By 36, you should know…
1. How to figure out which way to unroll a condom.
2. How you feel about all your friends’ annoying kids.
3. How to break up with a woman, and how to break up with a man—whether you’re gay, bi, straight, whatever. It’s just good to know these things.
4. When to hold ‘em and when to fold ‘em.
5. That there’ll be time enough for counting when the dealing’s done.
6. How to kiss in a way that communicates perfectly, via Morse Code, what you would and wouldn’t like to happen next.
7. The name of Joe Biden, because whatta guy.
8. What to say when your friends come over to your studio apartment and seem a little weirded out by the fact that “the couch” is the bed.
9. Where to go—whether it be your best friend’s kitchen table or a yoga mat—when you’re tripping.
10. That you can’t change the length of your penis, the width of your penis, or whether or not you’re circumcised—unless you’re not circumcised, in which case that is something you could change. Theoretically.
11. That your childhood may not have been perfect, but at least you didn’t spend it locked in a basement—unless you did, in which case, at least you’re not locked in a basement any more—unless you are, in which case, that explains why you have time to waste reading blogs.
12. How much money you would and wouldn’t take, or give, for sexual favors.
13. That nobody gets away with smoking, doing drugs, or not flossing for very long—except your dad, who’s still huffing away like he’s on Mad Men.
14. Who you can trust and who you can’t when they say won’t have sex in front of the cat if you ask them to catsit.
15. Not to apologize unless you get caught.
16. That Esquire is to men as Cosmo is to women: it’s supposed to make you feel bad about yourself.
17. That you shouldn’t even bother telling people it’s incorrect to pluralize their family name with an apostrophe on their Christmas cards (“Merry Christmas from the Anderson’s!”), because they won’t believe you.
18. Why they say life begins at 30, and who “they” are, and how they overcame the impotence issues that plagued them throughout their 20s.
By 36, you should have…
1. One ex-girlfriend who’s told you to pretend you don’t know her if you ever run into her on the street, and one whose best friend has told you to “go die.”
2. A chair that’s rightfully the property of the federal government because it used to be in your grandfather’s conference room when he worked for the government and your aunt decided that it should stay in the family instead of sitting in some warehouse so she stole it away under cover of darkness.
3. A pair of underwear you can wear if you’re ever invited to participate in “naked time” on a cable access TV show.
4. A suitcase you can borrow from your mom when your backpack isn’t big enough.
5. A youth you can outrun. (A toddler counts as “a youth.”)
6. A past that lets you get drunk quickly during games of Never Have I Ever.
7. The realization that you might actually have an old age—and the plan to live entirely off your social security payments when it comes.
8. An e-mail address, a voice mailbox, and a bank account—the first of which is annoyingly full, the third of which is annoyingly empty, and the second of which contains only messages from your parents because they’re the only ones who ever actually leave voicemails.
9. Several different résumés that make you look like you’ve had several different career ambitions, for use applying to several different jobs in the hopes that you’ll actually get one of them.
10. One friend who always makes you laugh (in bed) and one who always makes you cry (in bed).
11. A drawerful of allen wrenches that came with your IKEA furniture and that you collectively consider your “tool chest.”
12. A Bose stereo that you bought during the three-month period when you had a job with benefits.
13. The belief that you deserve it, but that it makes you look kind of douchey.
14. Some kind of tiny pick or something that you can use to pop zits, because yes, you still get those at age 36.
15. Some source of income that will pay your rent for at least this month.
16. An old family picture that seems a little weird now that your parents have divorced, but whatever.
17. A commemorative silver-plated bowl that you got for being an RA, and that has now tarnished because you think it’s cosmically stupid that you should have to buy and use polish for something someone gave you as an honor.
18. A lamp with a built-in ashtray.