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Jess and Katie to the Rescue! You can mess it up; we can work it out.

Lifeguard Barbie saves the day by performing mouth-to-mouth in style. We have other, less intimate methods.

Shit happens.

In fact, the likelihood of shit happening often increases with direct proportion to your proximity to a boy you like. We’d like to protect you from clumsiness, cruelty and catastrophe but, just as a coed will locate a keg in a crowded room, tragedy will inevitably find you.

What we can do is provide you with virtually fail-proof techniques for emerging from even the stickiest of situations relatively unscathed. See our step-by-step solutions to ten common disasters as demonstrated by our favorite plastic and part-less models, Barbie and Ken.

It’s easy to mess up your text messages when you have hearts instead of letters and numbers on your keypad.

You text him something you meant to text your friend about him.

  1. Follow it up with another text as if you still have not realized your error. This is especially crucial if your first text was kind of mean. This follow up text should say something like, “But I still like him so much/we had the best time last night/I can’t wait to see him again/omg, he’s so cute!!!!/etc.”
  2. Text him again and say, “Oh did I send that to you? SO embarrassing, I meant to send it to my sister.” Sisters are safe; otherwise he’ll think you intended to spread the word to your entire sorority listserv. If you do not have a sister, name a best friend that he knows, and if he doesn’t know, say “my best friend [name].”
  3. Don’t do it again. Sloppy texting is unacceptable.

Turns out you got with three of his friends, each at a different decade-themed party.

You realize you’ve already hooked up with one of his friends.

  1. When introduced to this friend, just say, “Oh, we’ve met.” Pretending you haven’t met is stupid.
  2. While you shouldn’t deny your history, play down the previous encounter as much as possible. You don’t have to report on his terrible kissing skills (remember, they’re friends), but the less you talk about it, the more it will look like a non-issue.
  3. If your boy won’t leave it alone, suggest that if he can’t think of anything better to do with his mouth while you’re around besides talk about some other guy, you can just leave. That ought to shut up him really fast.

If you were ugly-ponytail-and-outfit Barbie getting with Rastifarian-shirt-and-bad-hair Ken, you wouldn’t want anyone to see you, either.

You get walked in on while hooking up.

  1. Don’t pretend you weren’t hooking up. “We were just watching a movie.” Um, with what, your toes?
  2. Make sure you’re decent, then acknowledge your intruder with a polite yet loaded question: “Did you need something?”
  3. Hopefully this person will reply with, “No, never mind!” and leave you be. Chances are he or she is just as humiliated as you are.

“Of course I can walk in these!”

You stumble like a drunken fool in your four-inch heels.

  1. This accident is not unlike a plane crash: valuable cargo is tumbling to the ground from a very high altitude. Proceed with caution.
  2. Following airline protocol, do not panic. Rather, seek the assistance of others. There’s only one thing more embarrassing than clinging to your friends for support, and that’s sitting on the ground like an uncoordinated mess.
  3. After you’ve made sure you haven’t suffered any wardrobe malfunctions, keep calm and carry on. Also, consider retiring the shoes.

Loves it.

You tell him “I love you!”… by accident.

Note: You might be thinking, “Who does that?” But really, we’re a very enthusiastic people. To the Internet repair guy who fixes the wireless: “You’re a lifesaver! I love you!” To the waiter who brings you food when you’re famished: “This is amazing; I love you!” To the guy you’re only kind of seeing whom you like-like but don’t love: “You found my iPod? I love y—.” Oh, crap.

  1. Laugh it off. Generally speaking, we think real drugs are the best medicine. In this case, however, laughter will suffice.
  2. Whatever you do, don’t say the word “love” again that day. Even if it means laying off Love Actually references for 24 hours.
  3. Alternatively, you may also try saying “love” as many times as humanly possible to diffuse the meaning and prove you use the term casually. Risky but, when done correctly, effective. Your call.

This is what his face will look like if you kiss his cheek by mistake.

You miss the kiss.

  1. If he tried to do that European thing and kiss both sides of your face (this is especially hard to anticipate when he’s in fact from the U.S.), don’t feel bad about messing it up. He’ll give you a second try when you say goodbye.
  2. Following lots of weird eye-fucking, he goes for the mouth and you go for the cheek. Happens all the time! This is the best worst scenario. What’s he going to do: not give you another shot at making out with him? Laugh, stop laughing, kiss.
  3. We understand if you don’t want his tongue in your mouth. Ew, swine flu. The best way out is back. Take a step away from him or just lean in the opposite direction. If you’re into him but not his tongue, hand-holding and other G-rated gestures are excellent ways to keep (just enough) contact.

“Ken, I’m so glad you got over that time at your parents’ house!”

He takes you to meet the parents… and you clog their toilet.

  1. Wow, give us a second. That really sucks.
  2. Plunger? If you’re like us and have never dealt with such equipment before because you call your dad to handle these things, don’t hurt yourself. It’s like native New Jerseyians trying to pump their own gas. Leave it to the pros.
  3. You know, this is really a great test of your relationship. If he still hangs out with you after this and doesn’t ever bring it up again, you should probably marry him.

“What do you mean, ‘Smartie necklaces are for little girls’? This relationship is OVER.”

You make fun of something (or someone) he loves.

  1. Think fast. Is this a salvageable situation? For instance, if you get into his car and say, “What is this shit?” and his reply is, “The music? It’s my band,” save yourself by saying, “No, this stuff on my jeans. What the hell… oh hey, this music is awesome! Is that your band?”
  2. Maybe you’ve gone too far. “Did you see that girl at the bar last night who looked like such a whore wearing that slutty top as a dress?” Him: “That was my sister.” Eek. This one merits a two-part solution. First, excuse the initial offender. “Oh, she could pull it off.” Then widen the attack to everyone but the initial offender. “Most girls would not look hot in that.”
  3. Avoid charged language (whore, slut, etc.) for the rest of the night.

“Wait, I thought you said you made those hair twists all by yourself. Now that we’re close, I can see that four of your fingers are stuck together. How is that possible?”

You get caught in a lie.

  1. Do not pretend you did not lie. You have been caught.
  2. Be quick and clever. When possible, kindly explain (read: pretend) that you have been “misheard.” Like “I’m in glee club” was actually “I’m interested in glee club” or “I have a friend from high school who is in glee club.” A high school friend is the best fallback because most people won’t know your high school friends’ activities. Still, proceed with caution. You’re weaving a tangled web, and we’re pretty sure honesty is safer.
  3. If he still won’t let it go and it’s not a big lie, just flatter him out of his anger and admit you “exaggerated” because you thought he was hot and wanted an excuse to talk to him. Who doesn’t want to hear that?

“I used to have a gold crown but my ex-girlfriend broke it.”

You break something valuable (sentimental or otherwise) of his.

  1. Immediately apologize, sincerely but not profusely. Do not cry; it’s not about you. Saying sorry multiple times reminds him of your accident and makes you seem annoying.
  2. If the item can be repaired, help fix it, but stay within the realm of the possible. You’re not a technician, so call Dell to fix the laptop on which you spilled hot chocolate.
  3. If the item is irreparable, do not linger at the place of death. Apologize once more, tell him to call you if there’s anything you can do, and peace out.
  4. On replacing the item: If you can locate the exact same thing (we mean down to the model number), go ahead and buy him a new one. If you can’t, don’t get the “almost right” thing. “Almost right” is a euphemism for “wrong.” Instead, do something nice and non-related. Just stick with consumables (baked goods are ideal) because anything permanent will forever be associated with you and your screw-up.
Katie most enjoys friends, non-fiction, and dessert. She graduated from University of Pennsylvania and is a contributing editor at Glamour magazine.
Jess (Penn ’11) left her Pleasantville-esque hometown of Berkeley Heights, New Jersey to study English and creative writing. At Penn, she has been an editor of 34th Street magazine and its blog, underthebutton.com. Jess is also the Adventure Editor of The Lost Girls travel website. If you find a way to score her Bruce Springsteen tickets, she’ll probably marry you or at least make out with you. She had a pretty deprived childhood (no TV allowed on school nights) and is compensating for lost time by consuming pop culture like Don Draper downs martinis. This summer she worked as the entertainment intern at Seventeen magazine, where she hugged Kellan Lutz. Unrelated fun fact: Jess is a book nerd who will read just about anything that is not a Twilight book. Sorry, Kellan.
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