Welcome to The FAQs of Life, R29's new advice column. Each week, Colette will offer her sage wisdom on modern life and all its stumbling blocks. If you've got a query you'd like her to take on, send it to FAQs@refinery29.com or leave it in the comments. The Q: What do you do if you experience a menstrual, uh, incident while staying the night in a new hookup’s bed? It happened to me recently: After an A+ night of sex with a gentleman I met on OkCupid, I woke up to discover that the bed looked like Carrie’s dress after prom. My companion was still sleeping. So, I ran. God forbid there's a next time, but if there is, what do I do?
The A: Bite the bullet. If you don't want to flee, there's only one option — since you probably can't have his bedding dry-cleaned while he's sleeping on it. But, there's good news: If your Tinder cutie is a human being on this earth who has dated other sexually mature women before you, he probably won’t be terribly surprised that you periodically discharge blood through your vagina. Breezily handle the situation with humor and candor (“Darren, you need to wake up. Either one of us was sleep-murdering last night, or I period-ed all over your covers”) and he’ll most likely follow your lead. Offer to order some breakfast while you wash the sheets. If you want to ensure that your date's bedding doesn’t permanently look like it was used in a Civil War tent hospital, pre-treat the stains with hydrogen peroxide and rinse in cold water. If the stains are too stubborn to be conquered, offer to buy the guy (or go halfsies on) some new, high-thread-count sheets as a replacement. If you never hear from your newly anointed blood-brother again, then he’s a fuckboy of the highest order and you should thank your period for revealing his true colors sooner rather than later. Sex involves bodies, which are known to emit strange fluids and make weird noises without regard or permission. When it comes down to it, fear of menstrual blood is juvenile and a touch misogynistic. If this guy can’t handle a vagina at its worst, he sure as hell doesn’t deserve it at its best.
The Q: I’ve been going to the same yoga studio every day for the past month or so, and everything is great, except for one thing: I let out the loudest fart of my life during my last class. I was stretching right by my instructor, and all of a sudden I just let one rip in the dead-quiet studio. I know for a fact everyone heard. For the rest of the class, I was bright-red and trying to decide whether I should acknowledge it or feign ignorance. Everyone was polite enough to pretend they couldn’t smell or hear anything, but I was so humiliated — I even skipped my next two classes! Can I ever return? The A: Since I have never in my life stepped into a yoga studio (my idea of working out is Drinkin’ to the Oldies, sorry not sorry), I asked Katie, a yoga expert (and my sister), for her thoughts on your vin-gas-a (see what I did there?). “You’re not supposed to eat for two hours before your class; you just found out why — the hard way,” Katie says. “Actually, the ideal time to do yoga is at the beginning of the day, because your body is relatively empty. When you allow your body to relax — your entire body — farts are inevitable. It’s just a part of yoga.” If you can’t stand the idea of turning your hot yoga session into a Dutch Oven, “make sure you stay away from foods that make you gassy,” my sister suggests. That means avoiding milk and milk products at breakfast. But, you really have nothing to be ashamed of: Yoga studios are intended to be safe spaces where you are invited to embrace your higher self and let go of tension. You know why the rest of your yoga classmates remained silent when you released the Kraken? Because they have done the same thing, probably more than once. Farts are universal. Everybody farts.
The Q: The other night, I was doing what I always do after a particularly stressful day of work: stalking my work crush on his Instagram account. I had just scrolled past week 54 when I made the gravest error anyone can make in that situation: I accidentally liked one of his Instagram photos...from ages ago. I immediately freaked out. He won't just know that I found his Instagram — it’s like he gets a push notification that says, “She’s stalking you.” Is there any way to save face, or do I just delete my Instagram account and quit my job? The A: Okay, this is legit terrifying. My immediate reaction to your question was to begin researching whether it is possible to join the Witness Protection Program without being invited first. (Nope!) There's nothing more embarrassing than having someone really see you — the truest version of yourself, which is the pantsless, mouth-breathing monster you turn into when you’re in the dark privacy of your own home. But, at the end of the day, "mystery" is overrated. Of course, you don’t want your crush to know that you're imperfect, but all humans worth knowing are a bit creepy and a bit crazy. So, try to relax. As far as damage control, the first thing you need to decide is whether or not to "unlike" the photo. That depends on whether your crush is the type of person to have push notifications turned on for Instagram. If he doesn't (is he a pretty low-key social media user?), you can make the like disappear. But, if he DOES have notifications (is he kinda selfie-obsessed?), he saw it, and that can't be undone. If you're unsure? Leave it. I know that's easier for me to say than for you to do, but, hey: You like him. It's not that terrible if he knows it. Leave a funny comment 'fessing up to your stalking, or joke about it the next time you see him. Confessing to it with a smile makes it seem like a funny slip-up — trying (and failing) to cover your tracks seems a lil' creepy.
The Q: The other weekend, I promised my friend that I would join her for brunch at this new restaurant in SoHo that she’s been dying to try — and then spend the rest of the day gallivanting around the city with her. But, when I woke up, it was snowing and the last thing I wanted to do was voyage out into the world. (Also, I still hadn’t gotten around to finishing Transparent.) So, I flaked. I sent my friend a text containing an elaborate lie about having to attend some family party. Of course, within a few hours, I completely forgot about my fabricated plans and took a bunch of Snapchats of me and my cat in my bed. My friend saw my Snaps, and knew that I'd lied about the whole thing. I was busted, plain and simple. What should I do?
The A: Flakiness is the plague of our generation. (Well, that and surprise album drops.) It’s particularly a problem among women. We are so afraid to say no to people, even our closest friends — especially our closest friends — that we end up overextending ourselves, agreeing to go to five different brunches when we really just need some time at home with House of Cards. So, we end up flaking, because we need to. The shitty thing about flakiness is that it’s completely selfish. But, weirdly, that's also the good thing about flakiness: It’s completely selfish — i.e., it has nothing to do with your friend. Now, you must repeat that over and over again until she fully believes it. Your friend is hurt because she feels disrespected and, more importantly, a bit unloved. No one wants to feel like they’re second fiddle to a Netflix show or a personal-pan pizza. Clearly, you do love your friend and want to spend time with her; you were just burned out, lazy, and unable to ignore the lure of watching YouTube videos of cats falling. You need to explain all of this to your friend and immediately propose a new date for a one-on-one hang sesh that you will commit to no matter what. Oh, and next time? Tell the truth. If you'd just said, "omg, I'm exhausted, I can't," you'd be off the hook right now.