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Ever felt out of your depth in social situations? Wondered how to have a successful social interaction that didn't center on pop culture references? Held an entire text conversation with yourself so you could look at your phone rather than other humans? Then this article is for you, friend. That's right, you: the socially awkward girl.

Starline Hodge

Although I began life as one of you, I've spent years of Friday nights Gorillas in the Mist-ing with the socially adept, observing and mimicking their behavior until I could pass unnoticed among these fearsome but gentle creatures. Today I'll walk you through the six simple steps to successfully navigating a girls' night out -- one of the more treacherous obstacles standing between you and that block of cheddar you left in the fridge as a reward for leaving your apartment.

Step 1: Getting Ready


The goal here is to paint another, better face on top of your own face. Draw on your eyes and lips with glorified crayons (or, if all else fails, actual crayons). The "smoky eye" is a thing people say a lot, so maybe do one of those. Learn from my mistake, though: The name is a metaphor. This technique actually involves little to no actual fire.


You'll know a device is meant for your hair if it looks like a prop in a sci-fi B-movie from the '50s. Much like a friend's universal remote or a newborn baby, there's no way to know what it's meant to do until you try. Point it at your head. Does your hair look better? No? That makes sense. I gave you some pretty awful advice just then. That's OK; no one really cares what shape your head proteins are, I bet.


Put down those faded overalls, friend. You're hitting the town tonight. Time for your party overalls.

Did you do all those things? Great! You're ready to appear in 40 nearly identical Facebook photos tomorrow morning.

Starline Hodge

Step 2: Choosing a Venue

This is the highest-stakes part of your night. You could end up somewhere with cheap drinks, ample seating, and, if you play your cards right, a table with Pac-Man built right into it. (THEY CAN DO THAT NOW. TAKE THAT, EVERYONE WHO SAYS MAGIC ISN'T REAL.) Let your guard down for even a second, though, and you could end up at a club. Clubs are grad-school level social interaction. You'll have to manage your sensory overload while maintaining a face shape that says "I am interested in what you are saying, and also I am enjoying this experience much like any other normal human adult would" while a guy yells in your ear about how important Hangover 3 was to the integrity of the franchise.

Starline Hodge
Left: bar, and eternal happiness. Right: club, and pants you'll never be able to wear again because a weird guy spilled something on them.

If you're reading this article -- if you saw a link promising to guide you through basic social interaction and thought "yes please" -- you're not ready for a club. Steer the night toward calmer waters. When your friends brainstorm venues for the night, start off with the Hail Mary passes immediately. How about that 24-hour doughnut place that also has free Wi-Fi? Sure, they'll almost certainly turn it down, but if they go for it, you're back on home turf. You've been training for this night all your life.

If they veto that idea, try to find a middle ground. They'll want alcohol, and dancing, and people of the gender(s) they're attracted to who are also attracted to your friends' gender(s) right back at them. You want mozzarella sticks, and to be left alone with your mozzarella sticks. There are venues that can cater to all your needs; think "spacious but unpopular dive bar," or "struggling Tex-Mex restaurant that followed some misguided advice to institute a ladies' night." This is where your people are.

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Step 3: Being One of the Girls

Your friends are like an aging alcoholic and you're their new liver: You've got a lot of great things to offer, like your ability to filter out toxins from their bloodstream and your encyclopedic knowledge of Pop-Tart flavors, but if you don't fit in like you've been there all along, you run the risk of being rejected and causing symptoms like jaundice and abdominal pain. This analogy got away from me a little bit, but the point is, your goal here is to fit in. Be one of the girls. Don't talk too much about organ transplant rejection.

Starline Hodge

Things that are acceptable topics of conversation if you want to be one of the girls:

-Boys, and the sex you're having with them

-Boys, and the sex you wish you were having with them

-Double entendres

-The importance of owning at least one cowboy hat to let surrounding men know that you are looking to have sex and own a cowboy hat

-Television shows where bitchy vampires have sex with each other

Step 4: Flirting

Boy, you're just ... just really going for it, aren't you? Doing the whole thing. OK. You're in luck; I'm actually kind of a flirting expert. Eye contact and sexy sneezes and Fat Albert impressions? And the parts where you talk at each other? That's my jam.

First, pick your target. They say we're most attracted to people who look familiar, which is why we often go for people who look a little bit like us. Save some time by printing out a selfie and holding it up next to every guy in the bar for comparison. Found the boy version of you? Time to turn up the charm. Here's a tip: Offer him a delicious hard candy. It will subconsciously make him think about old people, and old people have cumulatively had the most sex of anyone, because they've been alive and doin' it for the longest.

Starline Hodge

Alright, you're in. This is where the talking bit starts, which can be tricky. It's a good idea to start by asking questions: Where did he grow up? What's his favorite Beanie Baby? When he goes number two, does he sit down or stand up to wipe? You can really ramp up the heat with some casual body contact; try cupping his elbow or a playful slap to the groin.

You can also just launch into a discussion of your own interests and hobbies. Keep it light! Don't talk about dinosaurs too much. Like, not NO dinosaurs, obviously, but maybe just your favorite two or three advances in paleontology from the last 10 years.

Now you've got a sex target, but what are you supposed to do with it?

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Step 5: Dancing

I can't teach you how to let the rhythm take control; you either have it or you don't. (Spoiler alert: I have it.) Just get all up on your new man and wiggle like one of those inflatable car dealership mascots in heat. You'll know you're doing it right when he asks you to please move away because your sweat has soaked through every layer of his clothing. He calls it "disgusting, just unbelievably unpleasant"; I call it drenched in your pheromones.

Starline Hodge

Sure, he's pleading with his friends to find a new bar and get away from the damp weirdo right now, but as soon as those hormones find their way to his boy-center (spleen? I think it's in his spleen), get used to your new lawn ornament, because he'll be out there with a boombox over his head every single day, hoping you'll let him put his bits up on your bits in whatever way is most agreeable to both of you. Romance, bitches.

Step 6: Making Your Exit

You drank something pink and only marginally alcoholic out of a sugar-rimmed glass, you winked at boys until they tried to put their wallets in your mouth so you wouldn't bite off your tongue during the seizure you appeared to be having, you even marked a man with your lady-musk. I'd say you earned that block of cheddar, you stunning, successful-social-interaction-having Batman of a woman.

Making an exit can be tricky. Due to liquor licensing ordinances and the way time works, you will have to leave this bar eventually, but your friends will still see it as a Lando Calrissian-level betrayal when you finally reach for your purse. Since they probably won't take "Are you fucking kidding me, I've been here for five fucking hours already, what more do you people want from me, Jesus mothershitting Christ" as a viable excuse, have a backup ready to go: maybe you have a cat that needs feeding, or hair that needs washing. If you still live with your parents, all you need to do is check your watch: "Sorry, my parents said they need me home by 1:18 a.m., and -- oh no, it's 1:17 now!"

You're done! You did it. No -- we did it. Once you're safely back at your apartment, you get the greatest reward of all: finally, finally being allowed to take off your bra. Let 'em breathe, ladies. You earned it.

Starline Hodge

You can follow Alli Reed on Twitter or visit her website.

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