You'd like everyone to think of you as the poster girl for self-confidence. But as the way you act make people wish that you'd just get a grip?
by Marlien Rentmeester

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1 In gym, your nose takes a direct hit from a speeding dodgeball and starts to swell (à la Marcia Brady's when it was struck by a football). You:
hide out in the infirmary for the rest of the day. You can't let anyone see you like this--they'll make fun of you!
make a crack to your friends about your new Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer look. Then you go ice it, just like the school nurse ordered.
fake a sneeze (cupping your hands over the shnozz) when your crush walks by in the hall.

2 The long-haired lacrosse player you've been admiring since, like, Labor Day asks if he can copy your social studies homework. A staunch anticheater, you:
say with a flirtatious smile, "I'd love to help out, but no can do."
photocopy it for him--and feel knots in your stomach as you do it.
tell him you're not cool with handing over your homework (um, you missed Melrose to finish it), but offer to help him answer the questions, one by one.

3. Ms. Phelps, your history teacher, asks you what year the Panama Canal opened. Semi-sure of the answer, you:
confidently say, "1914."
answer her question with a question, "Uh, could it be 1914?" and console yourself on the fact that everyone else in the class looks puzzled, too.
mutter, "I don't know" and feel the burn of your blushing face for the rest of the class.

4 The new transfer student from Sweden, who's a cross between Claudia Schiffer and Gabrielle Reece, is the woman wanted by every guy in the school. You:
are a little intimidated, but you introduce yourself anyway, determined to find out if her inside is as great as her outside.
state your opinion to anyone who'll listen that she seems to be the biggest airhead.
become buds with her by volunteering your English-tutoring services. Perhaps this new friendship will put you in the peripheral vision of one or two of those guys.

5 When John, your best guy friend, tells you he digs your new plaid hip-huggers, you reply:
"Thanks, bro." You knew you scored when you bought them.
"Yeah, right," thinking he's just trying to make you feel a little better about how megabig your butt really looks in the tight tartan pants.
"I wasn't sure if they looked good on me or not--but thanks a lot for saying you're into 'em."

6 You're supposed to meet your beau at the arcade at 3:00. When you stroll in at 2:55, he's playing Mortal Kombat with another girl. You:
tap him on the shoulder and tell him you'll be waiting for him by Earthshaker
squeeze between them and put your hand in his back pocket, hoping she'll get the message.
assume the girl is his other and shriek at the top of your lungs, "We're over!"

7 At a Friday-night rager, your whole gang of good buds takes off for the bathroom leaving you to fend for yourself. You:
feel like a total loser standing by yourself and decide to bolt from the party A.S.A.P.
make a beeline for the girl you sorta kinda know from driver's ed.
look for someone really friendly and cool (and perhaps male and good-looking) and say, "Hey."

8 All your friends are way into Grateful Dead, but, well, you just aren't able to grasp what a long, strange trip it's been. You:
swear allegiance to Jerry's ghost anyway.
groove to rap and hip-hop.
deal gracefully with the Dead-a-thons that usually monopolize the stereo, but sneak in an Oasis CD every now and then.

9 Of course you're totally crushing on the Scott Wolf look-alike who sits in front of you in geometry. Your plan of action is to:
get your best friend to tell his best friend that you're grooving on him, then do a vibe check the next day in class.
ask him to the homecoming dance.
pin away for his love as you stare at the back of his neck every day, totally convinced that he would never go for a girl like you.

10 You're psyched because Jessie, the most popular girl in the school, is actually acting like she wants to be friends. The only problem: You're an eco-warrior and she's an inveterate litterbug. You:
stash the Greenpeace T-shirt you wear almost every other day under your bed. She may not like you if your worldview differs from hers.
invite her to volunteer with you at the recycling center. After that, maybe she'll start thinking globally and acting locally.
decide to keep mum (for now) whenever Jessie throws a gum wrapper out of the window. When you're better friends, you'll tell her how tacky it is.

11 You're a perfect candidate for class treasurer, having raised the bucks for your gymnastics team's new leotards all by yourself. Come campaign time, you:
paste posters all over the campus, boasting your supersavvy moneymaking talents.
decide not to run, thinking of your less-than-spectacular SATs and that B in geometry. What if anyone finds out?!
ask your friends if they'd back you--and help you with your campaign speech. It'd be a major bummer to lose, but you'd like to at least try.

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