The Bellwether Review

                                 10 Things You Should Know Before You Meet Her
                                                                                  by Sophie Giberson

1. She’s Drunk.

            You haven’t opened the bottle yet, but her eyes don’t leave the red cups for a second. She’s drunk on intention—already full of the warm nervous bubbles.

2. She Thinks You’re Cute.

            No, she doesn’t laugh at your joke, but that’s because it’s not very funny and a little misogynistic so really she throws you a bone with the wan smile. Yeah, she won’t be saying much but that’s because—

 3. She’s Nervous.

            The awkward half-stand-half-sit, the slightly too much eyeliner that’s intended to be mysterious but borders on sleepy, the way she keeps fixing her hair and then fixing the fix because she’s messed it up in the process—all proof. Boys like you make her nervous. Boys with too much hair that’s combed too little. Boys who are nice to animals even when they think no one is watching. Boys who can talk. You’ve only checked your phone twice since you’ve been there and that’s will have to be some kind of record. It’s not the fake fireplace, or the folky dance music that requires dancing, or the alcohol—okay it may be a little bit due to the alcohol—but mostly, it’s you that’s making her face turn red all the way down to her collarbone. There’s a difference between nervous and uncomfortable. She’s nervous. You are making her nervous. Don’t stop.

4. She Doesn’t Smoke.

            Let her pretend she does—she’s really nervous. And she really doesn’t smoke pot (“at least not recently”). So when she burns her thumb trying to light the ashes of the (shitty) bowl, pretend not to notice. She’ll pretend not to notice you pretending not to notice but she’ll smile when you offer her your cigarette—already lit.

 5. She Really Does Like Nirvana and Hate Bukowski.

            —but she’s talking about it so much to impress you. Disagree with her. She’ll like that you consider her opinion worth enough to counter.

 6. She Doesn’t Have “Daddy Issues”.

            like she lightly jokes. It’s not an anecdote. She’s actually kind of fucked up. Deeply (and she assumes) irrevocably. Don’t freak out and consider it your job to fix her or kiss her scars and bring her back to the light like all of the pseudo-God-complex John Lennon Syndrome John Green Effect teen literature that you’re supposed to consider the height of romance. She’s fine. She’s dancing. She’s sad, but she doesn’t need fixing. Trying to alleviate the weight on her shoulders will only remind her of it so respect her ability to take care of herself, squelch the misplaced Herculean pride, and go dance with her.

 7. Yes, That Really Is the Face She Makes When She Dances.

            and yes, it’s genuine. She enjoys it that much and it’ll kind of distract you from how bad of a dancer she actually is.

 8. She’s Not As Candid About Sex As She Wants To Seem.

            You’ll realize this playing ten fingers when she’s still got both hands up and she’s swigging vodka in the bathroom to catch up with everyone else.

 9. She’s Not A Kid Though.

            She’s not. She’s soft looking and quiet when people aren’t watching but there’s a hardness to her shoulders. She’s not going to break if you touch her. She’s not.

10. You Probably Shouldn’t Kiss Her.

            She’s drunk and young and the red veins on her eyes and the deep purple set underneath show she knows how to be drunk a little too well for someone so young.
            You probably shouldn’t kiss her, but when you lean close she’ll slump into you  like a bed after an unforgiving day. When you kiss her, you’ll stop thinking about why you shouldn’t kiss her because she’ll smile into your mouth when your fingers curl around her neck. You forget that she’s sad or you don’t forget but you pretend that you do because she smells like hairspray and cigarettes and cheap cinnamon whiskey and somehow that’s as intoxicating as summer rain as cliche as it sounds.

 11. I said this would be ten but: Don’t Leave Your Number In The Morning.

            Slip out. She told you to—respect that. Let it be what it is and just think about how the coffee at work is kind of the color of her eyes and then don’t think about her again. She’s not your soulmate. But you made her smile. And sometimes—for a night—it’s okay to pretend.