As Featured on News Cult: How to Maintain Your Privacy

Whether it’s the government, your nosy boss, your helicopter mom, or everyone on the Internet, you’re always going to have someone snooping around your personal space. So you have to learn how to protect your privacy. Here’s what you do.

Lie, pathologically

That way you’ll throw people off your trail—they’ll never know what’s actually true, so only you will be the keeper of your secrets. Don’t want your gossipy frenemies to speculate, spill the beans, or talk shit about your relationship status? Tell one of them you’re engaged, another you’re widowed, a third you’re a nun, and a fourth that all you can say is that you’re not allowed to go within 100 feet of playgrounds. Need to take some time off work but don’t want anyone to know why? Tell your boss you found a lump (I think we can all agree that nothing shuts people up more than any mention of “a lump”), tell HR you can’t legally disclose the reason for your absence (“the NSA would go apeshit“), and tell the person who’ll be filling in for you that you’re needed in Haiti because: Sean Penn. Or don’t feel like it’s necessary for anyone to ever know your real weight? Wear rocks in your pockets when the doctor weighs you, put a number that’s at least 20 pounds too optimistic on your driver’s license, and tell anyone else who asks a random number in kilograms (provided they’re American—it’ll leave them guessing for days).

Put things away for safekeeping


If people can’t find your shit, they can’t snoop on it. So lock it up and hide it away—under floorboards, in safes (do people actually use these?), locked file cabinets, your oven (it’s not like you’ll be using it for anything else), the back of your toilet—wherever people won’t be able to see it and/or will be deterred from going through it. I keep anything personal I have at my office in the above pouch from Blue Q, just to make things completely clear to my coworkers. #theycan’taccuseyouofbeingunprofessionalifyousay”please”

Let the NSA know you’re onto them

Say “hi” to them on all of your phone calls, or ask them to weigh in on the discussion (“How about you, NSA? Kelly and I can’t decide—do you think Kevin is a total asshole for saying he finds other women attractive, or should she give him the benefit of the doubt? (I mean, she’s no Virgin Mary, if you know what I’m saying..)”), or test them (“So I’m thinking of sneaking into the White House and stealing Michelle Obama’s arms…”), just so they know that you know that they’re listening. Or write a P.S. to them at the end of every email, (e.g. “P.S. To whom it may concern, all of my emails are written in code. SUCK IT, BITCH.”).

Maintain multiple identities

We’re compartmentalizing, people. Be one person around your family, another around your friends, and a third at work. To your mother, you’re a God-fearing virgin who wears stockings, flats and headbands without fault, eats a non-shameful amount of carbs, and participates politely in family functions, making sure to tamp down any real emotions while nodding and smiling like you’re any given politician’s wife. To your friends, you’re the girl who drinks wine an Olivia Pope-amount (but without the white/beige/off-white cashmere capes and permanent forlorn mouth-slightly-agape look), doesn’t wash her hair, and keeps a steady supply of Spaghetti-Os on her nightstand so she never has to leave her bed (the can opener is God’s Sistine Chapel). And to your boss, you’re a dedicated robot who sure can! make a double-sided three hole-punched scan easy peasy, speaks in a tone which does not convey whatsoever a desire to kill everyone whose presence you are forced to tolerate in the office, and who is best described as a “team player.”

Tell people to kindly, fuck off

The bottom line is that your stuff is your stuff, and I really don’t care if other people think they’re entitled to be all up in it. So the next time your sister steals the antique sewing machine your grandmother left you, bust into her house (I find it’s most effective if you break in by smashing a window in the middle of the night while wearing a ski mask), take it back, and tell her the next time she touches it you’ll have no problem sewing her sticky fingers together. Or the next time your boss comes right up behind you and stares at your computer screen, start Googling “human resources violations” while you tell him to butt the fuck out (“Did you, or did you not, hire me because you trust me? I CAN’T DO MY PERSONAL TASKS JOB WITH YOU HOVERING THERE”). And the next time a friend won’t stop pressing for details about your date the other night, simply say, “no” (because let’s be real there’s not going to be anything good to tell anyways).

Fortify your surroundings

People can’t invade your privacy if there are physical barriers. If you have a window pane that allows people to see into your office, spray it densely with fake snow (it’s a motherfucking blizzard up in here). Turn your computer monitor so it’s facing away from all possible vantage points. Protect all of your online accounts with the most obscure passwords possible (“okaybutreallywhat’sthedealwithRyanSeacrest’ssexuality?” or “ifyou’rereadingthisstop,” or “canweallagreethatLostwasalldownhillafterseason3,maybe4ifwe’rebeinggenerous(canyouunderlinepartsofpasswords?)?“). Take all phone calls in the bathroom, stairwell, or outside on a busy street only. Build a moat outside of every threshold in your vicinity, and populate the water with piranhas. #it’sabouttogetBiblicalupinthisbitch (#assumingyoucanestablishanicerhythmicflood)

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