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12:39 pm | 29 June 2004 | a swift kick to the humerus

Girls: I am about to dispense some invaluable advice that involves making guys like you more, so turn down the Hilary Duff, put down that Seventeen article about Mary-Kate's eating disorder, and cock an ear thisaway.

Do you ever notice how guys have their own weird HumorWorld where only other guys are funny? Do you ever notice how you and all your friends just looooove to laugh it up at the bar, even if it's just some knuckle-dragger making a thematic connection between the cherry in your Cosmo and the one you may have once possessed elsewhere, at least allegorically? D'you ever notice that even the driest intellectual male comedian, let's say Steve Martin, integrates some level of physical buffonery into his shtick, whereas the number of lady comics who just stand around making bitter comments re: the comic "Cathy"'s like-or-unlikeness to real life, is legion? And how you can just totally get a kick out of boys doing Boy Stuff, like jumping off mailboxes freestyle, but the second you try something like that, the needle of the Cosmic Turntable screams off the Record of Your Life, Track Two: Attempted Comedy, with the Scritchy Noise of Possible Shame, and alllllll the boys stop abruptly and look over at you like you just dropped in from Planet Other: Where It Is Possible to Be Funny And ALSO Possess a Vag? Yes? No? What? I was semi-shocked when one of my best friends, the fully inimitable Chmarasocks, said sometime last year "You are one of the only funny girls I know." Well, as is my way, I gave it some thought, and figured it the hell out. Ladies: I'm here to let you in on a little secret.

The secret is this: Quit worrying so goddamned much about whether you look "cool." "I'd really like to join my boy pals in making funny faces, but I'm worried that I'll smear my mascara or, mid funny-face, look really hideously, deformedly ugly, like Kirsten Dunst, and so I guess I will sit here and mooch moodily on my nonfat sugarfree decaf joyless latté while the boyz ham it up." You are being fucking lame. Introduce some fun into your life--see how "fun" and "funny" are related words? See how it might be, oh, i don't know, enjoyable to actually loosen the fuck up and wear a paper crown of your own making to the county fair, or sing "Oklahoma" with jiggy arm-swings and the Overanimated Disney Face of Musical Theatre? Aumse yourself and you might just amuse others! Give it a chance! Get funny today! clm !!

Potential disclaimer: This advice doesn't work with pathologically shy dudes, fellows who are into Nietzsche, and many other varieties of guy (vareguyeties? no?) who are lame, such as indie rockers. Such guys are too uncomfortable with themselves and their presence in the world to truly partake in the joy of being openly goofy, and in addition have excessive hangups about coolness that limit them to a a range of expressions and attitudes of precisely two: Surly and Discontent, but those boys are lame whiners who slouch around all day thinking up ways to suck Lou Reed's dick, so ignore them.

Potential dis-disclaimer: While the author understands that many people aren't as singularly enchanted by public spectacle as is she, she urges you to give it a chance. Additionally, it can be a good barometer as far as weeding out the above, whom you will eventually discover are closed-minded and boring companions--why not find that out sooner, rather than later? On date two or three, climb an impromptu tree or dance a hornpipe en route to the coffeeshop where he had so desperately hoped pithy-yet-flirty convos might ensue. If he bails, good riddance. If he looks on nervously, give him a two-date grace period and see if he'll shape up. If he joins in tentatively, that's a sweet sign because YOU, my little princess, can teach him to "open up!" and "be free!" and other hippie-ish bullshit, and he will adore you for it: a good 80% of my friends are thataway. Finally, if he joins in with exuberance, he is a keeper, but watch out: Public tapdancing means he is a total homo, no matter what protestations he makes to the contrary.

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