1. Start by laying out all your clothes on your bed.
All of them. Nothing is off the table. That sweater you wore in fifth grade? You pulled it off then. Maybe you need some of that magic tonight. Also, if your date is at 7 p.m., you start doing this at sunrise.
2. Realize that you can probably donate some of this stuff or give them to your younger cousins.
So you pack it up and narrow down your outfit to five choices that you feel really good about.
3. Decide you want to keep all the stuff you're donating.
After an hour of staring at those five outfits, you start pulling stuff out of the garbage bags that you decided might be worth keeping. It starts slowly, but eventually everything is back out and on your bed. You start over.
4. Throw a bunch of outfits into the bottom of your closet.
You get angry at yourself for spending money on some of these things. You start throwing stuff out the window in a frenzy.
5. Decide on an outfit.
You finally pick an outfit that is conservative yet playful. Those are the best outfits, I guess. You want to say, "I'm here to party, but I know how to balance a checkbook. Also, the parties I go to aren't checkbook-balancing parties. They're regular parties with alcohol-drinking and fun-having. I could balance a checkbook though. I know how because I'm responsible." You feel great about the outfit and jump in the shower.
6. Shave every inch of skin below the waist.
Or maybe you're just like, "Fuck it," and you hang out in the shower for a while with some shampoo. This shower takes 35 minutes, no matter what you do.
7. Step out of the shower and get hit with the realization that everything you've known up until this point was a lie.
Decide on one of the outfits you threw into the recesses of your closet instead. You realize now how much better that outfit is at looking conservative yet playful, so you fish it out from underneath the pile of other rejects
8. At some point you're in curlers and you have a face mask on and you're running around zanily trying on clothes.
I know that happens, even if you don't curl your hair. You have to wear them at some point when getting ready. It happens in every movie, so I refuse to believe this isn't a necessary step in real life.
9. Put on foundation. And then eye shadow. And then lipstick. And then eyelash stuff (?). And then your face is done.
This takes an hour for some reason. I don't know why.
10. Eat lunch.
11. Pick out a bra.
You want a bra that works with your dress. I'm assuming that just like with guys and underwear, you have bras that just understand your breasts better and they look good in them. Unlike choosing your outfit, you have one go-to sexy bra, so this doesn't take as long.
12. Do stuff with your hair.
You take the curlers out and then use … I'm not sure. No one uses hair spray anymore. So not that. Maybe just like gel and stuff. You definitely blow-dry your hair. I only know one man who owns a hair dryer, but I know this is a big deal for women.
13. Finally, pick out shoes.
Shoes are the outfit your feet are going to wear, so why wouldn't this take just as long? You pick out shoes you like but they don't match your outfit, so you go through the whole process of doing it again. When you get to the restaurant your date says, "You look nice," and that's all the vindication you need (until halfway through the date when you wonder if he was just being nice).
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.