Sooner or later it happens to everyone. And then it happens again and again. One moment you’re sitting there just living life, you think you’re safe, and then someone asks it. Whoomp. The question bomb.

“WHO DO YOU FANCY?”

It’s an awkward question, and not one you always want to answer honestly.

Maybe you fancy the same person as your friend, and you don’t want them to know. Maybe the people asking can’t be trusted with the information. Maybe you don’t fancy anyone in the world right now, but you feel like you’re supposed to because everyone else does so you can’t admit it.

Whatever your reasons for hiding the truth, I am here to help. Here are some lies you can tell to wiggle out of the interrogation.

1. You’re already in a relationship… with someone who goes to a different school

It’s a classic for a reason. You can’t prove it’s true, and no one can prove it isn’t. It’s such an old lie that no one would ever use it in real life – and therein lies its genius. If it’s obviously the kind of lie no one would ever tell, no one will believe you’re really telling it. Boom.

2. Pick a name, any name

Close your eyes and point, and whoever you’re pointing at: that’s your crush. At least, as far as anyone else is concerned. Congrats, randomer over there! The new object of your fake affection. The more unlikely the person, the better – and if anyone comments, you get to take the moral high ground of knowing it doesn’t matter, because none of it is true.

3. It’s top secret classified information

You want to tell them, you really do, but you can’t because the person concerned is secretly a spy. Or you’re a spy. Or you’re both spies on opposite sides, and if anyone knew of your love, it would cause a War of the Spies. You are willing to pine in secret to avoid this, because you are so noble.

4. You have some pretty specific requirements for a potential crush, and you’re not sure anyone you know can fill them

They’ll need to be able to dance. And play the drums. And cook really good lasagne. And surf and do kung fu, and fly a small plane, and shoot lasers from the palms of their hands, and teleport. Why should you settle?

5. You’re saving yourself for Batman

Not Ben Affleck. Not Christian Bale. Not George Clooney or Val Kilmer or Michael Keaton or Adam West. Not Bruce Wayne. Batman. With the flash car, and the concerned and annoyed butler, with the cape, and the mask and the grappling hook. Only Batman will do.

Or Catwoman, obviously, if she’s more your bag.

@j9andlf

Who’s started counting down the days until series two of Riverdale? Now that we know it’s arriving on US TV on Wednesday 11 October – and presumably on Netflix two days later, in its usual Friday slot – we’re struggling to focus on anything else. You see, we’ve been suffering major withdrawal symptoms over a certain Jughead Jones, aka Mr Cole Sprouse.

Is it his epic observations on the rest of Riverdale? The fact that he’s from the wrong side of the tracks? Or just because he’s so blooming cute? Who knows, but we’ve definitely got a crush on Jug and the boy behind him.

Southside Serpents and that brooding voiceover aside, there are plenty more reasons to love the actor formerly known as ‘Ben from Friends’. Here are seven of them…

He’s not just an actor, but a super talented photographer, too

A post shared by Cole Sprouse (@colesprouse) on

Cole recently shot Kendall Jenner for the Sunday Times Style magazine and has also snapped an adidas running campaign, as well as editorials for Teen Vogue. Not just a pretty face (but he does look great in front of the camera, too…)

He has a hilarious second Instagram

Who would have thought, the mother with child, would have prioritized taking our picture over steadying her baby's carriage on a moving train? I did. I would have thought. Firstly, her child is too young for The Street Life of Shaq and Kobe, so we all know she was taking that picture for herself. Unless of course she was making a long term investment, banking on the baby enjoying the show when #it grows up. #ItsCalledInvesting. Trying to be sneaky, she made the number 1 rookie mistake, #Flash. My poor, helpless, innocent, virgin brother was caught in the middle of our duel. You can see the fear in his eyes and the determination in mine, both being trumped by the look of shame in hers. #cameraduels #BabyOnBoard #FamilyDrama #TheStreetLifeOfShaqAndKobe

A post shared by Cole Sprouse (@camera_duels) on

If you’re not following @camera_duels, get on it now, because the captions alone are among the most brilliant we’ve seen. According to its bio, “This Instagram is dedicated to the people out there who secretly take photos of me, and how I take photos of them first. May the fastest camera win.” Cue a feed full of randoms trying to take sneaky snaps of Cole, accompanied by captions of who won the duel, and what the fans said in their defence. Genius.

He RT’d this girl who said her aunt looked like him and it went viral…

…which is kind of a reflection of Cole’s Twitter in itself. Full of self-deprecating humour and sarcastic life advice (“yawn in the club to see who’s checkin you out”), if you’re not following already, you know what to do.

He wrote this love letter to his mum as a kid

Then shared it with us all on Twitter. He really did have some Jughead tendencies back then, by the looks of things.

He admitted to a childhood crush on Jennifer Aniston

Speaking to the New York Post earlier this year, Cole – who played Ross’ son Ben in Friends when he was “7 or 8” – said: “I had a really, really hard time working with Aniston because I was so in love with her. I was infatuated. I was speechless — I’d get all bubbly and forget my lines and completely blank … It was so difficult.” We’d have been the same, tbf.

He’s never not cute

SERIOUSLY.

This GIF

Excuse us while we lie down for a minute…

Image: Riverdale/Katie Edmunds

When you think about it, kissing is one of the weirdest things you can ever do.

It’s sort of gross, if you break it down. All sloppy tongues and wet lips and spit and teeth and hoping your breath doesn’t stink… or that’s what I tend to think about, anyway. Over the years I’ve kissed quite a few people, but my first kiss? The weirdest thing about the first time I ever kissed someone is how hard it is for me to remember it.

For so many years, having my first kiss was all I could think about. I’d sneak books from the library and read the paragraphs where couples would kiss over and over again. I’d watch TV, pretending I wasn’t looking through my fingers any time the snogging started. I’d daydream during my lessons, I’d practice on my arm (once even giving myself a love bite), and I would write in the notebooks I’ve kept since I was 12 about how much I wanted to kiss, a boy, on the lips.

But the main problem with me trying to kiss a boy was I didn’t really know any. I went to an all-girls school, so unless I was willing to grab a random one at the bus stop (and I was tempted), my kissing options at the time were pretty limited. When it eventually happened, I think I liked it.

I think I liked it… but I just don’t remember.

Some of the facts I do know: there was a boy. He was very tall and I really fancied him. We stood somewhere in the middle of a park, and I think we were chatting, and I think his arms were around mine. At some point he leaned down, I leaned up, and we kissed each other. It was late and dark, and all I could smell was wet grass and teenage boy (a funny mixture of sweat, chips and damp socks).

How to kiss for the first time (or not)

I always thought that when I finally kissed someone, everything would ‘just make sense’ and I’d feel like a proper adult. But it didn’t, and I didn’t. I stood there, thinking too much about nothing important.

If I wrote down my thoughts at the time, they’d go something like this:

1. Does he have two tongues?

2. He is tall, maybe he does have two tongues.

3. Or maybe he’s just spitting loads in my mouth?

4. Or maybe I’m spitting in his mouth!

5. Maybe I produce too much saliva and I’m a freak.

6. …or maybe he likes all my spit

7. Do I need to move my tongue more?

8. Maybe I should just try and spit into his mouth?

9. Ew, though.

And so on, until it was all over.

Community awkward kiss gif

When it finished, I said something mean or rude to a friend about him that I think I meant as a joke. He heard me. Of course he did. Later, my friend Mia’s mum picked us up from the side of the park, and in the darkness of the backseat of the car I whispered to Mia that I had kissed him that night. She whispered back to me that she had too.

I don’t think I felt jealous or weird about that, but I did feel annoyed at myself. I had told my friends I had kissed lots of people before – a total lie, obv – so I couldn’t tell Mia (or anyone) that was the first time I had kissed someone.

And that’s the story of my first kiss.

Here are facts I don’t know: I don’t remember how old I was. Yup, not at all, although I think it was somewhere around 14 to 16. I don’t remember if it was spring, summer, autumn, or winter. I don’t know if there was a party, or if people were drinking, or if I was drinking, or if we were just hanging about in a very dark park doing nothing but kiss and chat and kiss some more.

I don’t remember any of the build-up to the kiss; what time it happened, or how long it lasted, or if it was just one kiss, or if it was lots of them. I don’t remember what happened after I made my ‘joke’ and (maybe) insulted him, and I don’t remember if we ever spoke about it again afterwards, or if we ever even kissed again.

For something that I thought about every day for years, my first kiss has ended up being a pretty unremarkable life event. Over time, I realised it was the boring things like travelling around by myself or making the choice to go home early that have made me feel like a grown up, not kisses – even the kisses that have been really, really great. These days, a lot of my best friends are boys (well, men), and they’re nowhere near as mysterious as I once thought.

I’ve got no regrets about my first kiss, apart from wishing I wasn’t so anxious about it. I worried so much about it before it even happened, and now I remember that worry way more than I remember the kiss itself.

I might not remember the tiny details of the night I had my first kiss, but I do remember one thing: I thought I would remember it forever. The great thing about that not being true? Forever is a really long time, and you might forget things that happened long ago, but for every nice old memory is a new, great memory that comes to take its place.

@bridgetminamore

Image: Hailey Hamilton

I’ve never been very good at fancying people.

The awkwardness of really wanting your crush to know that you like them so you can actually be together, while at the same time being absolutely terrified of them finding out, is a struggle. And although I’ve always considered myself a total pro at advising my friends on this sort of thing, I’ve always been pretty bad at dealing with my own heartache.

The guy I fell hardest for took up a good year and a half of my secondary school existence, which, as we all know, feels like about five gazillion years when you’re 13 and convinced you’re in love.  

Don’t get me wrong, I did my best to live the rom-com cliché. I doodled our names in big fat hearts on the inside cover of my maths book. I found out his star sign and searched a bunch of astrology websites until I found one that said we were compatible.

Once he hugged me for a really long time at a party and then held my hand for a bit, which was pretty huge. I happened to be wearing brand new knickers that day and came to the conclusion that from that moment on, those very knickers would be known as my magical lucky knickers and that I’d obviously have to wear them on any occasion that could result in further one-on-one time with the crush boy.

(FYI – the effort of doing that much washing for the sake of a potential snog really isn’t worth the daily questioning you’ll definitely get from whoever presides over the household laundry basket.)

I had butterflies and googly eyes whenever he was within a 100-metre radius and I even bought an album by his favourite band and pretended to like their music so we’d have more to talk about. You know, if ever I managed to form actual sentences in his presence rather than the standard uncomfortable smile and really enthusiastic nod, that is.

Now, you’re probably thinking one of two things: ‘you’re really tragic and you weren’t lying about not being good at fancying people’ or ‘OMG, you have literally described my life’.

This crush business is a minefield, you guys. On top of all that, of course, there’s the stress of not knowing whether or not they fancy you back.

Unfortunately, even after all of my best efforts, it turned out that he did not fancy me back. And no, it wasn’t because he found out about the weird magic pants situation. It was because he fancied one of my best mates. Awks.

I noticed that he started to hang around with my group of friends more and naturally I assumed it was because I was an exceptionally good hand-holder. But then one day he got his friend to ask me if my BFF was interested in him.

A word of advice on how to handle this sort of situation: do not, I repeat, do NOT pretend to fancy your crush’s friend.

Somewhere between feeling really rubbish about crush boy not liking me and having to pretend to be happy for my best mate, I made the awful decision to then try and prove that I was completely fine with it all. I pretended that in fact I never liked him anyway, thanks, and actually it was his friend I fancied all along.

Word of my false love interest got around pretty quickly, which in the end resulted in two broken hearts and a whole lot of resentment towards our respective best mates who then started going out with each other.

I’d love to say that after that disaster, I was suddenly completely over Crush Boy and powered through the rest of school without so much of a fluttery heartbeat. I’d love to say that… but it’s never that easy, is it?

What I did learn over the years though, is that the process of having a crush isn’t always bad news.

Sure, it’s mega cringeworthy at times and you might go through periods when it feels like there is not a single human on earth who could possibly be as beautifully perfect as whoever it is you happen to be into – but once you come out the other side still standing, you realise that even though crushes are hard work, they’re also pretty great. Fancying people is quite exciting. And whether it works out or not, at the very least they make for really good group WhatsApp chats with your mates.

Just think twice before committing to the same pair of pants forever. Apparently it doesn’t work very well…

@JazKopotsha

Image: Manjit Thapp

1. Did I just…?

2. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No.

3. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

4. Unlike it immediately!

5. Oh my god! I re-liked it! HOW IS THAT EVEN POSSIBLE?!

6. My life is officially over.

7. Will they still get a notification that I liked the photo?

8. Will it say which photo I liked?!

9. WHY, OH WHY, DID IT HAVE TO BE THE PHOTO WITH THEIR EX?! Do the internet gods have no mercy?

10. I should text Jo and tell her to like and then unlike one of my photos and see what happens.

11. Why won’t Jo text me back?!

12. Urgh and because we don’t even follow each other on Instagram they’ll know I stalked them.

13. And that I trawled through the bazillion Alex Joneses and found the Alex Jones (by the way, thanks for having such a generic name) and that I then proceeded to go through SEVENTY EIGHT WEEKS of Instagram posts.

14. Is it possible they’ll find it flattering?

15. No. Probably not.

16. Maybe I should delete my Instagram account.

17. ORRRR I could move to Latvia! No one knows me in Latvia.

18. I wonder how much flights to Latvia are?

19. What’s the capital of Latvia…

20. Riga? Huh, I wouldn’t have guessed that.

21. I should move to Riga.

22. But then I’d never see Alex again and we would never fall in love.

23. Maybe I’ll just have another look.

Crushes can be hard, guys. Whether you keep yourself at a distance or see them every day, having a crush (and all the thinking that comes with it) can take up all of your time. Then there are the physical problems that come with fancying someone: you feel butterflies in your stomach, your hands get sweaty, your mouth gets dry, and your brain doesn’t seem to work as quickly as it normally does.

I thought the burning crushes I would get as a teenager would stop happening when I grew older, but I was wrong. These days, I fancy people just a strongly as I did a decade ago. The main difference between my crushes back then and now? At 25, I like myself a lot better than I did when I was 15.

It’s easy to forget a crush isn’t just about the person you fancy – it’s also about you. Crushes suddenly make you overanalyse everything about yourself: the way you look, what you say, and most of all, the things you like. When I was a teenager, I’d heard that opposites attract but I wasn’t convinced. Instead, I was certain that I needed to have loads of things in common with the people I fancied if I wanted them to take any notice. The problem was, I was convinced I wasn’t interesting enough, and that the things I liked were weird or silly or childish or (worst of all) ‘girly’.

As an only child who went to a girls’ school, teenage boys were alien creatures to me. They were louder than I was used to, with weird habits and interests in things I had never even heard of. How was I supposed to get one to fall in love with me if I we had nothing in common? Easy: I could lie.

Lying about my interests to impress boys is something I’m not proud of, but it’s something I used to do often – even with guys I didn’t even have a crush on. Growing up, men always seemed to be into such cool things, like sports and games and activities, while I was mostly just obsessed with books. So I started fudging the truth, pretending I had an interest in topics they would talk about all the time… then heading to the library computer after school and cramming in as much research as I could before the next time I saw them, and could impress them with everything Wikipedia had taught me.

Over the years, the list of things I pretended to like to impress boys grew and grew. One of the earliest times I think I ever lied to a boy was in Year 6, when I claimed I also supported Chelsea FC. The reality? I had barely watched any football, and the only team I could name was Crystal Palace (because I liked the word ‘crystal’).

Then there was the time I said I loved the same niche X-Men comics a boy I liked was obsessed with, when really I didn’t even know where you could buy comic books. In secondary school a friend of mine would give me Green Day CDs that I hated for my birthday every year, all because she overheard me telling a boy they were my favourite band. As I got a bit older, the lies were smaller but a bit more frequent. I was intimidated when I first got to my fancy university, so spent a lot of my time pretending I had read books or watched films I had never even heard of.

For the most part, most of my lies have had happy endings. Pretending to support Chelsea opened the door for a genuine, life-long love of football, when I finally got my hands on some comics I thought they were great, and I still smile when I hear Green Day and remember why I first listened to them. But nowadays, I never lie about the things I like – and neither should you.

Crushing on someone is exhausting enough without needing to keep up with a list of fake interests. Also we’ve all fancied awesome people, but no-one is worth lying about yourself for – I promise that you’re interesting enough without adding a few extras.

And most importantly? Everything you like and dislike is valid. Maybe some of my interests have been weird and silly and childish and very, very girly, but who cares? I liked them anyway. ‘Just be yourself’ is a cliché but it’s true, because there’s only one of you and you’re the coolest version of yourself that exists.

It’s also worth remembering that lying about your interests to impress someone you fancy means you could get stuck with someone who doesn’t like any of the things you like. And how boring would that be?

@bridgetminamore

It’s Valentine’s Day tomorrow, so to celebrate Lizzie, Laura, Amy, Holly and Lily share the details of their first kisses – including Romeo and Juliet lyrics, kissing in the rain, sucking slugs, hiding in sheds and charming waiters.

Happy 2017! We went round the team and asked everyone – what is your hope for this year? The answers included everything from puppies to rose gold bedrooms to Star Wars. What’s your hope for 2017?

1. Are they walking towards me?

2. Does my breath smell?

3. Why did I have a tuna sandwich for lunch?

4. Why did I have a tuna sandwich ever? Tuna is the kryptonite of romance.

5. My arms feel weird.

6. Should I cross them?

7. Or just leave them by my sides?

8. Oh my god, what do I normally do with my arms?! WHY IS THIS SO HARD.

9. What should I say?

10. “Hey!”? Nope. Too American.

11. “Hi”? Too simple.

12. “Howdy?” Wait, am I suddenly in a 50s Western film?

13. Maybe I’ll just nod. Nodding says, “I acknowledge you exist, but your presence doesn’t make me want to run away to Spain with you and tattoo your name on my bicep or anything.” Nodding is cool. Right?

14. Right?!

15. Oh my god, they’re coming! No, no no – they’re right here.

16. “G’day partner, do your arms ever feel weird?”

17. Nailed it.

Image: Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging

The course of true love ne’er did run smooth.

-William Shakespeare

Talk about a dramatic understatement, Wills. Any way you slice it, fancying someone who doesn’t even seem to notice you exist is sucky. We’ve all been the girl who tries a little too hard to get their crush’s attention – so if you’re out there listening to music you actually hate, trying to stay awake in a foreign film or hiring an aeroplane to write ‘HEY I LIKE YOUR HAIR’ in the sky in the hopes of impressing someone, you’re not alone.

As proof, we crowdsourced the most ridiculous things the betty team have ever done to get our crushes’ attention. Here are the best/worst. Don’t judge.

Routinely took the train two stops past my house, in case the extra time would induce a boy from the boys’ school to talk to me. I would get off the train when he did, discreetly cross the bridge, and get back on a train in the opposite direction and go home. He never spoke to me.

“Sent messages to a girl about my plans for the weekend by ‘accident’, then sent another message saying, “Sorry, that wasn’t meant for you.”

Woke up an hour early so that I could drive 45 minutes to my crush’s house and pick them up, before driving another hour to get from his house to work, even though it was only 15 minutes away from my house. And the same on the way home.

“Pretended I liked heavy metal because the boy I fancied did. Bought the Slipknot album – terrible. Went to Camden to buy a Metallica T-shirt and wore it on non-school uniform day with a necklace fashioned out of a bike chain. Chic.”

Pretended to like Nick Cave.

“Literally put a boy’s hand up my jumper and onto my boob under the pretence of ‘ooh it’s so cold, we need to huddle together to stay warm’. He moved it away and did not fall in love with me.”

I literally threw my number at a girl on a bus. She never text me, and in fact went out of her way to avoid me after that.

“Walked around sixth form for a day with one of my Dad’s old vinyl records (Led Zeppelin IV, if you’re interested) tucked under my arm.”

Pretended not to like Nick Cave.

“Met a boy at the under-16s disco who was SO handsome I could barely look at him. He kept going on and on about how much he loved skiing, so I did what any normal 14-year-old would do: I told him I was a professional skier. He asked me on a date to the dry ski slope in Edinburgh. I panicked and considered telling him the truth beforehand, but then chickened out thinking ‘sod it, if he likes me he’ll get over it’. Oh god, his face as I snowploughed very, very, very slowly to the bottom. He shouted at me for lying to him and I never saw him again.”

Got my lip pierced, wore really baggy trousers with 5 (no more, no less) studded belts and carried around a skateboard I COULDN’T RIDE.

“Announced that I had a golf handicap of 12, and consequently was entered into a golf tournament. I had to develop a shoulder injury (chronic), meaning I couldn’t turn up. Perhaps my best lie ever.”

“Wandered the fields around the back of my village, alone, in the hope that one of the boys would see me and come and talk to me. They didn’t.”

And you thought the things you’ve done were embarrassing? Although if you were on the verge of hiring a plane for some romantic sky writing, we would suggest cancelling that. Perhaps spell out your declaration in alphabet soup instead? Just an idea.