The Three Best Bits of Relationship Advice I’ve Ever Been Given

[Today’s guest post is by the inimitable Sarah Brown whose website Que Sera Sera I’ve been reading since 2001. We finally met in person over a bourbon in New York City in November 2006 which eventually led to a shared air mattress and a late night discussion about chocolate semen. Better than ordinary semen we decided, although much more fattening. Her first book, Cringe: Teenage Diaries, Journals, Notes, Letters, Poems, and Abandoned Rock Operas, comes out in August.]

1. From my mother: “Never let a man see you put on pantyhose.”

I realize at first this sounds like one of those stupid sayings your aunt would have needlepointed on a throw pillow, next to others about golf and chocolate, but this is probably the most airtight advice I’ve ever been given. When you say it to men, they invariably say, “What? No way, that’s hot,” and then you remind them, no, it’s hot when it’s coming off, and even then, you’re picturing it in the slow-motion burlesque tease that rarely accompanies actual sex (thank god). When you say this bit of advice to women, they go, “Ooh, yeah.” No matter how skinny you are, no man need ever witness all the weird shimmies and jumps and kicks that go with getting nylons where you want them. It’s like sausage being made.

2. From Maggie Mason: “When I was single, I decided I wouldn’t marry a man unless I could be proud if we had a son who turned out exactly like him.”

This one made me go, “Ohhhhhhhhhh man” and stop daydreaming and put my phone down. It was a real eye-opener for me, especially at the point in time that I read it, and it’s stopped me from making more phone calls or return text messages than Emancipatia, my anti-drunk-dialing mammy thimble who lives on my bedside table, has ever blocked.

3. From me, to a friend: “If you start to get nervous, just remember that one time he drank his own pee.”

A friend of mine was going on a it’s-not-clear-if-this-is-a-date-or-not with a friend of a mutual friend, so before the maybe-date, I brought up the dude to the mutual friend to get some background info. He had very nice things to say, but also let it drop that at one point in time, the dude had (accidentally) drank his own pee, due to some sort of vitaminwater bottle mixup that I don’t even want to begin know about. This is a huge difference between women and men: if my friend had ever accidentally drank her own urine, you can be damn sure I would have NEVER let this information slip, and especially not in the first three sentences. Anyway, so I went back to my friend and said, “Yeah, he sounds cool, he’s a stand up guy, he’s this and this and this, but if you start to get nervous, just remember that one time he drank his own pee.”

I am very anxious to use this advice myself, even if it’s not exactly true. Everyone has done something comparable. If you haven’t, you are either lying or boring.

Bonus: Advice that sounds good but my life has proved totally bogus.

From the old saying: “Marry someone you love to talk to. As you get older, their conversational skills will be as important as any other.”

I have met one person in my entire life that I never got tired of talking to, ever. We could banter and joke and finish sentences and ask questions for hours, forever, and sometimes we’d stop and not speak for years, and then pick right up again where we left off. The talking was great. I would miss it, and sometimes still do. The only downside to this relationship was __________ ____________________________________________________