4 Things You Should Never Do in Front of People You Love
Life is full of rules, and damn if there aren't a lot of nasty animals breaking those rules on a shockingly consistent basis. Given the history of this site, that opening sentence is probably more than a little confusing. This article is, in fact, not about animals. It's about people. Like the people joining me on this week's Unpopular Opinion podcast.
First up is Greg Santos. He's a friend, a comic, and one-half of the comedy duo Tunguska Yacht Club. Speaking of things you shouldn't do in front of other people, he tells a great story in this week's episode about how he's shit his pants three times in the past year. You don't want to miss it!
Also joining me is Ben Blanchard. He's also a friend and also a comic, and, on top of all that, he helps me run the Unpopular Opinion live show. Oh, and he's the inspiration for this column. See, the two of us have a very fundamental disagreement on how the world works. That's true at least as it relates to the first entry listed below, which we start arguing about almost as soon as the show starts.
Anyway, in my honest and expert opinion, there are just some things in life that you should never let the people you love see you doing. I understand that society has progressed to a point where everyone is supposed to be comfortable doing everything in front of everyone, but call me old-fashioned, I still like to believe I have some shame left in me.
That's why, in the game of life, there are a few strict rules I like to live by. For starters ...
Never Shit in Front of Your Significant Other
There are two types of couples in this world -- couples who poop in front of each other and couples who love each other. If you're in a relationship right now, take a moment to ask yourself which category you fall into and then start planning the next step of your life accordingly.
If you're stewing in the filth of your own disagreement right now, I have a few questions. First, why are you so goddamn gross? No one wants to see you shitting, I promise. Hell, no one even wants to hear you shitting. That might even be worse, in fact. The walls in my current apartment are sort of thin, and I say "sort of" because it's only a problem in the bathroom. I hear next to nothing from my neighbors in any other room, but in the bathroom, I hear everything. As a result of this unfortunate circumstance, I'm pretty sure I know my neighbor's wife way better than he ever will.
"Tell those irritable bowels I say hello!"
At least I hope I do, because the alternative is that someone is actually on hand to witness the deviant acts that produce the terrifying series of splashes and explosions that I'm regularly subjected to hearing on account of the two of us apparently having the exact same "waste" schedule. Don't get me wrong, I know that means I've put her through a lot, too, and I don't doubt that this is why we've yet to say more than five words to each other the entire time we've lived a mere walk across the hallway from each other.
Or maybe she dislikes me for any number of other reasons (I hope it's because she reads this column) and is otherwise one of those lunatics who just has no qualms about turning "personal" time into a public spectacle. I've certainly known plenty of couples who operate that way. If you're among them, I have another question: Are you sure it's a mutual decision?
Someone on this comically long couch isn't happy, that's for sure.
You hear about couples doing the deed in front of each other mostly in stories about someone sneaking in to pinch off a particularly rowdy dump while the other half of the team is in the shower. If this sounds like you, the next thing I want to know is how long the other involved party has been OK with this behavior. Did they take to it immediately, possibly even returning the favor by shitting during your shower time at some point down the road? If so, good; it sounds like you two disgusting fucks are perfect for each other. Thanks for taking each other off the rest of society's hands.
On the other hand, did they just eventually stop protesting and take the humiliation quietly? In that case, your mate isn't "comfortable"; your mate is broken. Your insistence on sharing in filth time has finally conquered their spirit.
"You'll never smell like rancid Chipotle, will you, outdoor shower?"
The upside is that you can now pretty much do anything you want in front of them without fear of repercussion. The downside, of course, is that they no longer love or respect you. If you're game for shitting in view of anyone, though, respect is something you probably gave up trying to earn a long time ago.
Look, I get it: When you're in love, you're supposed to share everything. That said, our forefathers weren't shitting indoors when they wrote that into the Constitution. Outhouses weren't a shared experience, and for some activities, not sharing in them as a team is the loving thing to do. Shitting is definitely one of those activities.
Oh, and since we're on the subject of significant others and things you shouldn't share ...
Never Argue With Your Significant Other in Front of Friends
Pop quiz! You and your mate have had an outing with friends planned for weeks, and now that the big night is here, you've somehow managed to bother each other enough to the point that the situation has escalated into a full-on fight. Not a physical fight, but also not just an argument. There's too much tension to just let it out onto the streets without warning people, but there's also that previous commitment that, no matter how much you wish this wasn't the case, absolutely requires your presence. What do you do?
That's a trick question, actually. See, your presence is never required. You stay your grumpy asses at home.
Sure, people might want you around, but the party will surely roll on without you, and that's definitely the preferred outcome if the only party favors you plan to bring are the deep-seated internal conflicts you have with your partner. If the two of you hope to retain your membership in a circle of friends that gather regularly to do fun things, plan on checking your bullshit differences at the door whenever you meet up. Anything less is the very height of discourtesy.
Furthermore, whatever you think you bring to the party isn't even sort of worth the aggravation that having a couple in the throes of a passionate dispute around brings to everyone involved.
Can we get this table a double order of shut the fuck up, please?
If you're a person of somewhat sound mind and equipped with at least a starter set of manners, you should already be scoffing at the idea of anyone thinking it's all right to argue in front of friends. That's fine; you should feel that way, but understand that I'm not just talking about full-on brawls. Don't use your friends to settle disputes of any sort.
"Bro, settle this once and for all: Are me and the wife in the country of Jamaica or the city of Jamaica right now?"
Asking the group to mediate your couples debate about the ramifications of fracking or your favorite television show or whatever might seem like a cutesy and quasi-intellectual way to make your friends feel involved in your relationship, but the problem is, no one wants to be involved in your fucking relationship. Not to that degree, anyway. Furthermore, making everyone choose one side or the other while both of you are sitting in the room is unspeakably uncomfortable, no matter what being told you're right does for your ego.
Look -- everyone argues. That's a fact of life. No one faults you for that, but no one wants to hear it, either.
Don't Get Hammered in Front of Your Kids
Listen, I understand that getting drunk is lots of fun. I liked it so much that I had to stop doing it altogether, in fact. That doesn't mean I expect anyone else to, though. I mean, I don't need any of you to suffer for my sins, you know? Just who do you think you are, Jesus or something? If so, you're probably smashed right now. That's appropriate, I reckon.
At least it's appropriate assuming you're not currently responsible for the care of your children. Read that slowly, lushes. It doesn't just say "out in public with your children." That you shouldn't get sloppy drunk while hitting the town with your kids is something you shouldn't need anyone to tell you. I've known plenty of people who think that rule doesn't necessarily need to apply at home, though, and those people are wrong. You know, like David Hasselhoff!
He made the mistake of getting blackout drunk with his kids around, and they responded in exactly the manner one should in that situation: record video, upload it to YouTube, and then use the resulting public shame to temporarily revive the offending drunkard's career.
"It's your fault this time, America!"
Obviously, the real reason his kids recorded that sad moment in Hoff-story was to shame their drunken father into getting his life in order. Chances are, if you're getting that wrecked around the house, your kids probably aren't as confident in their ability to Internet shame you back to stability. Maybe a window of opportunity existed in that respect back when A&E was still turning debilitating dependency issues into theater, but those days are long gone now.
We will never forget you.
Even if that wasn't the case, you're not Ozzy Osbourne. Your drunken shenanigans are only going to make you famous among the offspring who no longer desire to speak to you. I get that you're home and you should be able to do whatever you want, but that's not true, because you have kids. If some shit goes down and someone has to make important, adult decisions in an emergency situation, that person, ideally, shouldn't be hammered.
If you'd told me one month ago that I'd find a use for this stock photo someday, I'd have called you a liar.
Again, I'm definitely not saying that people shouldn't drink. If your kids are gone or if you don't have kids, by all means, get sloppy everywhere you go (responsibly). Hell, I'm not even saying you shouldn't drink in front of your kids, but there's a huge difference between having a beer after dinner and having a case of beer after dinner, that difference specifically being your ability to function. If people are relying on you to keep them safe, it's your responsibility to keep it together.
Or at least let the kids start drinking, too.
Besides, how many of your proudest moments involve you being drunk? Please note, I said "proudest," not "funnest." If anyone's having fun when your kids are around, it should be your kids. I get that this sentiment is almost certainly why people drink around their kids in the first place, but that doesn't make it any less true, I'm afraid.
Don't Watch Sex Scenes in Front of Your Parents
When you were a child, did you ever watch movies with your parents? If so, do you remember what happened if an especially "adult-themed" scene popped up unexpectedly? Chances are either the channel was changed immediately or you were ushered out of the room with similar swiftness. It's easy to chalk their actions up to them being good parents, but the truth is, they probably didn't give a shit about you seeing a pair of exposed breasts when you were still too young to care; they just didn't want to feel like bad parents. That's an uncomfortable way to feel.
As you get older, though, you should be the one who's uncomfortable. No matter how many years have passed, nothing about the dynamic between you and your parents should have changed as it relates to fictionalized sex. There should never come a time when mother, father, son, and daughter gather 'round the television as a family to watch Cinemax After Dark.
But definitely not for families, either.
That should still be plenty awkward for everyone involved. The only difference is that, now, if one of your parents were to grab the remote and change the channel the second someone started boning, you'd probably yell at them for treating you like a child or some shit. That doesn't mean they want to watch people bang while enjoying your company, though. No, they want that channel changed or that scene forwarded through just as badly as you do, except they want you to take the initiative to do it for a change. If they were worth anything at all as parents, they've trained you well for this moment; don't mess it up by letting that Hollywood fucking play out for one second longer than it must.
Yes, I get that, technically, you and your parents are all adults, which positions you well within the "adult entertainment" demographic, but that label is one that's meant to signify how entertaining that content will be to you, individually. If you ask me, there should be a separate rating or labeling system that tells moviegoers how comfortable they'll be screening that particular film in the company of others.
In fact, maybe just make sure you're alone altogether when you watch this one.
Maybe a multiplication table type of setup where if you're watching a particular movie with a particular group of people, you just locate where that group and movie cross on the table and that tells you how uncomfortable things will get should you choose to proceed. Should you watch Requiem for a Dream with your parents? Only if you're comfortable with your mom being in the room when a disgusting businessman yells "Ass to ass!" at Jennifer Connelly as she shares a dildo for two with a fellow heroin addict. (The clip below is very much NSFW.)
Guess what? You aren't comfortable with that at all. There are some things you and your parents should not share; films about young women bartering sex for drugs is one of them for sure. Unfortunately, film details like this are rarely listed on the DVD cover or in the two-sentence synopsis on Netflix. That means sometimes uncomfortable viewing situations will arise. Having a raucous sex scene suddenly appear while you're enjoying a film with your mom or dad doesn't make you a degenerate, but sticking it out to enjoy the boning as a family probably does.
Adam hosts a podcast called Unpopular Opinion that you should listen to on Soundcloud and a live stand-up comedy show of the same name that you should come see sometime if you're in the Los Angeles area. You should also be his friend on Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr.