"Looks like there's gonna be an engagement party for you after all!"

"There is? Not that Nate or I know of."

"Was it supposed to be a surprise?"

"I have no idea. I don't know what you're talking about."

"Well, I got a Facebook invite from Cynthia, your co-worker."

"I honestly don't know anything about that."

"I figure if there's a Facebook invite, you'd figure it out soon enough."

"I haven't seen a Facebook invite."

"Hang on, let me check."


"Uh. Um. Yeah. It actually says it's a surprise. And you're blocked from seeing it."

"Oh. Uh, yeah. Cool. Well, so...yeah. We'll be there then."

"Oh, wow. Oh my gosh. I'm so sorry. Do you think you can act surprised anyway?"

"Sure, yeah, definitely. Thanks for, um, telling me. See you then."

Surprise Someone IRL. Via the Internet, That Is

No. That's right. Just no. No, this scenario will not happen to you. No, no, no.

Why? Because Social Distortion understands that social media isn't just for online weirdos to meet offline and share an awkward cup of coffee at an out-of-the-way java house in a remote area of the city, where they will then journey to one or the other's car in the adjacent parking lot and attempt to consummate their forced reality-based relationship by initiating uncomfortable physical contact in some way, shape, or form, following which neither will ever mention it to friends, family, or even in his or her online diary.

Ahem, that never happened.

You can make stuff happen via social media, like birthday parties! Promotion celebrations! Menopause soirees! Death-to-the-dictator rallies! Quinceaneras! Whatever you do, do it up as a surprise, and you're even more golden than ever before. Yes, a surprise bash will get you laid. You heard it here first.

But how? If you wanna surprise 'em, keep these rules in mind:

1. Railroad the riffraff. Is your social circle stalker-inclined? No need for the restraining orders (yet). Set that Facebook invite to "Secret," and only people that make your short list can view the event and its details. What's that all mean? If you don't invite 'em, they ain't a-comin'. End of story.

2. Digitize all dialogue. Communication by phone or - gasp! - in person? Pffft. That's so 1999, and you increase your risk of discovery anyway. Any good philanderer would know that much. So keep it covertly copasetic by corresponding via email, Twitter direct messages, Facebook messages, or text messages. However, buyer beware! The surprise beneficiary may suspect you've secured another lover or have suddenly become incredibly popular when your phone blows up with text messages half an hour before the event. Or so we're told.

3. But give it the bedroom eyes and keep it behind closed doors. Look. It's easy to slip up. We understand that you're gonna be inclined to write, "See you tonight?" on every invitee's Facebook Wall, or perhaps make the mistake of tweeting, "Can't wait for @shananana's birthday party tonight at 13 Celsius!" But do your best - your very, very, Sunday best - to shut your damn mouth when it comes to the public side of the social media platforms you're using to plan this shindig.

4. Roll like the Super Friends and join forces for the good of all mankind. Even the most extroverted and busybodyish of individuals can be authentically ambushed if you involve someone from all walks of his or her life. Pay attention to the key players mentioned in any conversation you have with said social butterfly, and reach out to the named peoples dropped via Facebook. Combine superpowers, and you will be invincible.

5. Be a K.I.S.S. ass. If you think this acronym has anything to do with affection or long-tongued rock bands, think again. Let's put it this way - if the event is a surprise, make it clear, whether you use Facebook, Evite, Eventbrite, Meetup, a super secret Twitter account, or a password-protected LiveJournal, for all we care. Make sure everyone is aware that THIS EVENT IS A SURPRISE AND THE PERSON DOES NOT KNOW ABOUT THIS EVENT AT ALL GAWDDAMMIT. Because Murphy's Law practically guarantees that if someone gets the chance to spill the beans, by golly, someone WILL spill the beans, mash them and ground them beneath his or her heels, and lo and behold, your special occasion is...well, hummus. Without the Mediterranean flavor.

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