So many of you have come to me with questions, asking things like “Allison, what’s the Zoom link for this event?” And I’ve had answers because I’m wise (and because it’s my job). So, let’s make it official – like Facebook official – and take our relationship to an advice column. I’m here for all your questions, big or small, on any topic. Because I love you (and because it’s my job).
xo Ask Allison
Dear Ask Allison,
How do I shut down small talk?
I Hate Everyone
Dear I Hate Everyone,
First of all, great name! Now for your question. Most of us (aka women) have been trained to be polite and tolerate situations we don’t want to deal with, from small talk to getting kidnapped and being forced to rob several banks. But here’s the good news – shutting down small talk is much easier than most people think! Here are a few tried and true techniques for never discussing the weather, traffic or other people’s children again.
The Corey Hart
Like the man says, wear your sunglasses at night. But don’t stop there. Wear them during the day, too. Wear them indoors and outdoors. Wear them to the dinner table and when you go to bed. Mirrored glasses are especially effective, as the potential small talker will get confused and think he’s about to make small talk WITH HIMSELF! (Even he’s not that much of a masochist.) As a bonus, he may think he’s existing in two parallel realities at once, which will keep him busy as you make your escape. No one will talk to you if you use this technique, including your family.
The Johnny Cash
This technique works particularly well in a crowded elevator, sitting in a banquette at a restaurant – really anywhere you’re in close proximity to the small talker. Lean into the offender, so your mouth is just about to, but doesn’t quite, brush his ear. Whisper, “I shot a man in Reno just to watch him die.” If you want to personalize this technique, change up the city – kill a man in Tokyo, Paris, Newark – have fun with it! Next, pull away slowly and maintain eye contact, a small smile playing on your lips that’s meant to say – This isn’t a smile, this is a warning. I’d just as soon kill you as get off on the 27th floor. Next, if at all possible, take out your knife and start cleaning your nails with it.
The Lionel Richie
Hello. It is you they’re looking for. As soon as you get even a soupcon of a whiff of small talk coming your way, take a very important phone call. I don’t care if you have to sing your ring tone out of the side of your mouth, make it happen. Put your phone to your ear, throw up the “one minute” hand gesture, mouth “Sorry, have to take this” while pointing to your phone, and walk away. Keep walking. Never stop walking. Never look back.
Dear Ask Allison,
What’s the best cure for a hangover?
I Can’t Find My Credit Card
Dear I Can’t Find My Credit Card,
There are people who would say the best cure for a hangover is to quit drinking. We’ve never even met those people. We drink too much, get headaches that feel like someone is scooping out the inside of our head like a cantaloupe and we rise again, like the undeterred phoenix. So, let’s talk about what we can do to make the ride on the struggle bus a couple stops shorter.
You’re probably familiar with the usual cures: hydrate, hair of the dog, find the old woman who lives in the thatch house in the forest and have her cast a cloaking spell on Riesling. But if you want something sure fire (no offense, Evanora, keep those spells coming!), consider following these simple rules.
01 — When you’re hungover, the first thing you should do is moan. Really make some noise, and for flourish, hold your head in your hands. Not only does this loosen the brain, but it’s also just the right amount of self-pity, and it alerts people around you that you’re going to be useless for however much of the day is left.
02 — Do not, under any circumstances, put on pants with structure. Your pants must stretch. This allows for blood flow…around everywhere your blood flows.
03 — No sitting upright. Also consider crawling from room to room or dragging yourself on your stomach. Be lying down at all other times. By lying down, you put your head on the same level as your feet. Which is nice.
04 — Watch a dance movie marathon. Don’t get fancy. This isn’t the time to tackle the Criterion Collection, but it IS the time to watch Step Up, Step Up 2: The Streets, Step Up 3, Step Up Revolution and Step Up: All In. (Side bar: I just realized I missed the latest Step Up movie. WTF)
05 — Eat everything. I’m talking back of the freezer everything.
06 — Meditate. Repeat the mantra I will never drink again as long as I live. This meditation works best in the Fingers Crossed Behind Back pose.
PS: You dropped your credit card in the Uber you took home from the bar.
Dear Ask Allison,
When is it appropriate to block someone on social media?
Asking For An Enemy
Dear Asking For An Enemy,
Any time anyone posts something positive about Love Actually, it’s appropriate to block them. I doubt this is the answer you were looking for, but I must live my truth.