Let’s say, for the sake of this column, you’re single. Let’s say you’ve been single for a while now, and maybe, just maybe, you’ve hinted to all of your friends that you have gone out with too many guys with too many issues. Let’s say your ex-boyfriend could easily be an extra in Jackass 3D. Let’s say he had horrendous halitosis. Let’s say you suspected herpes. Let’s say you talk about this all of the time. Let’s say all of your friends are settling down and you’re still sifting through the idiots and the rejects and you’ve hit a breaking point.

Let’s say your friend has had enough of your complaining and finally sets you up on a blind date. That was nice of her. It sounds like you were really annoying, so you should probably thank her. Let’s say you once spent three hours on the phone with her crying about your ex-boyfriend, the unemployed body builder with the bad breath and the mouth herpes. You should definitely thank her. You should, at the very least, offer to pay for drinks next time you guys go out.

You shouldn’t ask too many questions. You trust your friend, don’t you? Every question you ask about him makes your friend regret that much more that she ever set you up on a blind date. He’s a Harvard MBA. He’s kinda tall. He’s handsome. He’s funny. Shouldn’t that be enough? Every time you want to ask your friend for details, think back to that herpes sore on your ex-boyfriend’s lip. Remember how it grew a hair? But then you realized it wasn’t growing a hair, that one of his lip hairs had grown through the herp? No. You shouldn’t ask any questions.

Let’s talk about what you’re wearing. Yes, that old thing. Come on, you wear jeans every day. Wear a tight dress, but not too low-cut. Your boobs aren’t as great as you think they are. You’re not 22 anymore, so wipe the glitter off your lids and learn how to do a smoky eye already. What do you mean you don’t know how to do a smoky eye? No wonder you’re single. I’m kidding. Ask a friend to do it for you, or watch a YouTube video. It’s really not that hard. Do what I used to do in college—apply a ton of dark eye makeup and take a shower. Get real racoony, then wipe away the excess. Voila!

Don’t order beer. Don’t order Jaeger. Don’t order scotch. What are you, a 65-year-old man? Don’t order scotch. Fine, if he orders scotch then you can order scotch. But you know how you get when you’ve had two scotches. You should eat before the date, but not too much. You shouldn’t get too drunk. Sometimes you get too drunk. That’s how you met your ex-boyfriend, remember? You were four scotches in at that karaoke place on 13th and he sang a Sublime song, and the next thing I knew, you two were making out on the zebra-print couch. It smelled like pee in there. Remember?

Build a buzz, but don’t get too drunk. Don’t talk about your brother’s homoerotica art projects. Why not? Trust me—save it for the second date. What do you mean, what else is there to talk about? Plenty. Talk about where you’re from, what you majored in back in college, your roommate’s wacky new-age theater company. Don’t talk about your daddy issues. Don’t talk shit about your boss. Haters gonna hate, but they’re not gonna date.

Don’t talk about your ex-boyfriend. Please, for the love of all that is good and nice-smelling, do not talk about your ex-boyfriend. It took me weeks to realize that the karaoke place didn’t smell like pee, it was him. It took you months to realize he had herpes. Don’t even mention all the money he stole from your friend’s wallet. No one finds that funny. I think your friend probably hates you for leaving him alone in her living room, but that’s not the point.

Sure, if it goes well, you have carte blanche to make out with him. Do not sleep with him on the first date. It will not only make you look bad, it will make your friend look bad. He’s a good guy—she made sure to set you up with real boyfriend material. You shouldn’t put out. Okay, just a little. But don’t sleep over. Whatever you do, don’t sleep over. And if you sleep over, you should insist on breakfast. It doesn’t have to be a fancy brunch, but he should at least make you eggs.

But let’s say this never ends up happening. Let’s say you spilled scotch on yourself—I told you not to drink scotch—and cried about your ex-boyfriend, the unemployed mattress salesman with some sort of growth on his face who smells like pee. Let’s say he left after an hour and you ended up going home with the bartender.

Well, you should have listened more carefully. And don’t ever think that friend’s going to set you up on a blind date, ever again.

You should get back together with your ex-boyfriend.