by: Nico Lang
Note: “What I Haven’t Learned Yet” is a new column that features anti-advice from our writers. This week, Nico Lang explains to children why they suck at life, explores the canon of Sofia Coppola and tells you why you should always close the blinds.
1. If you don’t know what that food is, do not eat it.
Because God and Tim Tebow hate me, I’m allergic to gluten, dairy, eggs, wheat and beef; I also have a slight allergy to blueberries and green beans, which is a really great excuse to never have to eat green beans.
Although I know that all of this means I need to be careful around food, I care about it less than I should. I am a notorious garbage picker and rescued a roommate’s bananas from the bin last week because they “didn’t look that moldy” to me. I have also eaten Unidentified Food Objects out of the same trash without regard to their origins. Was that an old tomato or a rat? A sirloin steak or the Dead Sea Scrolls? After you slather it in vegenaise, it all tastes the same going down.
Also, I went to a party with a stomach ache yesterday, and when I complained about it, a friend told me that I wouldn’t have a stomach ache if I didn’t eat old, crusted food that was stuck to the stove. I tried to argue with that, but I had done just that. Earlier that day.
2. If you have already dated and broken up with someone once, it’s best not to try to date them again.
I am what is called an “Ex-Recycler,” as I have a really bad habit of pining for the warmth of old flames. In fact, I’ve dated almost all of my Most Significant Exes multiple times, and I still live with one of them. Another just happens to be my best friend.
As this shows, I’m very good at being friends with my exes, and I can only think of a few that I’ve exiled to Hatred Island, a place where my silent scorn will haunt them for all of eternity like the Smoke Monster. In fact, I’m so good at it that I often forget that I ever wanted to end things in the first place. I’ll forget that we never kissed, that his mom hates the very sight of me or that I would cry after we had sex. This time, it will work out, I think.
Spoiler: It never works out.
3. Also, you will never change him.
I don’t care if he’s seeing a therapist, if he’s “working on his rage issues,” if his mom says he can change, if the Pope says he can change, he will not change, and you cannot make him.
I always remember this, but then I remember how cute he is, how great he is in bed, how he cooked me dinner that one time, how nice he was to my mom. Later, that ends in me helping him avoid his drug dealer and telling his friends, “No, I haven’t seen him lately. You should tell Rodney to try him at his place.” (pause) “Rodney saw him sneaking in my backdoor?” (pause) “No, he’s not hiding under my bed. That’s ridiculous.”
Remember how fun Hide and Seek was as a kid? It’s not so much fun as an adult, especially when getting found means getting shot by a man who has grills unironically.
4. I am terrible with children.
Seriously, no one should ever leave me alone with kids. I have no sense of things that you can’t say to them, and for some reason, being around children makes me swear even more. For instance, a child I used to watch told me that his sister was eating her Legos. My response: “That’s because your sister is a fucking idiot.” She’s two.
I also did not get up to try to stop her. George Carlin once said that dangerous children’s toys were just nature’s way of thinning out the herd and far be it for me to argue with one of the great comedic minds of the 20th century.
5. Getting up early is good for you.
Whoever said that thing about early rising making you healthy, wealthy and wise is an asshole. I think it was Benjamin Franklin, and if so, he’s also a syphilis-ridden asshole. Mornings suck, and anyone who tells you differently has just been brainwashed by Mitt Romney’s people. Sleep is a wonderful thing, and my goal is to get as much of it as I can in this life, as long as I stop having sex dreams about Newt Gingrich.
So, not only is this a lesson I haven’t learned, it’s also one I don’t want to learn. Take that, Morning Culture.
6. You can’t always talk about sex with your grandparents.
In a lot of ways, my grandparents are a lot like my actual parents, as my Dad is non-existent and my Mom did the free-spirit thing for most of my life. She’s more like the crazy best friend you have that you don’t always know how to explain to people. On my graduation day, we celebrated at a gay bar with some of my friends and she danced on a table. That’s the woman who raised me.
Thus, I’ve outsourced a lot of the parent things to my grandparents, which often involves my personal life. As I’m poly, that means I have a lot more of it than most people, and there’s always a lot to discuss. However, old people are not usually the best sounding boards for your non-normative lifestyle, no matter how supportive they say they are. They are old and frail, and if you tell them that you’re dating a married guy or are nervous about meeting your sex partner’s boyfriend, they might not survive. Be gentle.
7. However, your grandparents might want to talk about their sex life with you.
This doesn’t apply in all cases. Once, a week before my grandparents were ready to go on a romantic vacation, I asked my grandfather if he was going to “take Nana to Funkytown.” He almost crashed the car, so I never got my answer.
However, my grandmother once told me that she often takes out her teeth in order to better pleasure my grandfather, a revelation that came out of nowhere. We were sitting at a park, and I almost vomited in the grass. With old people, you have to be prepared – because after AARP age, the sequiturs go out the window.
8. Sofia Coppola movies are always the same and nothing happens in them.
Every time another one of her movies comes out, I always expect it to go anywhere, for anything to happen, and when Somewhere came out, I felt so encouraged. Finally, a plot! I mean, it didn’t have to be Tolstoy or anything, but I thought there might be some character development. Unfortunately, her definition of character development is two characters staring at each other for 90 minutes and feeling wistfully sad about how rich they are – because, apparently, Sofia Coppola’s life is terrible. Being the One Percenter daughter of a One Percenter in a family of One Percenters is the worst.
And when another Sofia movie comes out, another elegiac ode to herself, I will line up again, waiting for her to finally talk about anything else, waiting for her to finally let me kick the football. Maybe next time. Just maybe.
9. Washing machines are good and want to help you.
Full disclosure: I cannot conclusively remember the last time the pants I’m wearing were “clean” in the traditional sense. I usually go for “clean enough,” which means that those pants have no visible stains on them and do not smell overtly horrible. Have they been urinated on or crapped in recently? No? Great, let’s go. Most people call this disgusting, especially when it involves underpants. I call it “Boy Scouting It.”
Moral: Being a grad student is horrible for your hygiene habits.
10. If you plan on masturbating, close your blinds.
I live in Uptown, which is known as the Batshit Crazy Capital of the World, and next to a halfway house – so this is doubly true. Recently, two people got into a fight in my backyard, and they don’t even live in our building. Someone has been huffing paint in our basement, and a man sometimes stares into my back window. Once, right before bed, I decided to give myself the “Five-Finger Discount” – because I had a long day and pictures of Ryan Gosling just happened to be up on my computer – and he got an eyeful. Literally. He screamed, “My eyes!” and ran away.
People of Uptown, let that be a lesson to you.
Nico Lang is the Co-Creator and Co-Editor of In Our Words and a graduate student in DePaul University’s Media & Cinema Studies program. Lang is a Change Coordinator for LGBT Change, the Co-Founder of Chicago’s Queer Intercollegiate Alliance and a critic for HEAVEMedia. His work has been featured in the Washington Post, the Huffington Post, the New Gay and on his mother’s refrigerator. Nico is poly, pansexual and genderqueer but really just identifies as whatever David Bowie is. Follow Nico on Twitter @GidgetLang or on the Facebook.