Hannah Horvath's Manners: A Cautionary Tale

When we were young, our parents taught us things. Close your mouth when you chew your food. Respect your elders. Wear a bra when going out in public, especially if you're dancing in a mesh crop top. That last one, I believe, was embossed on the cover of "Parenting Basics, 1991." Unfortunately for Hannah Horvath, her parents seem to have burned, mangled, or otherwise misplaced their handbook of parental wisdom. That, or Hannah on Girls possesses the unique ability to say and do exactly the wrong thing in any given social situation. To be sure, there are moments when she skates by, and we all breathe a sigh of relief. A good 85% of the time, however, I find myself clutching the nearest hand or pillow, eyes clenched to make the awkward dissipate more quickly.

The truly terrifying aspect of watching Girls is that it makes you question your own actions and motives. "Would I do that?" you ask. Or worse, "Have I done that?" At the end of the day, however, we can all rest safely with the assurance that, of all the Girls in New York City, Hannah is the most socially inept on a regular basis. Indeed, we can think of her life as Emily Post's Guide on How to Be Socially Adept, or How to Not Be Hannah Horvath.

1. Don't Talk to Strangers

This one applies especially if you've been hiding your trash in their trash. It applies doubly if they live alone in an eerily perfect brownstone, and triply if they agree to a marathon love-romp during which all interactions with the outside world cease. This quadruply applies if you're going to belittle their own childhood demons with your adolescent one-upmanship.

2. Don't Hit on Your Boss

Even if you think that making a move will convince your somewhat creepy boss to stop making the moves on you, remember that two wrongs don't make a right. In this case, they might add up to a sexual harassment lawsuit.

3. Mourn the Dead

If your editor dies, it is best to shed an honest tear or two at his funeral. It is straight out to question his sexuality and pump his wife for details about another potential editor within five minutes of meeting her.

4. Fish and Visitors Stink After Three Days

If you're going to take in your boyfriend's psychotic sister, you have made her, by default, more than a mere visitor. When said sister bites a friend, breaks a glass in her hand, and frolics in a cemetery, she is now your more-than-visitor problem. When politely asking her to leave, do your best to pick an excuse makes sense, rather than kicking her out in revenge for your bruised ego.

5. Keep Things Professional

Apply a filter during work conversations. If you do leave, try to make it as polite and professional as possible, rather than calling your co-workers washed-up life hacks and decimating that bridge with verbal napalm.

6. Hold Your Liquor

If you do burn that work bridge, make sure it doesn't happen after vomiting down the front of your fruit print dress in front of coworkers a few nights earlier.

7. Avoid Arrest

When role-playing in public, know when the jig is up. If a pedestrian looks concerned and offers to call the cops, do not stay in character and take them up on their offer.

8. When the Bed Springs Are Rocking…

Don't come a'knocking. If you hear familiar mid-coital moans coming from an acquaintance's bedroom, do the polite thing and pull the fire alarm to see who it is. Don't expose yourself, Nature-style, to the beast with two backs. There are sights that cannot be unseen, and MarnRay (Rarnie?) is one of them.

9. Don't Break Up With Donald Glover. Ever.

Seriously. This excuse is not good enough.

Thank you, Hannah Horvath, for painting a clear picture of what not to do in given social situations. I will always remember your example when faced with drugs and/or a mesh crop top. Or, for that matter, a completely mundane office workplace. There are hidden dangers that lurk underneath each seemingly safe setting, and you, Hannah, are the intrepid explorer who goes forth and lands in all the traps. Without you as our guiding light, we might find ourselves stating "I got fired today" to a table of complete strangers. As it is, we can cringe at you and live to socialize another day.

Images: HBO