is this weird man repeller
A Brief List of the Life Lessons We Somehow Totally Missed
09.04.19

Amina, 25, can’t ride a bike; Sophie, 23, can’t cook pasta; and Quinn, 22, feels extremely uncertain vis-à-vis the basics of inflation.

Emilia can’t drive at 24. Katie’s 22 and she can’t make coffee. Melissa, 25, doesn’t know how to swim without physically plugging her nose.

Putting a cover on a duvet escapes Kiana, who is 20, and Nika, the same age, doesn’t know how to change a light bulb. “It’s been dark since November,” she says. “Good thing I’m moving.”

Aine and Abby are 23: Aine can only type with her index fingers and thumbs, Abby has no idea how to file her taxes. Maggie is 28 and says, “I cannot properly clean my bathroom without looking up a YouTube video,” which I do find perplexing, but will not judge.

Deb, 51, can’t fold a fitted sheet, but who can, really?

These are not the members of a culturally regressive cult, they are just grown adults going about their lives, unbothered by the one odd lesson they seemed to miss as they clawed their ways into adulthood. I’m fascinated by these little blips—the fundamentals that escape our grasp by simple chance. Just the other day I learned I’ve been mispronouncing wunderkind for years; I’ve been saying it as if it’s a compound word of “wonder” and “kind,” when in fact it’s far more German-sounding. Wo͝ondərˌkind. Anyway, the irony is perfect.

The other week at the Man Repeller office, the team got to confessing our respective blind spots. The spark was a Twitter thread on the topic, which I’d link to if I could find it, but it was eons ago in internet years and I’m not sure who even posted it. Either way, the conversation was lively. Crystal doesn’t know how to read a rotary clock. Amalie is still perfecting her lefts and rights. Nora and Harling only know how to tie their shoes bunny ear-style. Jasmin’s not sure how to hang stuff on walls. My brain wheezes every time I try to understand something related to the stock market.

I’m weirdly delighted by these little side-steps, which I don’t consider embarrassing evidence that we’re incompetent, but rather proof that among the millions of lessons we metabolize as we age, we’re bound to miss a few. They defy the expectation that there exists among us a shared essential knowledge, and free us up to admit we still don’t know how to floss (Katherine, 31) or do a cartwheel (Jess, 23), and are doing just fine anyway.

When I asked my Instagram followers to share their blind spots, some of which populate the beginning of this story, there were a surprising number of redundancies: Trust me when I say a lot of people don’t understand taxes, health insurance, or long division. And you need not be ashamed if you’re one of them (I blame our horrific education systems, although I recommend figuring out the first two to some degree, if only for your own financial and physical wellbeing. But who am I to judge? I’m no wonder-kind).

Which “essential” boats did you manage to miss?

Feature graphic by Dasha Faires.

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