4. Silencing Your Sneaks

Sometimes you need to get out of, or back into, a room in your house, and you need to do that silently. Let’s not dwell on why. I’m here to help you, no questions asked. I can’t really help you in the moment, so you need to prepare to creep around. Let’s start with the basics.

A creaky door can be a dead giveaway, so let’s fix it! Just get a tiny can of WD-40, shake it up, and spray the hinges of the door until they’re coated. Wipe away the excess with a paper towel. Spray inside the keyhole on the lock, if the door has one—your key will slide in effortlessly and quietly when you need to go in or out. If you’re sneaking in/out and dealing with a screen door that slams, remember that, and eaaaaase it shut.

Got squeaky hardwood floors? Wood floors creak because they’ve shrunk or expanded on the house or apartment’s foundation, or because they’re loose. For no-squeak creeping, walk as close as possible to the edge of the floor, where it meets the walls, even if that means taking the long way around a room. The floorboards are better supported by the house’s frame in these places, so they don’t squeak. If you’ve got squeaky stairs, either memorize where the stairs creak and avoid those steps, or walk with your feet on the sides of the stairs, where the stairs are most supported.

Mid-creep, if there is some reason you MUST speak to a friend (e.g., to warn them about the squeaky third step), remember what I learned in Girl Scouts: When you whisper, the hissy “S” sound carries the most and is most easily heard, so whisper with a lisp and the sound won’t carry. Or should I say, “Whithper with a lithp”?

All told, here are the three tenets of silent creeping: Plan for it, don’t do it too often, and be careful, my babes.

5. Carrying Something Without Spilling It

I hope you’re sitting down, because I’m about to give you a tiny tip that has actually changed my damn life. Yes. It’s been that dramatic.

I spill all the things. If you hand me something heavy or sloshy or delicate, I will drop it or slosh it. In the past, the rule of thumb for me was simply, Don’t hand me something like that, unless you want to see it all over the floor. A few years ago, I encountered a barista in Seattle who did not know this about me and handed me a giant latte filled all the way to the brim of a heavy ceramic cup, on a matching saucer. She watched as I carefully fixed my eyes to the mug’s foamy rim and took my oh-so-careful little steps to the table where I was sitting across the room…and then as the latte sloshed merrily out of the sides of the cup and onto the floor, like a vanilla-scented mini tidal wave of despair. I was so embarrassed—I’d been watching it carefully and going slowly! AUGH WHY WAS I SO CLUMSY???

The barista laughed, came over with a rag, and helped me mop up. “I’m so sorry,” I bleated. “I’ll make you another,” she said, and walked back behind the counter. “There’s actually a trick to not spilling stuff,” she said as she pulled the handle of the espresso machine. “All you do is walk slowly and DON’T LOOK AT THE THING YOU MIGHT SPILL. Look at the place where you want to go instead.”

I laughed at her. Clearly, she had no idea who she was dealing with. She finished making my drink, filled it to the top of the cup on purpose, handed it to me, and said, “OK, try it. Go slow. Look at your target—where you want to set the coffee down. DON’T LOOK AT THE COFFEE. Go. Show me.”

Like a wee toddler full of hope, except also clutching a giant cup of caffeine, I fixed my eyes on my table and took slow steps forward. And although it felt so wrong, and I could feel my coffee swaying dangerously…I made it to that table without spilling my drink! This technique works for everything—birthday cakes; pots full of spaghetti water; big heavy crates full of crap! Fix your eyes on where you want to go and don’t look at what you’re holding, and you’ll make it there without incident! This girl changed my whole life in 30 seconds! WHAT THE ACTUAL HELL.

6. Never Carrying a Purse

I have always hated carrying a purse because I lose them—I just set them down somewhere and never pick them up again. Also, I can never find a way to wear one that doesn’t (a) fall off my shoulder (b) separate my boobs weirdly (c) mess with my outfit and (d) make me feel ugh so gendered. Don’t men have stuff? Like house keys and phones and wallets and lip balm? Why don’t more men carry purses?

I’ll tell you why: Men, of course, have stuff they need to carry around, but men are also swimming in big, roomy, utilitarian pockets: Most pants cut for men have front and back pockets, and sometimes their shirts do, too. Men’s jackets have pockets on the outside, and often a secret pocket on the inside. On clothing cut for women, pockets are harder to come by, and WAY smaller. Purses exist because clothing cut for female bodies has no storage space. And then purse-carrying women sometimes get shit from non-purse-carrying men for having to carry stuff around with us! CAN WE LIVE?

WHY YES, WE CAN. If you don’t want to be bothered with a bag, or are looking to cut down on things you need to carry with you on a night out, YOU HAVE OPTIONS, my love.

Wear tall boots and tuck everything you own into them.

This is my go-to move. Chances are, if I’m wearing tall boots, which I am almost all the time, the sides of them are stuffed with my stuff. Inside my boots on an average night out, you’ll find: a thin wallet containing my housekeys (two keys detached from my main keyring and tucked into the wallet slits), my bus pass, my ID, $20, and a debit card. You’ll also find a comb, a skinny tube of lip stain, and sometimes even my phone, depending on how roomy the boots are at the calf.

I find that tall boots that have some sort of “give” to them work best—if the boots are tight and stiff around your calf, this won’t work. You need boots with a little wiggle room around the calf, and that way nothing works its way out of the top of the boot. I know this sounds bizarre, but it’s not uncomfortable at all—in fact, excepting the phone, you barely notice it! And nothing slips out. I like the feeling of knowing exactly where my ID and debit card are at all times when I’m out at night. They’re touching my leg! I’m freeeeee of straps, bags, and big wallets! Let’s go dancing, I have nothing in my hands, and nothing to lose!

Wear your house keys around your neck on a chain.

Or as earrings. Or, you know, dangling from your belly button ring. Whatevs.

Put stuff in your bra.

If you’re wearing any type of bra, you can tuck your money and ID in there, and you’re good to go for the night.

Get a cool utility belt or fanny pack and clip it around your hips.

Like this! Or this, or this! Look, Ma, no hands!

Tuck stuff into your awesome thigh wallet!

My friend has one of these, and I always forget about it and then gasp at how cool she is when she gets something out of it.

Wear your wallet on your arms.

Love wrist wallets.

There are endless non-purse options for stashing your stuff.

7. Peeing Standing Up

You’re at an outdoor concert and you have to pee. You can’t hold it; you will piss yourself in a few seconds. You make it with zero time to spare to the nearest Port-o-Potty, open the door, and discover a literal shitstorm. This Port-o-Potty can’t have been cleaned in a month—there is urine, wadded toilet paper, and worse all over the floor, rim, and walls. Oh my god, the stench is unbearable. There is nowhere to squat, and there is no toilet paper.

No worries, because you’re about to master a TRUE LIFE SKILL that will save you in that and plenty of other gross situations. A secret: People with vaginas can totally piss standing up without getting pee all over themselves. All you need to practice it is a shower, lots of patience—it’s hard to get it down pat, but completely worth it—and a willingness to touch your parts. Here’s how:

Step One: Drink a lot of water, and then, when you really need to pee, head to the shower.

Step Two: Get into the shower and put your feet shoulder distance apart. Reach down to your labia minora—not the big lips of your vulva, but the little lips surrounding your vagina and urethra (pee hole). Spread your labia minora open with your fingers. If you’re going to pee in a an unbroken stream, you need to keep the opening to your urethra unobstructed.

Step Three: Push your hips forward and let ’er rip! Pee as hard as you can in the beginning to start the flow and force it forward into an arc. Continue peeing, using your fingers to adjust how you hold your labia minora, and adjust your stance to get it just right.

Step Four: As you sense you are running out of pee, push down as hard as you can to stop the flow neatly and with force, instead of in a drizzling, running-out-of-steam trickle.

Step Five: Clean yaself. Take your shower as ushe.

A sprinkling (yes!) of encouragement: You will probably not get this on the first try, but get back up on the ol’ pisshorse. Practice does make perfect, especially if your idea of “perfect” is being able to pee with impunity and impress the hell out of your friends forever. <3 eventually, you will be able to do this standing up in a gross bathroom stall, into urinal when need use the one-stall men’s bathroom, and outdoors bushes. you’ll pee off deck! my god! it’s so wonderful! if can’t (or don’t want to) get down pat, there’s always this thing. It’s a portable little plastic funnel that cups your vaginal area and lets you pee standing up, no touching yourself required! Peeing freedom for everybody!

All right, cadets, we’ve covered a lot of ground this year. You’ll be breaking down doors to rescue babies, ditching purses, eatin’ cheap, peeing anywhere you want, and creeping around like professional spies in no time! Go forth, Rookie graduates, and CONQUER 2015! ♦