For attractive lips, say “no” at every opportunity. Build yourself a fortress and a stronghold of No to shield you from the elements. Drift into crowded train stations at noon and whisper into the ears of hurried passersby, “Remember, you don’t have to date anybody.”
For lovely eyes, see through everyone.
For a good figure, run away from roommates and from lovers and from coworkers and live gloriously and perfectly alone in a forest.
For beautiful hair, let no one else touch it. Your hair is yours, and yours only.
For poise, walk alone. Turn down the companion to your left and dismiss the companion to your right. Wish them well and let them vaguely blur and fade into the horizon.
People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; let them do so if they wish. You will become immortal and unchanging and untouched and unknown. Live in a cave, if your fortress does not serve you; live in a cave behind a waterfall behind a forest of poisoned brambles and let those who seek you out die at their own hands.
Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, you can conjure one yourself, then wish it senseless and inert when you have done with it.
As you grow older, you will discover that there is no sound more beautiful than walking into the threshold of your own home and hearing nothing: no one calling out from the kitchen inquiring after your day, no one pointedly not-unloading the dishwasher to prove a point, no one ready to talk or complain or carry on a conversation; the house is yours and everything in it and you are the only heartbeat that moves inside its walls.
The beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears, the figure that she carries, or the way she combs her hair. The beauty of a woman is in her eternal and perfect solitude. A woman who lives on the edge of a cliff is a happy woman; a woman who lives at the bottom of the cliff is a wise woman; a woman who lives at the depths of the sea wakes herself up every morning with glorious and terrifying laughter, lost in her own pleasure at being alone. The greatest knowledge a woman can possess is the knowledge that no one can find you.
The beauty of a woman is not in her face, but true beauty in a woman is her ability to repel intruders and well-wishers alike.
Mallory is an Editor of The Toast.