Step 2. Shave your face.
Step 3. Treat yourself to a compulsive psychological episode. In the getting-ready process, most micro-breakdowns manifest when you’re taking a shower. So strip down, put on some tunes, and brace yourself. Speaking of music selection, there’s a pre-made Spotify playlist called “Night At The Strip Club,” and it’s an excellent choice for background music when preparing for a romantic night on the town. So press play and body-roll your way through the entire Ying Yang Twins catalog. Then experience the sudden, overwhelming dick-punch of reality when you think to yourself, Oh God! I’m about to go on a date with someone for the first time! What am I doing?!
Step 4. Towel off and blow-dry your hair. Pro Tip: Your hair should be 60-to-65 percent dry before blow-drying with a brush.
Step 5. Direct a series of questions at yourself. Some should be practical, like “Do I have money in my checking account?” And some can be more existential, like “How did I fuck up my life so dramatically?” But each one should be accompanied by a palpable rush of terror and self-deprecating anger.
Step 6. Amplify this episode by giving yourself insufficient time to get ready. Never get ready too early. This will help you avoid downtime to mull over new worries. This also backfires when you end up sprinting from room to room — trying to make your face and body pass for fuckable.
Step 7. Stand in front of a full-length vertical mirror. Here, you will study your reflection and question how you achieved this toneless, adolescent build. With the possibility of sex looming in the near future, take this opportunity to yell at yourself for all the drugs, alcohol, and Taco Bell you’ve consumed over the course of a lifetime. Pinch every flab. Blame your parents for shitty genetics. Curse God for letting you develop into someone who’s perpetually recovering from the night before. You look fat and skinny. You look too young and too old. You are a physical paradox. And somehow you have a date tonight.
Step 8. FUCK! YOU HAVE A DATE TONIGHT! Get your shit together! No time for crying. Crying can wait ‘til later when you’re drunk and alone.
Step 9. Have a drink. Right now. Slip on your underwear and yank up your socks, then hustle to the kitchen and shotgun a Michelob Ultra. That’s better, you’ll think to yourself. You’re going to be fine.
Step 10. Spend the next few minutes ironing your outfit in hurried brush strokes. At this point, you won’t necessarily feel calm but you will feel like you’re going to make it.
Step 11. Return to the mirror, fully dressed.
Step 12. Look at yourself. Take it all in. Then, feel yourself come undone. There’s discoloration on your sleeves and a stain on your collar. You generally hate the outfit. Grit your teeth and cover your face with your hands so you don’t have to see what’s in front of you.
You wish you had nicer things.
You wish you made more money.
You wish this wasn't you.
Step 13. Go ahead, treat yourself to a nice, long cry.
Step 14. Snap out of it! Run cold water and dab your eyes and cheeks. Then find the clothes you wore to work yesterday and toss them into the dryer with a Bounce Sheet and an ice cube. Open Spotify and change “Night At The Strip Club” to “Angry Workout Jamz.” Turn the music all the way up as you latch your knock-off Rolex and mist a Birchbox cologne sample across your neck. Then tell yourself, Fuck. This. I did not spend two days trying to convince some boy on Grindr — who works in retail no less — to be interested in me, just to break down in overtime. This is happening. Right. Fucking Now.
Step 15. Moisturize.
Step 16. Somehow muster the confidence to leave the house and go to dinner with someone you barely know.
Step 17. Later, when you’re sitting across the table from a perfect stranger, experience an entirely new dimension of horror as you agree with ideas you don’t believe and pretend to be someone you’re not.