You’re looking for advice of the new age kind. The type of direction that may just change your life. Or make you laugh out loud.
For that there’s Mindy Kaling. Yes, the Emmy-nominated writer, actress famous for playing the beloved Kelly Kapoor on The Office, and author of one of Twitter’s most popular and quoted feeds. That same Mindy Kaling has a few words of advice in her forthcoming book, “Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?” due out November 1.
For the men, she dishes out 12 simple things you can do to go from “meh” to hot. Hint – it has something to do with Kiehls, a peacoat and doing dishes (not all at once).
For the ladies, she provides the definitive guide to best friends rights and responsibilities. Including, just how much of a closet can be shared and when you can ditch each other (car rides home must be pre-arranged).
She delivers her take on many things, from one night stands to why she stopped eating cupcakes. (The two are not related.)
Her observations, ruminations and Mindyisms prove that she is indeed, as Entertainment Weekly deemed, “one of the ten funniest actresses in Hollywood.”
If it’s comic relief you’re seeking in your self help book, this one’s for you. Just see what people are saying about it.
“She’s like Tina Fey’s cool little sister. Or perhaps… the next Nora Ephron.” —The New York Times
“If you love Kelly and think the three minutes or so allotted her on episodes of The Office are too few, you can take home Mindy.” —The New Yorker
“Is anyone else kind of sold on the genius title alone?” —Nylon
Read an excerpt from her book below.
Buy the book here
Excerpt from “Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?“
Guys Need To Do Almost Nothing To Be Great
Being a Guy is so easy. A little Kiehl’s a little Bumble and Bumble, a peacoat, a pair of Chuck Taylors, and you’re hot. Here’s my incredibly presumptuous guide to being an awesome guy, inside and out (mostly out, for who am I to instruct you on inner improvement?). (Let me say here that if you’re some kind of iconoclastic dude who goes by the beat of your own drummer, you will find this insufferable. I totally respect that. I would never want you to stop wearing your skinny jeans and straw hat. I mean it!)
1. Buy a well-fitting peacoat from J.Crew. Or wait until Christ-mas sales are raging and buy a designer one, like Varvatos or something. Black looks good on everyone (Obvious Cops) and matches everything (Duh Police), but charcoal gray is good too. You can always look like a put-together Obama speech-writer with a classy peacoat. Oh! and get it cleaned once a year. Sounds prissy, but a good cleaning can return a peacoat to its true black luster, and make you look as snappy as the first day you wore it.
2. Have a signature drink like James Bond. it’s silly, but I’m always so impressed if a guy has a cool go-to drink. Obviously, if it has a ton of fancy ingredients like puréed berries or whatever, you can look a little bit like a high-maintenance weirdo, so don’t do that. If you like scotch, have a favorite brand. it makes you look all actualized and grown-up. (You don’t have to say your drink order with the theatrical panache of James Bond. That’s for close-ups.)
3. Own several pairs of dark wash straight-leg jeans. Don’t get bootcut, don’t get skinny, just a nice pair of levis without any embellishments on the pockets. No embellishments anywhere. At all. Nothing. Oh my god.
4. Wait until all the women have gotten on or off an elevator before you get on or off. Look, I’m not some chivalry nut or anything, but this small act of politeness is very visual and memorable.
5. When you think a girl looks pretty, say it, but don’t reference the thing that might reveal you are aware of the backstage process. e.g., say, “You look gorgeous tonight,” not “I like how you did your makeup tonight.” Also, a compliment means less if you compliment the thing and not the way the girl is carrying it off. so, say, “You look so sexy in those boots,” rather than “Those boots are really cool.” I didn’t make the boots! I don’t care if you like the boots’ design! We are magic to you: You have no idea how we got to look as good as we do.
6. Avoid asking if someone needs help in a kitchen or at a party, just start helping. Same goes with dishes. (Actually, if you don’t
want to help, you should ask them if they need help. No self respecting host or hostess will say yes to this question.)
7. Have one great cologne that’s not from the drugstore. Just one. Wear very little of it, all the time. I cannot tell you how sexy it is to be enveloped in a hug by a man whose smell you remember. Then anytime I smell that cologne, I think of you. Way to invade my psyche, guy! Shivers-down-spine central!
8. Your girlfriend’s sibling or parents might be totally nuts but always defend them. Always. all a girl wants to do is to get along with her family, and if you are on the side of making it easy, you will be loved eternally. It might be easier to condemn them— after all, she’s doing that already—but, honestly, even if they are serial murderers, there is nothing more traumatic than hearing your boyfriend trash your family.
9. Kiehl’s for your skin, Bumble and Bumble for your hair. Maybe a comb. That is all you need. and when girls look in your medicine cabinet (which they will obviously do within the first five minutes of them coming to your place), you look all classily self restrained because you only have two beauty products. You’re basically a cowboy.
10. I really think guys only need two pairs of shoes. a nice pair of black shoes and a pair of Chuck Taylors. The key, of course, is that you need to replace your Chuck Taylors every single year. You cannot be lax about this. Those shoes start to stink like hell. They cost $40. You can afford a new pair every year.
11. Bring wine or chocolate to everything. People love when guys do that. not just because of the gift, but because it is endearing to imagine you standing in line at Trader Joe’s before the party.
12. Get a little jealous now and again, even if you’re not, strictly, a jealous guy. Too much and it’s creepy and horrible, but a possessive hand on her back at a party when your girlfriend looks super hot is awesome.
Someone Explain One-Night Stands To Me
I have never had a one night stand. Apparently this is impossibly lame. every romantic comedy I watch depicts our adorable heroine walking sheepishly back from a stranger’s place in the morning, with bedhead and her eyeliner all sexy and smudged. The problem is, I don’t understand the allure of the one-night stand at all. Here’s why: in my mind, the sexiest thing in the world is the feeling that you’re wanted. The slightly nervous asking of your phone number. The text message asking you for dinner. The simple overture of wanting me can satisfy my ego for a good long time. The sexual situation that could come of it? Well, that’s just less appealing to me. I don’t mean to say I don’t enjoy sex; i’m a properly functioning mammal and everything. I just think, like, who is this guy? Don’t you need to know some more about a guy than an evening’s worth of conversation at a bar to make sex appealing?
Also: safety. And actually, I don’t even mean sexual health safety, like STDs, I mean like good old-fashioned life-and-death safety. Here’s what I can’t wrap my brain around. I barely talk to strangers (a habit I started as a child which has served me well through my adulthood). So the idea of going to a stranger’s house at night, or having that stranger over to my house sounds insanely dangerous. These fears have made it so that when my female friends talk to me about one-night stands, I’m an incredibly irritating listener.
Excited sexually-liberated friend: so, then it was like 2 a.m. that same night, and he knocked on my apartment door. I was in my robe and nothing else—
Me: no underwear?
Excited sexually-liberated friend: No. I said “nothing else.”
Me (Skeptical): I feel like you were wearing underwear. That’s how you are in, like, repose?
Excited sexually-liberated friend: Yes. so he knocked at the door—
Me: Wait! sorry. I’m just realizing: Your doorman let him up without ever seeing him before? Doesn’t that disturb you that your doorman would just let any old person off the street up to your apartment? I would give my doorman a book of photos of accepted guests that he could reference –
Excited sexually-liberated friend: I’m doing fine with my doorman.
Me: I would’ve established a different procedure.
Excited sexually-liberated friend: Great, Mindy. and then I showed him around the place –
Me: The doorman? (off, annoyed look) The guy! The guy! Yes.
Excited sexually-liberated friend: He was into the way decorated it. really taking it in.
Me: He was casing the joint!
Excited sexually-liberated friend: No! He was not casing the joint. He was being sexy and sweet and making cute little jokes about family photos. And then he asked if he could see my bedroom—
Me: Your bedroom, so he could rape you!
Excited sexually-liberated friend: No! He wasn’t trying to rape me. I was into it. So we go to my bedroom and he takes off his coat—
Me: And he had a tranquilizer syringe and tried to drug you and rape you and murder you like in Copycat!
My friend gets so irritated at my constant interruptions that she stops telling her sexy story, soon enough, after I’ve pointed out all the opportunities that could’ve resulted in her being killed. Don’t get me wrong, I love hearing about it. Look, I don’t want to come off as prim or that I hate Samantha from Sex and the City or whatever. I would feel sad if I didn’t have my sexually-liberated Friend there to tell me fun, frank tales of desires fulfilled. I just don’t get it at all. So, this is what I’m like: if you come over to my house, I need to know your first and last name. I need to have your phone number and a person who we both know so you can’t disappear forever in case you murder me. Ultimately, it comes down to this: How embarrassing would it be for me to be talking to a detective at a precinct after you tried to rape and murder me in my home, and not be able to tell them your name or any information about you because we were having a one-night stand? I’ve seen Law & Order: SVU, i know how it works.
The Day I Stopped Eating Cupcakes
“Out on script” refers to when writers are sent off on their own to write a first draft of an episode of the show. It is an amazing time, basically paid and sanctioned hooky. This means that instead of showering, dressing, and coming into work every day, I’m allowed to laze around my house in a giant T-shirt and no pants, go shopping, and go to trendy cardio classes with my fun, unemployed friends. Obviously this is the best time ever. This time when I was on script, I stopped by my favorite cupcake place, which I will call Sunshine Cupcakes. (“Sunshine Cupcakes”— while a ridiculous name—is actually a restrained parody of cupcake bakery names. You have no idea. In Los Angeles, cupcake bakeries are as pervasive as starbucks. They are the product of a city with an abundance of trophy wives, because trophy wives are the financial engines of cutesy commerce that makes Los Angeles like no other American city: toe jewelry, doorknob cozies, vegan dog food, you get it. If I am sounding mean, I should tell you how jealous and admiring I am of these trophy wives. I’d marry a partner at William Morris Endeavor and start a cat pedicure parlor m’self if I were so lucky.)
So yeah, on my fourth consecutive visit to Sunshine Cupcakes, I was paying for my cupcake when the female manager (cupcake apron, Far side glasses, streak of pink hair, the universal whimsical bakery lady uniform, as far as i can tell) approached me.
Far Side: You’ve come here a lot this week.
Me (Mouth full of a generous Sample): Yeah, I love this place, man.
Far Side: We know you’re on Twitter. (leaning in conspiratorially) and, if you’re willing to tweet about loving sunshine Cupcakes, this cupcake (gesturing to the one I was buying) is free.
I did not know it was possible to be triple offended. First of all, Manager Woman, if you notice that a thirty-one-year-old woman is coming to your cupcake bakery every day for a week, keep that information to yourself. I don’t need to be reminded of how poor my food choices are on a regular basis. Secondly, how cheap and/ or poor do you think I am? a cupcake costs two bucks! You think I’m miserly enough to think, like, “Oh goody, I can save those two bucks for some other tiny purchase later today”? And thirdly, even if I were to buy in to this weird bribey situation where I endorse your product, you think the cost of it would be one measly cupcake? The implications of this offer were far worse than anything she meant to propose, obviously, but I hate her forever nonetheless.
This is why I never eat cupcakes anymore. The connotations are too disturbing to me.
Best Friend Rights And Responsibilities
Below, I’ve outlined what i believe are the rights and privileges of any best friend.
I Can Borrow All Your Clothes
Anything in your closet, no matter how fancy, is co-owned by me, your best friend. I can borrow it for as long as i want. if I get something on it or lose it, I should make all good faith attempts to get it cleaned or buy you a new one, but I don’t need to do that, and you still have to love me. If I ruin something of yours and don’t replace it, you’re allowed to talk shit about me to our other friends for a calendar year. That’s it. Then you have to get over it. One stipulation to borrowing your clothes is that you have to have worn the item at least once before I borrow it. I’m not a monster.
We Sleep In The Same Bed
If we’re on a trip or If our boyfriends are away, and there’s a bed bigger than a twin, we’re partnering up. It is super weird for us to not share a bed. How else will we talk until we fall asleep?
I Must Be 100% Honest About How You Look, But Gentle
Your boyfriend is never going to tell you that your skirt is too tight and riding up too high on you. In fact, you shouldn’t have even asked him, poor guy. He wants to have sex with you no matter how pudgy you are. I am the only person besides your mom who has the right (and responsibility) of telling you that. I should never be overly harsh when something doesn’t look good on you, because I know you are fragile about this and so am I. I will employ the gentle, vague expression, “I’m not crazy about that on you,” which should mean to you: “Holy shit, take that off, that looks terrible.” I owe it to you to give feedback like a cattle prod: painful but quick.
I Can Ditch You Within Reason
I can ditch you to hang out with a guy, but only if that possibility has been discussed and getting-ride-home practicalities have been worked out prior to the event. in return, I need to talk about you a lot with that guy so he knows how much I love you.
I Will Take Care of Your Kid If You Die
I can’t even write about this, it’s too sad. But yes, I will do that. And you will have one awesome little kid who hears endless stories about how amazing and beautiful and perfect you were. Incidentally, your kid will grow up loving Indian food.
I Will Nurse You Back To Health
If you are crippled with pain because of a UTI, I need to haul ass to CVS to get you some medicine, fast. I should also try to pick up a fashion magazine and candy that you like, because distracting you from your pain is part of nursing you back to health as well.
We Will Trade Off Being Social Activities Chairs For Or Outings
On trips together, I promise to man up and be the person who drives the rental car sometimes, or uses my credit card and have people pay me back later. Someone needs to check on Yelp to see what the good brunch place is. Neither of us gets to be the princess all the time, I get that.
I Will Keep Your Favorite Feminine Hygiene Products At My House
Even though no one uses maxi-pads anymore, like you do, weirdo, I will keep a box at my house for when you come over.
Same With Your Contact Lens Solution
I can’t believe you won’t get lasik already. i know you read someone went blind from it, but that was like twenty years ago. not getting lasik at this point is like being that girl in 2006 who didn’t have a cell phone.
I Will Try To Like Your Boyfriend At Least 5 Times
This is a fair number of times to hang out with your boyfriend and withhold judgment.
When I Take A Shower At Your Place, I Won’t Drop The Towel On The Floor
Your home isn’t a hotel. I forget sometimes because you make it so comfortable for me.