The 3 Ps You Need to Know for Dealing with the Unexpected

The 3 Ps You Need to Know for Dealing with the Unexpected

sewing kit with stationery
From the Europeana 1914-1918 collection by Hannibal [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
I recently read the blog post Life Skill: How to Groom Without Grooming Products (site no longer active), in which Krista offers advice about dealing with the unexpected. Like what to do when you unexpectedly stay over at someone else’s house, and there is no toothpaste, conditioner and shampoo. While the post is for teenagers (not young women) she does offer some practical tips:

  • Toothbrush: scrub your teeth with the corner of a washcloth after applying toothpaste with your finger
  • Toothpaste: as above without the paste
  • Shampoo: hand soap, dish soap, or maybe conditioner
  • Conditioner: body lotion
  • Soap: shampoo or dish soap
  • Lotion: vegetable cooking oils like olive or coconut
  • Brush/comb: fingers, claw clips or a small hand brush (washed)
  • Q-tips: corner of a washcloth

Practical or not, I found myself strangely disturbed by this advice:

  1. Kids seem to be under a lot of pressure to look good.
  2. What kind of household run by grown-ups doesn’t have basic hygiene requirements?
  3. What is the point of carrying an enormous bag if there isn’t anything useful in it?

And this leads me to the conclusion that while the article is about sleepovers, in fact, it’s not about sleeping at all! And thinking back, this is not something that girls learn how to prepare for (as opposed to boys who are probably prepared long before they need to be).  Clearly your options for serious publication of this kind of material are limited (John Oliver had a useful explanation for this).

My friend Katy has a wonderful Aunt. When we were young, she understood the questions we weren’t asking and gave us the answers she thought we needed. And if we had asked her about this, she would have answered something like this.

How to Deal With the Unexpected

There isn’t really any such thing as the unexpected; the unexpected is a failure of imagination. All you need to do is make up a small essentials kit to carry with you everywhere. It’s like an emergency travel kit for your daily life in the city where you live. There are three things you need to consider.

There are three things you need to consider:


The things you need to improve your presentation and confidence

  • lipstick
  • comb, hairpins or elastic bands
  • toothbrush, toothpaste and perfume
  • nail file or emery boards
  • double-sided “Hollywood” tape


The things you need for minor crises

  • band aids, headache tablets, antacid, eye drops
  • tissues
  • needle and thread, safety pins
  • spare undies and sanitary supplies
  • a thin microfibre wrap (for when it gets cold)
  • taxi money


  • face cream and hand lotion (air-conditioned buildings are very drying)
  • condoms
  • a personal protective device that is legal in your jurisdiction such as a personal alarm, pepper spray or electric shock administrator

Now that does sound like a lot, but you will want to keep it light and use travel or sample sizes.

And as your daily life changes, so will the contents of your kit, e.g. you can leave elements of it in your car or workstation instead of carrying it. Or you might add interdent brushes if you have braces, or tights and resume print outs if you are taking job interviews. The key is to keep it small (no blow dryers) and only include things you need for the life you live right now.

If all else fails, you live in a city so you can go to a shop and buy what you need with your taxi money.

Leave a comment and let me know who if anyone gave you this kind of advice. Or if you think there are other more essential things that should be on the list.

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