Now that all of you are seasoned professionals at cooking bacon and opening bananas, I think it’s time I share some of my more advanced Life Hacks.
1. Don’t sit on your wallet.
This is a tip more generally directed toward men. But, in the spirit of gender equality, if you’re a woman and this applies to you as well—pay attention!
You should never, ever, ever, EVER sit on your wallet. (EVER!). Not while driving, not while in class, not while at work. Put it in your front pocket (or backpack or purse or whatever) from this day forward.
There is a well-known medical condition known as Piriformis Syndrome. It is a painful form of Sciatica, that affects the Piriformis muscle—located on the buttocks near the top of the hip joint. This muscle is crucial in lower body movement, and in helping maintain balance, and shift weight from one foot to another.
If you get Piriformis Syndrome, also known as “fat wallet sciatica”, you will have to spend a lot of money, and a lot of time doing Physical Therapy to realign your hips and your lower back. And it will hurt.
So, in short: I don’t care if you spend all day sitting on a soft, squishy couch.
And no, I don’t give a shit that you’ve been carrying your wallet in your back pocket for 15 years and that’s all you know.
Too bad. Sciatica is not worth it. Swallow your pride and put your wallet in the front left pocket with your keys.
2. Leave the recipient address blank while writing an e-mail.
I think most of us can think back to a situation where we have accidentally sent out an e-mail to the wrong person. Or we have sent an unfinished e-mail to a potential job employer or a professor or somebody of importance.
It’s embarrassing, and you have to send another e-mail to follow up that first shitty e-mail to explain that you “miss-clicked and are not, in fact, a moron.” It’s going to be a tough sell after making that first impression.
Just trust me on this one. Write out your e-mail first, attach what you need to, look it over a second time, and then put in the recipient address.
You have nothing to lose by doing it this way, and you are gambling with destiny the other way.
3. Avoid red-colored foods/beverages when wearing white.
Fruit Punch Gatorade might as well be re-named “unremovable red stain liquid.” All of my white shirts are stained with little red splotches of Gatorade. (Seriously, check next time you see me at the gym).
If you are like me and you like to wear white shirts, I recommend avoiding pasta, chili, and red Gatorade.
Or don’t. See what happens. (Spoiler: your wardrobe will end up like mine).
4. Never wear a clip-on tie.
If you are over the age of four, then this should be a no-brainer. How a man ties his tie says a lot about him—and, of course, it’s all subjective.
Some people say that the Full-Windsor is the only way to go—the wide knot demonstrates confidence, drive, and intelligence: perfect for a leader.
Others say that the Single-Windsor is the way to go. It’s subtle, professional, and can open up the use of different materials of ties since it requires less knotting.
There are many more knots, of course, and there are many conflicting opinions about which knots are better than others. But one thing that everybody can agree on is this:
Clip-on ties make you look like a fucking idiot.
Not knowing how to do something is fine. We all started there at one point. The difference between being ignorant and failing at life is the ability to improve on your shortcomings when the opportunity arises.
You don’t know how to tie a tie now? Great! Get on YouTube right now and learn how. Here is the exact video I used.
5. Learn to give a handshake
First impressions are important. What people don’t often stop to consider, however, is just how much your handshake impacts your first impression.
I was 10 years old when I moved to Texas. Up until that point in my life, I had gotten away with weak, limp, shitty handshakes. (Thanks Argentina and Massachusetts.) That first year in Texas was a handshake baptism of fire.
This is how most of my interactions with older men would go:
- Friend: “Hey dad/uncle/grandfather/older brother, this is my friend Juan.”
- Older man: “Howdy! I’m (insert name). Nice to meet you, Waaaannnnn!” *extends veiny, meaty, manhand*
- Me: “Nice to meet you.” *extends limp-fish child hand*
- Older man: “You call that a handshake?! Come on, let’s try that again. This time like a man…”
- Me: *attempts second time, this time squeezing as hard as possible*
- Older man: “Much better!”
Every. Single. Fucking. Time. You’d think I would’ve learned my lesson after the first several times. Nope!
You really don’t want to experience the awkward re-do handshake. Follow these (sub)tips and you never will.
- Stand up if you are sitting. Every handshake you will give from now until the end of time will be from the feet.
- Clasp at the appropriate moment. Not too soon, or you will end up crushing your handshake companion’s fingers. And not too late, or you might miss half of the handshake before you even take action.
- Use the appropriate amount of strength. If you don’t squeeze enough, the other person might immediately assume you’re weak or a pushover. However, if you use too much strength, you might set a confrontational tone with that person for the rest of your relationship. In the business/political world, that is not good.
- Make eye contact. Don’t look at their shoes, or at the floor, or over the other person’s shoulder. Be strong, and look the other person in the eyes when you shake their hands.
- Don’t get fancy. Don’t try and use the second hand to cover it up. Don’t try to do a slide and clasp after the handshake. And don’t try the Bill Clinton bear-hug handshake technique. It works for him, because he’s the most personable politician ever. Odds are, you are not Bill Clinton. It won’t have the same effect for you as it does for him. Just keep it simple, professional, and—most importantly—short. Don’t be the guy who lingers during the handshake. You want to tell me about your kids? Great! Do it when you’re not holding my hand, you weird, clingy asshole.