be if I tried for a teaching degree, and I plan to have a superfantastic job that I’m actually passionate about and enjoy someday.

    Comment by Katie — October 24, 2007 @ 6:24 pm

  12. “You know, you’d be liked by a lot more people if you weren’t so vocal about your opinions.” Couple that with “To get along, you have to go along.” Both “gems” told to me by my then-boyfriend who wasn’t comfortable with the fact that half his friends hated me because I did not buy in to the “A woman’s place is barefoot, pregnant, and in the kitchen making my dinner” mentality they all held.

    Thank God & Greyhound that one was over before anything got serious. And what do 16-year-old boys know, anyway?

    Comment by Neller — October 24, 2007 @ 7:59 pm

  13. Something along the lines of “stop being a feminist and everyone will like you more”. Didn’t follow, and I have enough friends, thanks.
    Also “go straight to law school.” Followed, too soon to say if it was a bad idea.

    Comment by the unfashionista — October 24, 2007 @ 9:02 pm

  14. I’ve heard a lot of bad advice, but the worst I ever heard was to act as if nothing was wrong – more specifically, to “be happy” around my dad – when he was dying. Sadly, I listened to it.

    The good news is: that was the last time I ever listened to them.

    Comment by N. — October 24, 2007 @ 9:44 pm

  15. You have to make him give you a diamond engagement ring. Nope. I don’t like diamonds. I love my sterling silver frog prince who makes me smile every single day.

    You have to make him wear a wedding ring. Why? He knows he’s married, I know he’s married, and anyone who tries to make a move on him will know he’s married in about two nanoseconds. And if he wasn’t committed, making him wear a ring wouldn’t change that. Besides, a man who works a lot with electricity is better off without a ring to act as a lightning rod.

    Take more higher math classes. Yeah, my high school counsellor told me that after I barely scraped through Algebra and flunked Geometry.

    What is it with high school counsellors? A lot of us seem to have gotten insane advice from ours.

    Comment by Twistie — October 24, 2007 @ 10:23 pm

  16. “Don’t become a writer, because they don’t make real money.” It took me twenty years to figure out I was going to be okay without “real money.”

    Comment by raincoaster — October 25, 2007 @ 12:19 am

  17. The worst bit of advice I ever heard a mother give her daughter (not my mother and not me) was: “If you would get a nose job, you would find a man to marry.” That to a woman who hated everything about herself, *except* her nose!

    Comment by Lee — October 25, 2007 @ 10:44 am

  18. Advice: Go to law school.

    Action: Took said advice.

    Result: Lots of loan debt. Not practicing law at firm where I’d make $150K+. Actually happy with life even though still in debt.

    Comment by count sassy — October 25, 2007 @ 1:59 pm

  19. “Don’t take out student loans, you’re lucky to be debt free, just get a job” given by everyone when I graduated from law school and wanted to get an LLM in taxation. Followed advice, three years of floundering in a disappointing career later, I’m applying for the LLM program. If I’d taken on the debt, I’d have paid it back by now. Although I do know that I was extraordinarily fortunate to graduate without debt.

    Comment by atty04 — October 25, 2007 @ 3:15 pm

  20. First, my apologies to Francesca & Plumcake for commenting on their blog…but not about their blog (this time). However, I really would like to thank count sassy & atty04. I’m currently a 2L, and your reactions to the advice you were given are encouraging, particuarly now that I’m having small doubts regarding my decision to leave the working world and put myself (via scads and scads of student loan money) through law school.

    Comment by Neller — October 25, 2007 @ 4:22 pm

  21. Worst Advice Ever: A writer? Well, maybe you could teach English. But, you can’t pass math, so you can’t go to college. Just take typing, then you can get some kind of job until you get married. They need the college seats for serious students. You’ll just have kids anyway, why waster the money on college?

    Comment by older not wiser — October 26, 2007 @ 1:56 am

  22. atty04: I’m a JD/LLM in Taxation student, too! Welcome to the club — I bet you’ll love it & congrats about following your idea of success :)

    Comment by dengermouse — October 26, 2007 @ 10:54 am

  23. My worst piece of advice always centers around how I should be happy settling for something that makes me miserable because either I’m worthless or people in general are worthless. Fortunately, I always held out hope that my family & friends were wrong, and kept pursuing what I wanted anyway.

    Now, I’m happy, about to complete my JD/LLM, married to a great guy, raising healthy kids, and living in a beautiful place with new friends (& far away from the negative nay-sayers I grew up around).

    Just goes to show what I firmly believe: Fat chicks are the ULTIMATE rebels!

    Thank G*D.

    Comment by dangermouse — October 26, 2007 @ 11:02 am

  24. “Play hard to get.” From my sister who, god love her, knows nothing about getting into a healthy relationship. While I wasn’t looking for anything when I met him, I knew he wasn’t the type of guy to play games or to want to be played with. Four years later and we’ve been married a year. My sister & my mother are always reminding me that good, nice guys like him don’t come around everyday, so hold on to him. This is advice I’ll listen to.

    Comment by Lori C. — October 27, 2007 @ 12:38 pm

  25. “Fat people shouldn’t swim.” From my mother who was presumably trying to protect me from teasing, as well as from the general culture of not revealing fat bodies. I rediscovered swimming recently and it feels heavenly. For anyone else too self-conscious of their fat body to feel comfortable swimming, I highly recommend Junonia’s swim t-shirts and shorts. They are a good bridge to trying swimming again after many years of being too self-conscious.

    Comment by Chartreuse — October 27, 2007 @ 6:38 pm

  26. Take the job with Enron.

    (I didn’t. I took the other job I got offered that week)

    Comment by debutaunt — October 28, 2007 @ 3:40 am

  27. Advice-giver: You shouldn’t act so smart. Boys don’t like it.
    Lisa: I don’t “act.” I actually am that smart and I refuse to dumb myself down to make anyone more comfortable.

    Lori C.: A good friend of mine gave me the same advice and a copy of “The Rules.” I told her that if I acted like I didn’t want to go out with someone, that they were going to take me at my word and stop trying. I think playing “hard to get” only works for really insanely beautiful, model-thin women.

    Comment by knitalisa — October 28, 2007 @ 10:40 am

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