Me: Trying to be funny. Him:Thinking I’m being rude. Me: Help!


so there’s this boy that I like, and I’ve tried the CIAO ideas,
but I’m stuck with the I. what kinds of questions could I ask a guy,
older than me, that aren’t dumb, such as “are you trying out for the
play?” also, how is it my friend can say all this flippant stuff to
any guy and it’s hysterical, but if I say it it’s mean/rude/sarcastic?
please help!
Boy Crazy

Dear Boy Crazy,
You are trying CIAO! You are my heroine! Hurrah. And to reward you, I’ve devised a simple three step solution for you, the BAD solution.

Step I: Breathe

I asked a friend of mine who is a professor and studies sarcasm (for real—you can make a living studying sarcasm) about this, and he says the difference between sound flip and joking and sounding sarcastic is about changes in the tone of your voice. In other words, you could say the same phrase, but if you say it in a tone pretty close to your natural one, it will sound like a joke. Whereas, if you say it in a tone higher or lower than your normal one, it will come off as sarcastic. Often when people are nervous, they talk in either a higher or lower tone of voice because their vocal cords are tight due to them not BREATHING enough.

If that is what’s going on with you, then hurrah! We can fix it.
Here is how:

Slowly breathe in and out before talking to him, to make you dizzy, I mean, relaxed. Relax your throat and your vocal chords. You can also at home experiment with the different tones in your voice and see if you can tell from how it feels when you talk when the tone is lower or higher (You may notice that your neck, jaw, or upper chest feel tense after talking to him or you feel out of breath.)

Okay, now that you know how to talk to him, you just need to know what to say.

Step II: Ask

What you say is easy too. In the CIAO program, ‘I’ stands for Interview. I really meant it when I suggested putting together a “Questionnaire” like about student life at your school, or songs people want to hear at a dance, or what people think are the top 5 most important issues facing the world today.

Other good and more lighthearted questions could include, “What would be on your perfect mix tape,” “What would your criminal mastermind name be”, and, a personal favorite of mine (since it is the basis of my book Bad Kitty), “What is your super power.” I’ve tried them all at parties and they all work very well. But there is a key to using the power of the interview.

Step III: Diversify

It may seem counter intuitive, but not focusing all your attention on Mr. Dreamy is the best way to secure his attention. Remember to ask your questions not only of him, but to his friends as well. That makes the conversation more general, and should help relax you—letting you act like yourself, which is the best way to act. It will also show him that you’re not afraid to play with the older boys, and help him see you as confident, outgoing, and intriguing.

Now go out there and be BAD.


Dr. J

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