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Life Skills 201

Let nothing stand in your way.

Illustration by Cynthia

It’s a new year. We’ve grown. We’ve changed. We’ve learned some basic life skills, and now we are older, wiser, and ready to tackle different challenges. That’s right, folks, it’s time for round two: intermediate life skills. That’s intermedias vita peritias in Latin. (We’re so smart now.)

1. Giving/Accepting a Compliment

Compliments are great. They give us a lift, brighten our day, make us feel accepted and appreciated. The whole world loves them, and lots of people use them as a shortcut to get to know someone, which is usually a sound strategy. Say it’s hard to make conversation with a girl you just met? Compliment her shoes/book choice/nail art/ability to belch loud enough to be heard in a crowded auditorium—anything that you honestly like about her upon first impression. She gets some recognition, you come across as friendly, and everybody wins!

Except it’s not always so easy. Maybe someone compliments a dress of yours that you HATE and only wore because you haven’t done laundry in a month. Maybe the attention makes you nervous or uncomfortable. Maybe you feel like no one ever flatters you, so when a girl with amazing style tells you she likes your sweater, you are deeply suspicious that she’s making fun of you. None of this matters, because unlike many areas in life involving social etiquette, compliment-giving and -receiving do not exist in a gray area. There’s a right and a wrong way to handle them.

If you’re getting a compliment, no matter what it is, the best possible answer is: “Thank you.” The end. Even if you don’t believe the compliment, be graceful and gracious and just say those two words. If you say, “Oh, this? I’ve had it for years, I kind of hate it,” you’re basically telling your flatterer that they have crappy taste. If you say, “Really? I kind of feel like my singing voice sounds like a high-pitched squirrel’s,” it seems like you’re fishing for a second compliment.

If you’re giving a compliment, mean it. It won’t come off very sincerely if you half-heartedly praise someone when you just can’t think of anything else to say, or if you actually hate something and are just so startled by it that you offer a, “Wow, are those…oh, rubber cowboy boots? Interesting.” (Mothers are awesome at this.) Girls can smell a fake compliment from miles away, so let’s be true to one another.

2. Stopping an Overflowing Toilet

You’re at a friend’s house, and you need to poop, so you do. You flush, and then you notice…it’s not going down. Ohhhh no, it’s not going down, ohmygod the water is rising, OHMYGOD IT’S GONNA OVERFLOW!!! THERE’LL BE TURDS EVERYWHERE AND AHH THE HUMILIATION.

OK, steady! Breathe! I will not let this happen to you. Here’s what you do: if the level of water in the toilet bowl is higher than usual but no longer rising—like the toilet just won’t flush, but there’s still “stuff” in it—find the toilet plunger, which should be next to the toilet, put the plunger over the hole in the bowl, and push it up and down a few times. This will make a sick suction noise. Usually the toilet will clear in just a few seconds, and then flush normally. (Yes, this means the toilet plunger will touch your poop and pee. That is its lot in life. Rinse it off in the clean toilet water, and put the plunger back where you found it.)

If the water is already at an alarmingly high level and rising rapidly and with no sign of stopping, DUDE. Take the lid off the back of the toilet RIGHT NOW (it’s heavy, look out!) and set it down anywhere. Then reach into the cold toilet water (ick, I know, but it’s clean, I swear), and lift up the float. The float is the thing inside the toilet that looks like a black balloon. The second you lift this up, the water will stop running. Keep holding the float up, and bend down to where the pipes connect the back of the toilet to the floor. See that little valve? Turn it to the right to shut it off. Now the water has stopped running; the toilet cannot overflow, so let go of the float. Find the plunger and give the toilet a good plunging. The water level in the bowl should start going down. When it’s down to a level that looks safe, turn the water back on, and you should be good to go. Crisis averted. And aren’t you handy?

3. Getting Away From a Stranger Who Is Scaring You

Chances are, at some point, you will be in the same immediate vicinity as someone who is either deliberately behaving in an alarming way—like a guy on a crowded train who is touching you in a manner that doesn’t seem accidental—or behaving in a frightening way because they are mentally ill.

Let’s say you’re on a bus and some guy is ranting, yelling, or otherwise acting outside the range of accepted social behaviors and making everyone uncomfortable. He is making you nervous, but not targeting you personally. This is the kind of situation where most people will sit tight and try to ignore what’s happening, and if you feel safe in the crowd and the person is not being violent, you could choose to do the same.

But that doesn’t always happen. Situations change quickly. Let’s say the guy decides to get in your face and start yelling, or sidles up next to you and starts making sexually harassing remarks that no one else can hear, or touches you, or calls you a bitch because you won’t talk to him—the list of what a person can do in public to make you seriously uncomfortable, furious, embarrassed, and scared is long. This is not a situation where you sit tight and ignore the person. Y’all, if a person is scaring you, or even staring weirdly at you in a way you don’t like, GET UP AND MOVE.

If you’re taking public transportation, move to another part of the bus or to another train car, or get off at the next stop (as long as there are people around and the person isn’t following you). If you’re in a store or a place of business, tell an employee, leave the place (only if there’s somewhere safe for you to enter close by), or, if you feel really scared, call the cops. Don’t worry about being rude—this person has forfeited all rights to polite interaction. If you feel physically threatened, don’t hesitate to loudly announce it to the people around you, which sometimes embarrasses a harasser into leaving, and alerts everyone else that they need to watch this guy. It’s sad that we live in a world where we have to think about stuff like this—I mean, why should you have to move at all? Ugh. But no matter how unfair or infuriating it is, you can’t necessarily count on other people to help you, so it’s best to have a plan of action.

4. Knowing What to Spring For

There are things in life you can buy at the dollar store or find abandoned in alleys and take home. Then there are things you might think about spending a li’l money on, because quality actually matters. Everyone’s list is different, but here are some loose guidelines.

Things you should never take for free:

  • Fabric furniture of any type that is sitting outside. No matter how sweet that couch is, it could have bedbugs, it may have been rained on, it might be a lapdog’s favorite pissin’ spot. This goes quadruple for free mattresses!
  • Secondhand nonstick pots and pans. Hand-me-down pans usually have scratched bottoms at the very least, and once it’s been scratched, that coating can start to flake off into your food when you cook. Studies suggest thatnonstick coating does not do good things to our bodies. (Besides, the pan will become less nonstick over time.)
  • A kitten or puppy or bunny from a box. Unless you’re ready to be that bebeh animal’s mummy for the next six to 14 years.

Things you can buy cheap or thrift: almost everything! This includes hard furniture, room décor, glassware, clothing, and bags. If you’ve never been in a Dollar Tree, your life is about to change.

Things that you might consider investing in:

  • Tampons. Cheap tampons—like off-brand ones, or the weird kind you get from the machine—hurt. You deserve the best menstrual support.
  • Your skincare regimen. Does your face soap cost $15? Is it keeping your face zit-free? All right then. I’m not saying you can’t explore other options, but if it’s the only thing that works, it’s worth it.
  • Q-tips. Knock-off Q-tips suck. I don’t know why.
  • Toilet paper. All those opposed to chafing, please say “aye.”
  • A winter coat and boots. These are the articles that you will use to shield your fragile epidermis from possibly subzero temperatures. Winter is not fun when your jacket doesn’t really do much and your boots have poor traction.
  • Sheets. The higher the thread count, the nicer they feel. It seems like such a silly thing to splurge for, but you spend a third of your life in bed.
  • Meat. If you eat meat, it can be worth it for you, animals, karma, and the planet to buy meat that was raised responsibly in a free-range or no-cage environment without antibiotics (and this tends to be more expensive).

Of course, it’s OK to splurge on anything, if it’s your money and you’ve budgeted for it. Just don’t confuse “affording” something with putting it all on a credit card.


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  • pez-darling January 1st, 2013 7:10 PM

    A brilliant article to kick off the year!

  • jenaimarley January 1st, 2013 7:16 PM

    Haha this is awesome and very practical!
    I am always annoyed because it is so much easier to take compliments in Chinese, where you just say "哪里哪里?"(na li na li; where where?) in response to a compliment and then you got the confident thanks / modesty down! Ah well…
    Thanks for all the advice!

  • Nomi January 1st, 2013 7:17 PM


    • katie January 1st, 2013 8:02 PM

      On like 5 separate occasions Rookie has published something that directly relates to something that happened to me that day…
      Its really odd but I’m just not going to question it (I’m lying; I question it. Rookie, why are you stalking me????).

      • Blythe January 1st, 2013 10:23 PM

        It’s known as Tavi Under the Bed Syndrome.

        • Aurora January 2nd, 2013 5:39 PM

          Blythe you just made my 2013.

        • lunaticbeings February 26th, 2013 10:07 AM

          i’m crying…stop…please

  • DreamBoat January 1st, 2013 7:20 PM


    I’m pretty sure all of this is THE BESTEST ADVICE eva given, and everything I ever need to know in two articles.

    Rookie/Krista 4EVA <3


  • Naty95 January 1st, 2013 7:23 PM

    Oh my god, I swear this is by far the most helpful thing I’ve read, specially the bathroom part!

  • 062131 January 1st, 2013 7:27 PM

    I feel like I’ve grown as a human being since the moment I started reading this. Thank you, Krista. Your teachings will not be forgotten.

  • Jes January 1st, 2013 7:39 PM

    such wisdom you have. thank you.

  • Melissa @ WildFlowerChild January 1st, 2013 7:42 PM

    You also should invest in floss! I’ve made the mistake of buying cheap floss – it really does not work.

    <3 Melissa

    • firky January 1st, 2013 7:52 PM

      Floss sticks are fab.

      • Cutesycreator aka Monica May 27th, 2013 8:04 AM

        Finally, another person who uses floss sticks! I thought I was the only one <3 Aren't they the best?!!! Totally underrated.

  • HollinsCollins January 1st, 2013 7:49 PM

    Dude Krista you are so cool. Like seriously.
    Thanks for the skillz :D

  • firky January 1st, 2013 7:52 PM

    these are GREAT!

    I have a good one:

    You know how moms/hotel people/whoever always make beds look REALLY crisp when they make them? And as much as you shake the duvet out it just doesn’t come out perfectly?

    The trick is to grab the sheet by pinching it without the duvet in your grasp and giving it a quick tug at the ends of your bed.



  • soviet_kitsch January 1st, 2013 7:57 PM

    Another way to get period blood out of clothing is to dab laundry detergent directly onto it. It even works on really old stains, or if it’s fresh enough you can usually rub it out quickly with a little soap and water and then it’ll rinse out in the laundry.
    Also: Krista you are a GENIUS. I love your life skills articles and I hope hope hope you write more of them. <3333

  • Cerise January 1st, 2013 7:59 PM

    I had hiccups when I started reading this article, and now they are cured! How do you have such inexplicably perfect timing, Rookie?

  • Feli-city January 1st, 2013 8:00 PM

    The only reason I have never faked sick is because my mom is a registered nurse. This basically changed my life.

  • HollieLillian January 1st, 2013 8:47 PM

    The compliments thing is so true! I find it really awkward when people compliment me and usually cringe and utter thanks and shuffle off – I despise attention to the utmost degree seriously. My form tutor was like to me ‘you hate compliments dont you!?’ the other day. I think it’s just because when someone points something out everyone looks and guhhh I can’t cope with that. I really need to get better at accepting/thanking compliments.

  • I.ila January 1st, 2013 9:08 PM

    okay, the lazy person way to toilet problems involving too much toilet paper: leave it. unless the water is going to overflow. toilet paper is made to dissolve in water, so that’ll happen and then you can flush it. yay laziness!!

    • Blythe January 1st, 2013 10:24 PM

      My personal lazy method is to make puppy eyes at my father until he fixes it for me.

  • JaneLane January 1st, 2013 9:24 PM

    This was great!!

  • AmyL January 1st, 2013 9:34 PM

    This is like, the most useful thing I’ve ever read evar. Life Skills 301 better be on its way! ♥

  • SweetThangVintage January 1st, 2013 9:36 PM

    You’re a life saver. I seriously used to hold it for hours on end because I was so scared of toilets over flowing!

  • themisfitprincess January 1st, 2013 9:38 PM

    OMG Krista so fab. ILYYYYY <3

  • sunspottedgirl January 1st, 2013 9:41 PM

    Thank you thank you thank you for posting about how to deal with creepy people. I always feel so rude when I’m walking alone and weird guys come up and start talking to me because I don’t want to be rude but I also really don’t want to talk to them.

    • mulberry March 1st, 2013 5:01 PM

      One things I finally came to terms with after a VERY creepy encounter on a bus with a friendly-seeming man who asked me a lot of very personal questions about where I lived/who I lived with/my schedule that left me in tears and paranoid for weeks:
      IT IS TOTALLY OKAY TO TELL SOMEONE YOU’RE NOT COMFORTABLE SHARING INFORMATION WITH THEM. I am typically a pretty friendly and open person, and I’m also a terrible liar. If someone comes up to me and is like, “Hey, how’s it going? Where are you headed?” I’m almost always going to just spit out the truth, because that is what my brain considers the obvious thing to do. However! I realized after my aforementioned scary encounter that random strangers really have no entitlement to ANY information about you, ever. It is totally okay to be friendly, and smile, if that’s something that is a part of your personality and a way you want to act. You don’t have to shut people down with the middle finger or tell them to fuck off (unless that’s your style–also totally okay in my opinion!). But if you are a friendly type of person, you also don’t have to share anything with strangers that you might later feel weird about sharing. If someone says, “So, what part of town do you live in?” it is totally, totally okay and still nice to just say, “You know, I don’t really know you and I don’t feel comfortable talking about that. What about you though?” or move onto something else, like the weather, or the bus. Or nothing, if you don’t feel like talking! Gazing out the window and fake-texting/calling are also good options ; -)

  • GeometryStudent January 1st, 2013 9:46 PM

    See, the problem with soft toilet paper is that it’s made from old growth trees, so it’s worth it environmentally to buy the not as nice stuff, or even better, the stuff made from bamboo!

  • Roxxxanne January 1st, 2013 9:46 PM

    Thanks krista! Also, Cynthia, the illustration is incredi-cute.

  • Kardvark January 1st, 2013 9:46 PM

    Two things:

    1. Hydrogen peroxide is a girl’s best friend for getting blood stains out. Ice cubes also work well in a pinch.

    2. What do you do if there’s no plunger in the bathroom and there’s no way you could ever admit to clogging the toilet by asking for a plunger??

    I was in this situation once and just snuck out of the bathroom and tried to blame the clogged toilet on someone else.

    • Blythe January 1st, 2013 10:26 PM

      Kick it and pray to your deity of choice. (I prefer Anoia, the Godess of Things Stuck in Drawers, as clogged toilets seem like her area as well.)

  • marcelle42 January 1st, 2013 10:30 PM

    Important note: If you own a toilet in some way, you need to get a plunger and put it next to the toilet. In every bathroom. Yes, really. Because when things clog, they clog fast, the water’s running, and no one wants to be running around the house going, “Where is the plunger?!”

    This is true even if you live alone — mopping up the bathroom floor covered in toilet water is no one’s favorite chore. Just get a plunger.

  • unicorn January 1st, 2013 10:48 PM

    When I’m faking sick, I also like to skip highlighter (no more glowy face) and skip lipbalm ( chapped lips make me look sicker). Also, spritzing a bit of water into my hair, on the back of my neck, on my face, and on my palms (for a clammy, sweaty look). Always works. Guaranteed.

  • Aurora January 1st, 2013 10:49 PM

    For the sick day tip…

  • mollywobbles January 1st, 2013 10:56 PM


    1. Locate toilet brush (usually beside the toilet)

    2. Locate plastic grocery store bag/steal garbage bag from bathroom bin

    3. Tie bag around the head of the toilet brush

    4. Put the toilet brush in the toilet and use it basically like a plunger

    I literally used this yesterday and it stopped an overflowing toilet even when the plunger wouldn’t, it’s saved me from a few embarrassing situations in my time ;D

  • Jacklyn January 1st, 2013 11:38 PM

    ALSO FOR FAKING SICK PURPOSES: press your knuckles into your cheekbones and roll them arund to make your cheeks red really fast.

  • autumnsweater January 1st, 2013 11:57 PM

    this is great! also omg knock-off q-tips really do suck, y’all should take krista’s word for it

  • sophiethewitch January 1st, 2013 11:58 PM

    What about backhanded compliments (you could be a model if you didn’t have achne/ were taller/ grew out your hair) or compliments that you’re really uncomfortable with (omg you’re so skinny! I would kill to be as skinny as you!)? Should you still just thank the person?

  • sophiethewitch January 2nd, 2013 12:08 AM

    Also, how do you pull apart your butt cheeks *discreetly*?? Can this be done?

    • EveyMarrie January 2nd, 2013 9:30 AM

      Hands in your back pockets while looking around all inconspicously I assume.

    • InProgress January 14th, 2013 4:23 PM

      Okay, this is an awkward topic anyway, so I’m going to skip apologizing. There is a way to do it using your muscles

  • violetbean January 2nd, 2013 1:03 AM

    Thanks for this!! I can’t believe that I thought I was the only one who worried about these things. Especially the farting part. Love your life skills Krista.

  • taste test January 2nd, 2013 2:25 AM

    super useful article!

    I still have one question, though. what should you do when someone is harassing you and leaving is not an option? a friend of mine recently got harassed and basically molested on a two hour bus trip. she didn’t try to stop it, because she is the least loud & angry person on the face of the earth, but it really upset her and it should have because it was totally disgusting. but what could she have actually done? the guy was blocking her from moving, obviously no one around gave a shit, there weren’t any security-type people to help, and saying it was her stop and getting off wasn’t an option. anyone care to weigh in?

    • Pashupati January 2nd, 2013 12:19 PM

      If she can’t be loud, she can be agitated to bring attention to them instead. REALLY agitated, so it brings attention to people who aren’t directly around them & either the person stop because of the attention they might get or someone is like “What’s going on?”
      Pretend she have a friend on another seat of the bus… if they don’t let you go, you can call out the person/a random name (though that’s a loud person trick, sorry) then sit next to a stranger if you don’t even have a semi-nice acquaintance on the trip. Say hello, if the stranger is a good person when the asshole come back & you’re all awkward they think “something is off” & it’s less easy to be an ass now.
      It’s really a problem when NOBODY act like they care, you think if you ask for their help they’ll help the asshole instead, but sometimes some may seem to not care despite looking at you, fixating and looking away when you or the harrasser look at them. These persons may be more likely to help, but not have the guts to do before you ask.
      Try to chat up such a person, this way:
      “Do you have the time?”
      “Bla. Is everything alright?”
      Either it makes them notice more the tiny things that others might not notice since they’re now included in what’s happening & noticing body language or things, or the harrasser become a bigger asshole bringing attention to themselves, or you can pretend you have to move away to make a quick call at this time.
      One thing, if the harrasser is talking in a way that others can’t listen, tell them you didn’t understand and to repeat louder, again & again. It’ll get on their nerves &

      • Pashupati January 2nd, 2013 12:23 PM

        make them obvious, even if they don’t get angry because people will notice if you ask TO TALK LOUDER PLEASE, they’ll notice the repetition that it’s not a normal conversation, if you yourself talk a bit louder, just really pretend you don’t hear anything not that you’re loud-angry, the people who aren’t in the immediate vicinity will notice as well and look at you.
        I hope it helps at least a little, because these situations are shitty and difficult.

  • Lulu January 2nd, 2013 3:35 AM

    Did you guys purposely put this article in Mythology?

  • mayaautumn January 2nd, 2013 3:49 AM

    i am sure this is the most helpful/practical article i have ever read?! actually, last weekend, a shop assistant complimented me on my whole outfit (which was very nice of her) but i always seem to manage to say “thankyou” in a really high-pitched voice. in my head I’m thinking: what is wrong with me??? and so i blush and get really self conscious. I’m sure I’m not the only one!! so what do i do? u_u xxx


  • sissiLOL January 2nd, 2013 4:02 AM

    This article is so brilliant!!!!! The best articel for the new year!!! Rookie do not cease to exist!!!
    from Germany

  • karastarr32 January 2nd, 2013 4:19 AM

    Can I just say, if you need to fake sick at school, PLAN IN ADVANCE. Go to the nurse, and tell her that you’re not feeling too well. If she asks, headache/stomache. She’ll probably tell you to wait for a while and see if you feel better. Go back in an hour. She’ll probably give you some sort of painkiller. If possible, text parents/ whoever would pick you up from school. Go back in another hour. Say you’re still not feeling well. In fact, you’re feeling worse. Maybe you’re feeling dizzy. She will take your temp. (If she does the forehead thermometer, take a minute to warm your head up.) Hopefully by this point she’ll suggest you go home. Call your parents, and act ill on the way home. Go for a nap. (Maybe a nap will help, I’m feeling pretty worn-down.) You’ll hopefully be at home for tomorrow as well, with that temperature!

  • FlorenceEyre January 2nd, 2013 5:36 AM

    AMEN. That thing with overflowing toilets never happens to me at home, but I´m an expert for making toilets overflow at my friends houses. So this was the most helpful thing I ever heard about toilets!
    And I can totally agree with your fart-methods!

  • Dayzee January 2nd, 2013 9:58 AM


  • indaslicht January 2nd, 2013 10:45 AM

    I, too, have a nice “skill” to add: if some ass hat tries to shove you, gasp and glare, or pull your bitchiest bitchface. It worked for me 2 days ago — the dude actually apologized!

  • Iram January 2nd, 2013 11:19 AM

    YAY! More Life Skills! Thank you so much Krista, it all helps a lot.

  • lubs January 2nd, 2013 12:10 PM

    I never thought on planning faking sick in advance. That’s brilliant and way better then my current method, the not-getting-ready-at-the-right-time-and-fake-crying-”NO-I-DON’T-WANNA-GO-PLEASE-DON’T-MAKE-ME”, which makes my mom kind of angry.

  • daisyauthority January 2nd, 2013 12:32 PM

    OMG Krista thank you so much for making this. I’m printing out a copy of this and life skills 101 and putting in my bag. And, I almost doubled over from laughter and fell off my computer chair after reading #5.


  • alisatimi January 2nd, 2013 1:30 PM

    These life skills articles are amazing, hope there’ll be more! About strangers harassing you in public places, I just wanted to add that you should never feel YOU are the one who has to get off the bus/leave the place/inconvenience yourself in any way if you don’t want to. Obviously, it’s better than doing nothing at all and might be the best option in some cases, but speaking up is always justified and surprisingly effective. Besides… am I the only one who gets a sense of satisfaction from throwing dark looks and yelling at creepy guys?

  • Laia January 2nd, 2013 2:27 PM


  • ♡ reba ♡ January 2nd, 2013 3:39 PM

    this article has drastically improved my quality of life. “crop-dusting” made me laugh so hard, thank you rookie!!!!

  • Isil January 2nd, 2013 4:05 PM

    It’s a bit late comment but I really hope you answer it. I’m too bad at talking with people on the phone. Especially when it’s my personal phone. When it’s my mother’s phone, or if I heard a phone ringing at work, I answer politely, “Oh, she’s not available right now. Maybe I can help you with it?”. When I answer different mobile phones from mine it’s probably a person I don’t know. But when it’s my phone, it’s more likely a person I know and I couldn’t recognize their sound. I try to make them talk to earn some time when I am trying to recognize their voices but I get too nervous and they understand that I don’t know them and they immediately tell their name. It’s really embarassing. How could I get over with it?

    • sophiethewitch January 3rd, 2013 10:45 AM

      I HATE THAT.

      Maybe if you answered the phone, “Hello, who is it?” before they had a chance to talk. Then, you won’t have heard their voice, so there’s no way for you to have known who they are. And since you’ve already asked, they’ll probably answer. Unless it’s one of those evil people who say “it’s me.” Thanks, I sort of figured it was “you”, now would you mind telling me who you are??

  • darksideoftherainbow January 2nd, 2013 4:45 PM

    this was so excellent and the fart section had me laughing out loud at my desk at work. SUPERB!!

  • Pearl January 2nd, 2013 5:31 PM

    I had a rather unfortunate encounter on a bus with the sort of ‘visual molester’ in my terms. The kind who stare incessantly even after you do the bitchface back at them. Some people never learn that it’s rude to stare! I changed my seats only to be followed by that same guy. He crossed the line when he “accidentally ” boob grazed me. So I gave a piece of my mind & told him to back off & it did make others aware about him & some people began sounding him off. He left immediately. So yeah sometimes it’s better if you confront the person who makes you feel uncomfortable.

  • Sharon January 2nd, 2013 5:39 PM

    “discreetly hold your butt cheeks apart” yes thank

  • llamalina January 2nd, 2013 6:54 PM


    A friend and I recently got harassed on the subway about a week ago, I just kind of looked at my lap and said nothing. I gave him a couple of dirty looks, but that was it. I didn’t want to make a commotion because he wasn’t touching me, but he was saying sexual things directed at my friend and I. I felt safe because there were other people on the bus and there was a man sitting opposite me who looked like he was ready to beat the asshole up if he made a move, and my friend and I got off at the next stop anyway. But now I kind of wish I’d done something big, like made some witty comeback or spit on his shoes or something. Whatever.


  • Hayley January 2nd, 2013 8:53 PM

    Three things:
    1. Where have these clogged-toilet tips been all my life. Seriously. So much embarrassment could have been avoided.
    2. Cheap tampons DO hurt! Don’t ever get cardboard applicators, they’re the worst. That thing is gonna be IN YOUR BODY for like 4+ hours, and you don’t wanna be squirming for that long.
    3. I get hiccups when I’m really tired, so the only thing that “cures” them for me is taking a little nap, or laying down for 5 minutes if I can’t do that.

  • Anjali N January 2nd, 2013 9:36 PM

    The toilet trick is the best thing I have ever learned. THANK YOU!

    As someone who just had to deal with removing blood from denim recently, here is my (fail-safe) guide. It works on all bloodstains on jeans that are less than two weeks old and are untreated. The most important thing is to NOT USE HEAT. No hot water or heat drying yet! Anyways. Salt is your friend here.

    1) First thing to do is to make a paste of 2 parts cornstarch, 1 part salt, and 4 parts cold water.

    2) Mix the paste well and then apply it on to the blood-stained parts of your jeans. (Lay a towel/wet wipes/whatever underneath the jeans; this will soak up the blood that will leak through.) Roughly apply more salt on top of the paste and on surrounding areas. You can rub it in with an old toothbrush if you’d like.

    3) Let the paste sit on your jeans for 30 minutes, by which time it will be completely dry. Scrape off the paste. (Don’t worry about getting it all off – you won’t). You should take off a good amount of blood with the paste, even if the stain isn’t fresh.

    4) Drop it in the washing machine with a good amount of detergent. WASH WITH COLD WATER ONLY.

    5) Take it out of the washer, and marvel at the complete disappearance of any blood stains! You can air-dry them or put them in the dryer now. If there are any lingering stains, repeat steps 1-4 before heat-drying.

  • AliceinWonderland January 2nd, 2013 10:20 PM

    Wow…I didn’t know I needed that clogged toilet information, but now that I have it, I don’t know how I ever could have survived without it.

  • ivoire January 3rd, 2013 12:57 AM

    honestly, i think hiccup cures are all very psychological! has anyone heard of the placebo effect? well yeah, i think that’s what’s going on.

    • Kathryn January 3rd, 2013 10:30 PM

      I think that is sometimes the case. Just this year I learned that if someone has the hiccups and someone else says something completely random and weird to them, the hiccuper will be confused and “forget” about their hiccups and they will go away. I think the “scare the hiccups out of you” technique works for the same reason.

      A spoonful of peanut butter also works sometimes (but you have to BELIEVE).

  • Gabby January 3rd, 2013 5:10 PM


  • Sea goddess January 3rd, 2013 6:19 PM

    oh how i loved this article!! it has many handy tips thank u rookie!! and yes DOLLAR STORE IS THE QUITE BEST <3

  • Tyler January 3rd, 2013 9:56 PM

    Another remedy for blood stains when you don’t have any cleaning materials/when you’re on the go/when the bleeding JUST OCCURRED and you’re FREAKING OUT: spit (seriously)! Blot the affected area with a tissue if you need and then spit onto it. Scrub it with your fingernail, a spare toothbrush you carry in your bag, anything that has the capacity to scrub. Spit does major damage control so that when you get home/to a place that has cleaning solution and a washing machine, you’re golden.

  • Betsy January 4th, 2013 1:20 AM

    this advice is great if only everyone in the world could read this. I agree so much with number one, i hate when i say to someone “that is such a pretty dress you are wearing” and they say something along the lines of “ewww i hate it , it is so gross, are you serious? I hate all my clothes they are just so ugly! ” that is so annoying.
    with number 3, I have found if you go and find a family with children then they are likely to be safe, and you can ask them to walk with you to your car or a safe place.
    with number eight it will be a lifesaver for when school starts, because we always have to go swimming at the start of the year and i really want to fake sick out of it.
    thankyou Krista for writing this article it is awesome <33333333

  • Maz January 4th, 2013 11:30 PM


  • Violet January 6th, 2013 9:56 AM

    I loved this SO, SO MUCH.
    Could it become a regular feature please? :)

    When investing in Q-tips, also make sure to be environmentally friendly:


  • reginageorge January 6th, 2013 4:59 PM

    That Latin is just wrong and as a geek I cannot move past it. :(

    (It’s ok, I still love your mad life skillz.)

  • reginageorge January 6th, 2013 5:21 PM

    Oh and I wanted to add, the advice about people who are making you uncomfortable is excellent. If a person IS following around public transportation, however, the moving advice still applies but be careful about where you go. Get closer to the driver or get off at a place that is not crowded but has enough people around who can dissuade the creeper. Some forms of transportation, like subways, have cameras in their cars and stations as well as ways to alert controllers or security that something is wrong. Unless the creeper is completely deranged, if they remember that they’re being watched it might dissuade them from trying to hurt you.

    Be careful when getting off the bus or subway, avoid empty stations and places you’re completely unfamiliar with. They may be preferrable in some cases but if you go that route make sure you locate the nearest safe place and go there immediately. Shops and places with cameras are good. Do not be chased away by the creeper if he’s not actively doing anything, just trying to freak you out and chase you away to a better place to corner you.

    (I hope this makes sense. Every situation is different but if someone is following you, do not panic and assess your options!)

  • bonjourminou January 11th, 2013 8:35 PM

    What a life-saver! I was in serious need of tip #7 (white sheets are just tempting fate), but reading #5 really hit the spot for a dose of the giggles.

  • whodatgal January 30th, 2013 3:44 AM

    Krista you mst right a book, seriously.

  • dottie February 24th, 2013 12:10 PM

    I have three bathroom tips:

    1) Also check for toilet paper before you pull down your pants. This may seem obvious but it is REALLY easy to forget and then not have toilet paper.
    2) Check and make sure you know how to flush the toilet. All of my friends have really weird fancy toilets and sometimes I need them to remind me how to flush them. I know, it sounds strange.
    3) Your best bet is to hold the flushy-handle thing down until most of the water is gone. That’s how I avoid clogged toilets.

  • Chaia Hanauer April 9th, 2013 9:14 PM

    This is my first day reading Rookiemag and i have already learnt so much! Super impressed, this is actually stuff that i didnt know that i needed to know, but now do/wut haha.. Not confusing at all.

  • Cutesycreator aka Monica May 27th, 2013 8:02 AM

    Excellent! Fantastic! Wonderful! 10/10! I really hope there’ll be a Life Skills 301 sometime soon :D

  • Clementine Rose November 9th, 2013 11:10 PM


    I love the fake sick tip- MOST useful indeed. Thank you, my Rookie friends. Infinite thanks.