5. Farting and Getting Away With It

Maybe you’re the kind of person who doesn’t think twice about farting—it’s natural, right? If you have to fart, you fart, and that’s the end of it.

But maybe you’re not there yet. Maybe you just got a new girlfriend or boyfriend and they are not aware that someone as adorable as you farts like a Holstein cow. Maybe you’re alone in a public bathroom with your nemesis. Maybe you are always on the lookout for new and innovative ways to fart without anyone knowing it was you.

It just so happens I have two tips for you: (1) If you need to fart, try to get some distance from other people. Then discreetly hold your butt cheeks apart (hands on the outside of your clothes) and slowly, gennnntly, let it out. Go easy. The fart will be silent. Potent maybe, but silent. Practice with this one until you feel confident. (2) If you are around other people, you can do what my sister and I call “crop-dusting.” Move away from your original position and/or friends who will know it was you—act like you’re wandering aimlessly to check your phone or look at something, whatever—and then fart as you walk by groups of strangers, finally returning to your friends free of telltale stank.

6. Curing Hiccups for Real

Hiccups are annoying, though not quite as annoying as smartass friends offering useless hiccup cures. (Drink water from a glass upside down! Pinch the skin between your thumb and forefinger! Hold your breath!) I get them all the time—usually riiiight when I settle into a chair at the library, or I decide to flirt with a barista. So here is the Best Hiccup Cure I Have Ever Encountered: Get a glass of water. Take a HUGE sip. Hold the water in your mouth, and try to swallow it in eight or so separate swallows. The hiccups will nearly always desert you. #truestory

7. Removing Blood Stains From Sheets and Underwear

Let’s say you wake up in the middle of the night with a warm feeling “down there.” Yep, you bled through your tampon/Diva Cup/pad, your favorite underpants, and your jammies, onto the sheets. Awesome.

But, really, no biggie. Get up, take off the clothes that are bloody, even if the stains are already mostly dry, and dump ’em in the bathroom sink. Pull the sheets off the bed and put them in the bathtub. Stop up the drain in both the sink and the tub and run COLD water over everything, focusing extra water power on the stains. When everything has soaked, you’ve got lots of options:

  • Put club soda or fizzy water on the stains until they fizz, then blot off the stains.
  • Use a laundry stain stick. (I’m obsessed with this one.)
  • Use dishwashing soap and blot.

Then you can wash everything as usual in the laundry. Blood usually comes right out (unless you’re Lady Macbeth).

8. Faking Sick

Let us not talk about why you might need to fake sick. The point is the day may come when you do, and you’ll need to do a convincing job or you will shame me.

Many sick-shamming amateurs try to fake sick a lot, or on the day of whatever it is they don’t want to go to or do. This is obvious and childish, and requires little effort on an authority figure’s part to see right though. Therefore, the first key to faking sick is this: don’t do it very often, or you’ll have no credibility.

The second—and most important—key to faking sick? Start early. You need to plan. If it’s Thursday you want off, start coughing a little at the dinner table on Tuesday night. Don’t draw attention to yourself. If a parent asks you if you’re OK, say you’re fine.

Come Wednesday morning, it’s time to increase the coughing. It’s also time to look not-so-good, because the grooming routine is the third key to faking sick. Don’t wear any blush. If you usually wear eyeliner or eye shadow, don’t, but do the rest of your makeup as usual. You’ll look “off,” but no one will be able to pinpoint exactly why. If you have both glasses and contacts, it’s a glasses day. If you don’t wear makeup, consider either applying too much moisturizer (for a sweaty sheen) or none at all (for a dried-out, dull look). Whatever makes your hair look not-greasy, don’t use that, and don’t brush your hair too much either. At this point, if asked if you’re OK by anyone, still say, “I’m fine,” but do it in a weaker voice.

Come home markedly worse than you left. Run around the house or hold your head between your legs to get red cheeks before going inside, then draaaaag yourself through the front door (assuming a witness is home). Cough around adults. If asked to dinner, say you’re not hungry, and eat reeaalll slow. Don’t participate much. At this point, if someone asks you if you’re OK, say, “Yeah, I dunno. I’m not feeling too good.” People living with you will begin to remember that you’ve been kind of off for a couple days now. Maybe cough your way to the bathroom in the middle of the night, especially if the bathroom is located next to parent doors.

Thursday morning: showtime! This is where you need to pull out all the stops. Obviously, yes, keep coughing, and find an adult and say, “I don’t feel so well,” or maybe even, “I think I’m gonna throw up.” Head for the toilet. Do the nauseous hangout. Put your face over the bowl. If you don’t fake sick very often or almost never, this will usually do the trick. Plus, smelling toilet water might induce some plausible retching. For extra drama, you can always weakly protest a guardian’s decision to keep you home: “But I was supposed to hang out at [insert name of friend your mom doesn’t like]’s today!”

I always thought I was a brilliant sick-faker, but it turns out there is an even better one. It’s my friend Jen, whose mom is a registered nurse and was completely certain Jen was trying to trick her every single time she said she felt sick. Jen was forced to come up with advanced faking techniques such as the false high temperature, which she explains as follows: “Once your mom puts the thermometer in your mouth, and she’s sitting there watching you so you can’t run it under hot water or hold it up to a light bulb, make sure your mouth is completely closed, and then rapidly rub your tongue along the thermometer, as fast as you can. The friction creates a quick ‘fever,’ and it just looks like you’re swallowing spit.”

One parting word of advice: don’t try this on days when you can’t make up the test. ♦