It’s the middle of summer, and so far I have spent my holidays hanging around the house almost 24/7. I don’t really have any close friends, and I don’t know what to do with the next six weeks. I don’t want my holidays to be a complete waste. I live in a small village that is quite remote. I am 16 and not legally allowed to drive in my country yet. So, Rookie, what should a loner like myself do to occupy her time? —M.

First off, whatever you do with your summer, it will not be “wasted.” Don’t be so hard on yourself! There’s nothing wrong with taking it easy.

It’s totally OK to be a homebody and/or a loner, if that’s what you want. But if you’re feeling down and you still don’t want to venture out into the world, there’s plenty of stuff you can do at home that will make you feel like you have accomplished something with your free time. Make a list of books you’ve always wanted to read and read them all; watch as many films as possible by a particular director; listen to all the albums of an unfamiliar band. You could write poetry, learn to play the guitar, start a zine, or rip up all your old magazines and make a collage. Exercising can actually be fun—try my favorite way to break a sweat: blasting music and dancing like mad.

But if you’re feeling cooped up and bored, you should try and get out of the house and explore the area around you, as familiar as it might seem. If you live in a small town, walk around, and maybe even find little places to make your own. If you have a bike, you can ride around and, depending on your stamina, really go far. If you want to get some real distance without a car, figure out where you can catch a bus or a train—public transportation is always going to take you somewhere interesting. I find libraries, museums, and art galleries are the best kinds of places to not feel lonely.

When you’re heading out on your own, grab a good book, some food, maybe a camera, maybe something to play music on. Sometimes silence is nice, but music makes you feel less alone. I always think it’s really fun to explore with my headphones on, as if my adventures have their own soundtrack. You could make a different playlist for each week of the remaining summer holiday.

If you don’t have any close friends around and you are thirsting for company, you can try to make some new friends, online or in person. When you don’t limit yourself, I find that you can strike up a conversation with just about anyone. If you want to hang out with a new friend, then don’t be shy: seriously, just ask them. They will probably be flattered. I was awful at this when I was 16, but now that I am 18, it’s much easier to put myself out there. I now know that it isn’t that big of a deal.

If no one’s around, there’s nothing wrong with doing things alone: it’s a perfect opportunity be independent, to get to know yourself. Think of it as an adventure and you are the heroine. Do things that make YOU happy. Other people won’t get in the way of your plans or complain.

Finally, don’t stress! This is your time to relax and open your mind and enjoy your time off school—that is all you really have to do. —Naomi

I have pretty bad cellulite on the backs of my thighs. Lately it has been making me feel really horrible about myself. I’m constantly worried about how my legs look, and it keeps me from wearing some of the things I want to wear. I wish I could appreciate my legs. I’ve decided to start exercising to try to counteract it; I was wondering if there was anything else I could do? –R.

Dear R.,

Even though it’s gross that tabloid magazines make cover stories out of celebrity cellulite, I will admit that I kind of love seeing non-airbrushed pictures of famous people’s backsides. The reason I find it so delightful is that it reminds me that no one is immune to the thigh dimple. Reese Witherspoon, a Real Housewife, Beyoncé: we’re all human! Cellulite is part of the package. I’m sorry to hear that it’s making you feel self-conscious. I’ve had cellulite for as long as I can remember, and there are a handful of things that I won’t wear because of how they would make my thighs look—hot pants, say—but when it gets to be 90 degrees, I will happily wear dresses that are just as short, for maximal air-conditioning. You know why that is? Because I want to wear whatever makes me feel good.

And you should too! Your legs are your friends! They carry you around all day long! Wear things that make you feel comfortable. Does that sometimes mean that some things might be off-limits? Yes. I have about a million pieces of clothing in my closet that I bought because they cost a dollar or were just too cute to resist but never, ever, ever wear because they were made for someone with a different kind of body than mine. I don’t mean a better body or a worse body, just a different body. My waist is the smallest part of me, and whenever I put on a dress that’s tight around the waist and then flares out, I feel gorgeous and fun and like I have the cutest little bod in the world. I love the ’20s and the ’60s but whenever I try on shift or drop-waist dresses, I feel nothing like Twiggy. And so I don’t wear those. Being a girl means figuring out what both flatters your body AND makes you happy.

Of course, exercising is good, not because it will make your cellulite vanish—because it most likely won’t—but because exercising will make you feel accomplished and strong. Combine that feeling with a dress or skirt or shorts that fall just a smidge above the knee, and you are in business. Also, I will never ever forget this one issue of Sassy magazine from approximately 1994 in which Kim France (who went on to be the editor of Lucky) talked about her “Kim France Pants,” which were black bike shorts that she wore under her very short skirts. A perfect (and timeless) solution. –Emma S.

I am 18 and not exactly a party animal. Neither are my friends. We’ve been wondering how clubbing works. Like, do they have coat checks? Because I don’t want to carry around a handbag while getting my “groove” on. Is it expected that I wear five-inch heels? Because I can’t dance in those. Do you have to pay to get into clubs? Is there a drink minimum? Is it like going to a high school dance? Because I totally hated those. Basically: is it worth it? Thanks, Mimi.

Those girls you sometimes see lined up outside a club, shivering in body-con dresses? Inveterate clubgoers. They know the only way to roll is with your bare essentials. Always leave your junk in the car if you can. Bringing a coat into the club is an invitation to have someone steal it or nab shit from your pockets, whether or not you check it. Some people don’t mind dancing with a small purse, but I find it super annoying. I really like to keep it minimal. I have clubbed with my girlfriends deep in the Midwestern winter: one of us just brought a BIG bag, and we all stuffed our coats into it and put it in the middle of us while we danced. I personally am a fan of wearing something that you can fit an ID and $20 somewhere where it will stay put—deep inside the bra or in a small pocket. I am totally one of those chicks that keeps a twenty her sock. No one is gonna steal my sock dollars, and I can do all the dance moves I want, because I am not holding a clutch or a coin purse with my bus pass in it.

The only clubs I know of with a drink minimum are strip clubs and comedy clubs, so I wouldn’t sweat that so much. The clubs you are talking about going to, ones that admit 18 year olds (I am assuming you do not have a fake ID since you don’t mention it), are likely more clubby-clubs, not just a bar with a good DJ. If you are going to a specific club, check their website/Facebook/Twitter to find out if they charge a cover fee or have any specials. Clubs are usually looking to attract women, so lots of times there will be a reduced cover for ladies before a certain time.

In my experience, these kinds of places are big, cheesy-ish clubs, usually downtown, with valet parking and B96 hits all night. They can be super fun, especially for people-watching and just, like, running to the dance floor with your girls when your song comes on or quietly mocking cheeseball dudes who are hitting on your friend.

Double check that the club doesn’t have a strict dress code, like “no street sneakers” or something. Otherwise, feel free to bust out your tennies or your Toms or your huaraches if that’s going to help you dance all night all night all night long. I like dancing in heels, but I like a mid-rise chunky/platformy heel for better balance. Mimi, you should wear whatever you feel comfortable dancing in, and whatever makes you feel cute! It is summer! Thrift yourself a new dress for the occasion. (Check to make sure you can move your arms in it, though.)

Going out to a club is not like a high school dance. Most of the people there don’t know each other. People go out in small packs mostly to hang with each other, or to shop for some cute company. Your night might be corny and weirdly boring, or it might be super fun. I love dancing with my friends so much that the only thing that really matters is whether the DJ plays the songs that get us moving. If the music’s right you can dance all night. —Jessica H.

My boyfriend came out to me the other day and ended our relationship. I told him we could still be friends, but I’m so, so angry with him. I feel like he used me and lied to me, but we have a lot of classes together next year, and I don’t want things to be awkward. Also, I can’t tell any of my friends the real reason we broke up, because he isn’t ready to come out to everyone yet. What should I do? Sincerely, Julia

I know no one wants to hear “I know how you feel,” but in this case—Julia! Holy cats! I ACTUALLY KNOW HOW YOU FEEL. This happened to me, too! I dated a boy in high school for almost a year who later came out to me, and like you, I felt angry, hurt, confused…God, I felt a lot of things.

The relationship ended on friendly terms, but honestly? I felt like he had used me as a cover-up. I wondered whether he had ever been attracted to me at all. I mean, we had kissed! We had snuggled! We had, um, done a lot more than that! WAS IT ALL A LIE??? Did he actually find me…gross? Was he thinking about guys during make-outs when I was thinking about him? And he never told me until the end, even though I was closer to him than anyone else, and I had told him all of my secrets. EXCUSE ME, asshole. I’m not here for that.

I was so angry. But now that I’m older, and also gay myself (in high school I mostly liked boys–I didn’t totally figure out that I was only interested in women until I was about 21), I can see how completely confusing the situation was for everyone involved.

My boyfriend, whom we’ll call Jeff, was young and scared. Like me, he was attracted to the opposite sex, but NOT NEARLY AS ATTRACTED as he was to his same sex. Basically, he was not totally-for-sure-certain that he was gay yet and not ready to handle being out in high school. Maybe he was just a late bloomer or just hadn’t found the right girl yet. Jeff admitted later that he was experimenting with me, making a kind of last-ditch effort to be sure he wasn’t mistaken about his orientation.

But it turned out Jeff really was gay. And when he told me, I was furious. He begged me not to tell anyone, so I couldn’t even get the I-just-broke-up-with-my-boyfriend pity-party I was entitled to have with my friends! RUDE!

Julia, I think it’s commendable that you still want to be friends with your ex-boyfriend. Jeff and I are friends to this day. But I also think you’re allowed to be mad for a while. It’s valid to feel lied to and used—who wants to be a cover? Ultimately, you have to remember that the situation might not be crystal clear for him. He wouldn’t have dated you if he didn’t like you. And he might be figuring things out as he goes along. It’s possible he is (or was) attracted to both boys and girls.

If I could go back and do it differently, I would have reacted to Jeff’s confession with a little more empathy. It can be scary to realize you’re gay, especially in high school. The world is still not safe for the young and queer. Please don’t out him. He’ll come out to everyone when he’s ready. Tell your friends “it just didn’t work.” Relationships are based on friendships, and real friends hold each other accountable for how they hurt each other, but still give each other empathy when it’s needed. —Krista

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