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Monday, November 15, 2004

How To
How to Get a Boyfriend, as Explained to Me by My 11-Year-Old Sister

Leigh Stein

  1. Wear glitter eye shadow. Ignore that he’s shorter than you by, like, a foot. Practice roller-skating, because that’s what you’ll have to do together, but don’t actually own any roller skates, because that’s just retarded. Don’t say retarded, it’s mean to retarded people. Remind him not to say it either, but then crack up when he starts yelling RETARDED RETARDED RETARDED just to be obnoxious during passing period. Watch as your best friend writes his name on your hand while you say, OHMYGOD DON’T STOP IT STOP IT I’LL CROSS IT OUT, but then don’t—cross it out, I mean. Look at it before bed. When he comes up to your locker to ask if you like him LIKE THAT, say, LIKE WHAT, and when he says, YOU KNOW, say, I’M GOING TO BE LATE FOR CLASS.
  2. If he asks you out when he already has a girlfriend, say, YOU CAN’T LIKE ME UNTIL YOU DUMP HER. Wait for that to happen; give it less than a week. Ask for a sip of his pop, because you know his mouth was on the same can. Rescue the can from the garbage and play the alphabet game with the tab until you get an N and put it on your necklace. Play the “I Love You” game, but mouth “olive juice” when it’s your turn and see if he notices. When he dumps her, say, YEAH I LIKE YOU LIKE THAT IF YOU LIKE ME LIKE THAT.
  3. Ask your mom if you can go to the mall with friends, but don’t say which friends and don’t say that it’s actually only one and he is actually only a boy. Ask to borrow his hoodie because you’re cold even though you’re inside at the mall. Hold his hand even though it’s hard because he’s short. Watch his lips when he eats french fries. Practice unwrapping Starbursts with your tongue at lunch. Be the first one of your friends to have a boyfriend. Show them the notes he folded like footballs that all say, I LOVE YOU. At the Halloween dance when he says, ARE YOU GONNA KISS ME OR WHAT, get nervous and freak out and just kiss his cheek.
  4. When he dumps you for being a prude, pretend you don’t care. Decide that the next boy who asks you out, you’ll stick your tongue down his throat no matter what.

Leigh Stein lives in Brooklyn, but not with Jonathan Safran Foer.