How to panic and f**k it up when someone asks for directions

BEING asked for directions used to be a common occurrence before smartphones intervened. Here are six deranged ways to react if it happens now:

Make something up

Rather than say you don’t know to a motorist, panic and blurt out a series of semi-convincing left and right turns at fictitious landmarks. Spend the next hour living in paranoid terror that they’ll find you again and implausibly decide to beat you up.

Be painfully accurate

Completely mess things up by being excruciatingly pedantic about junctions and road lanes. Throw in a little local history too. If they’re a middle-aged man you could be there for hours. If not, they’ll be looking for someone else to ask within seconds.

Pretend you’re foreign

Rather than admit your ignorance, pretend to have a foreign accent and speak very little English. It’s offensive but at least there’ll be no doubt about you being a twat when you unconvincingly burble: ‘Me no habitez locally, amigo.’

Become distracted by their appearance

Become fixated on a facial blemish or the person’s general appearance, and rudely stare. Ask if they’re on TV and if you can have a selfie. You’ll avoid giving directions entirely as they’ll decide you’re a nutcase and put the pedal to the metal.

Get needlessly defensive

It’s bloody unreasonable to be asked a question without adequate preparation. You’re fully entitled to say ‘I don’t know! Why are you asking me? I haven’t memorised the f**king road atlas. Don’t you have a phone?’ Feeling guilty and shouting ‘Sorry’ after them will do little to help.

Make it all about you

Do the thing you always do in conversation and bring it all back to you. ‘Yes, I’ve often meant to visit Matalan. I find it hard to buy clothes that fit due to having short legs…’ If they’re in a car, they’re haring off. If they’re on foot, they’re running.

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'Actress' and other words you're not sure you can say any more

SOME words will cause horror if you say them, others you’re not so sure about. Here are some that are either totally fine or will get you ostracised forever.


When you were a kid everyone would refer to actors of the female gender as actresses and nobody gave a toss, but nowadays the word is a bit of a minefield. You could always say ‘female performer’ if you’re not sure but that’s a bit clunky. Best just to shut up forever.


This is either hugely offensive to people with brain disorders, or the word hot-shot office workers use when coming up with cool ideas. Or at least that’s what you imagine they say. You’ve been unemployed most of your life and get all your frames of reference from daytime repeats of 90s sitcoms. 

The C-word

No, not ‘crap’, the other one, Jesus. Depending on who you talk to this is either the worst word in existence or one that needs to be reclaimed as an act of female empowerment. Good luck trying to look like an ally by saying the C-word if you’re a bloke though, as anyone who overhears you will think you’re a vile misogynist.

Grammar Nazi

Used to be an acceptable way of referring to pedants who call you out on dangling participles, but now people have realised it’s a bit insensitive to drag the Holocaust into conversations about sentence structure. Use more PC alternatives, such as ‘tedious f**king wanker’.

Anything that describes ethnicity

Even if it’s the most inoffensive word relating to a person’s ethnicity, you’re not sure if you should steer clear or not. Instead pretend you’re so superior you don’t even see race. It’s cowardly but enlightened.