I was at a small music show a few nights ago—something I rarely do anymore since I’m adverse to paying more than $25 for a ticket and making plans months in advance in the NYC, and club gigs are well, annoying, for the most part. About three-quarters through, after watching the adorable drummer pound away on his trapset and shake his shaker-thing, man, I thought that kid was cute. Which reminded me of things I managed to do before I got older—things that only can be done with the sweet delusion of youth, a lack of general awareness or consequences, and the arrogant mind-set that, goddammit, you are someone who’s gonna make something of yourself someday in this big, bad world.
Ah, your 20s.
And so, I present a list of things Every Woman Must Do Before 30:
• Fuck a traveling band member. No, this ain’t groupie shit. You need not adorn yourself in spandex or headbands or gladiator sandals or American Apparel and wait outside the tour bus or beg to get backstage to only end up screwing a roadie who claims to tune Slash’s/Jonny Greenwood’s/or one of those Followill kids’ guitars.
This is most uncool. But what can be fun and cool is to take one of those little up-and-comers from a fledgling band, and kinda make nice with them before/after the show. (I prefer bass players and drummers–they tend to be easier pickings, not as narcissistic and have bigger dicks). Hell, even offer them a place to crash for the night if they’re traveling through. A quick roll with a Ramblin’ Man will do wonders for your self-esteem, even if the sex will likely be poor to mediocre at best. Plus, they’re leaving the next day. No fuss, no muss.
• Negotiate and make one large purchase on your own. My crappy four-door Ford Taurus’ AC went out in Vegas. In July. Then the transmission started to slide. As I drove around that firepit for a month, with my nose pressed outside the window at stoplights like a puppy fighting for air, I was on a mission for a new car, and I didn’t have anyone to help me. I read a book about how to do it, then hit the dealerships for a parade of misogyny like no other. One guy was so pissed that I wouldn’t buy the piece-of-shit car they were trying to press on me that he threw down his card, yelled at me, then stormed off, muttering under his breath about what a bitch I was. But I knew what I wanted, and when I was ready to buy it. And when I was, a friend went with me to the dealership to make sure I didn’t get screwed over. But I already had done all the research and picked out the car. Sharing the fun of driving off the lot in my first-ever new car was a perk.
• Drive a long, long ways. Alone.
• Have the balls to kick an asshole roommate out.
• And that brings us to living by yourself in an awesome, appropriate grown-ass apartment. My first real place in Chicago was brilliant—a bright, clean, huge one-bedroom on a tree-lined street. Sure, the only place I could afford was in a marginal neighborhood, bordered by a kiddie park that was filled with drugs and hookers at night, but coming home to your own place is a magical, magical feeling indeed.
• Learn how to smoke cigarettes—not that inhaul and hold in your mouth Spring Break bullshit, but real smoking. Sucking it in, looking at the stars, blowing it out, thinking about heavy matters, thinking about the band member you’re gonna bang tonight. Then quit. Cold turkey. The ability to form—and ditch—a bad habit is character-building. It’s not for pussies.
• Learn how to hug. Seriously, the physical greeting—whether hugging, kissing both cheeks, must be mastered. I sucked at this ’cause I come from a line of Midwestern Germans—We Do Not Touch Each Other—but had to learn from Italians that a little warm, platonic greeting goes a long way.
• Kiss a girl. And not in that bullshit Katy Perry way.
• Dump someone who is bad for you. Sure, they’re great in bed and fun sometimes, but an asshole is still an asshole, no matter how much Patron you try to pour over him. I believe that Dan Savage calls this Dump the Motherfucker Already. Cause you’re in your 20s—and boys (or girls) are supposed to be fun, which is some of the best advice I ever got from Auntie Jen.
• Fall in love with someone who isn’t an asshole. You can do it. There are nice boys (or girls) who are just as much fun as the bad ones. Then tell them you love them—and mean it.
Also, I wanted to add an example of goal-setting gone wrong. A chick in England at 20 decided that she wanted to emulate Sam from “Sex and the City” and sleep with 1,000 men. Nothing sexy about fucking like you’re on an assembly line. Unless of course, you are on an actual assembly line, having sex with a hot blue-collar foreman of some sort… Anyway, yuck.