What’s Something You Learned Embarrassingly Late in Life?
Margaret Alper wins the swimming event at the National Senior Sports Classic in Syracuse, New York State, USA, 1st July 1991. (Photo by Barbara Alper/Getty Images)

In December, I was battling my third virus in as many months when I discovered blowing my nose. I’d been congested for two straight weeks and the phlegm wasn’t moving despite me mainlining Advil Cold & Sinus. So I blew. And it worked! Like a no-fail paleolithic decongestant I didn’t know existed. When I was incredulous, baffled even, I immediately understood that I should be embarrassed for feeling so.

“I’d always thought of nose-blowing as sort of optional, a response to a tickle maybe,” I announced to the office (bravely, IMO). “I didn’t realize it was my responsibility to expel the phlegm by blowing it out, I thought it just disappeared after a while.” Everyone laughed at me and asked if I was serious.

I texted my mom immediately in search of answers. How did she not teach me this? I asked. She told me I was being ridiculous and that I should look elsewhere (like inward) if I needed someone on which to pin the blame. I texted my siblings, who said I was on my own. I told my roommates, who said I was nuts. Well, shit.

I’ll say it first: 27 feels old to learn how to blow one’s nose. A mother holding a tissue to a toddler’s face and tenderly suggesting they blow feels more appropriate. But sometimes these things just slip through the cracks. I also thought the word eyebrow was pronounced and spelled “eyebral” for the first 10 years of my life. I couldn’t make these up (nor defend them).

As consolation, Leandra told me she didn’t know how to put a tampon in until she was 17, which I found endearing (and unfortunate). Harling told me her mom thought the Heimlich maneuver was called the Heimlich remover until she was 50, which seems reasonable, no? Jasmin thought cuff links were called “cufflings” until she was 15, which I find very cute. (Cuffling season!) And Amelia learned to ride a bike when she was 16, which I want to point out is a full decade after she learned to ride a horse, so you know where her priorities lie.

So, join us and give it up: What did you learn embarrassingly late in life?

Photo for Evening Standard via Getty Images.

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