I don't know how old you are – I don't care, is the thing, because once you hit 25 you absolutely stop caring about the age or even the finer details such as the names of people around you – but in July I slammed into 27. It's not even an especially grand age – I still have the face of a child, essentially, stretched taut over the wizened and jaded skull of a man – but I started to feel a change. Someone said "on fleek" to me and I didn't even bother to find out what it meant. I went to McDonald's at the end of a night out and thought, 'Actually, no,' and then went home and instead had a single slice of toast. I started a savings account. Young me – rebellious me, with a haircut and a don't-give-a-fuck-attitude and a job in an inbound call centre – young me is absolutely gutted at this development. Old me could not give less of a shit.
Sometimes, when the twilight is descending, I go and find a bench by the sea, and as I watch the young people peacock up and down the promenade, I think back fondly to the things that 20-year-old me used to do – sorting Skittles by colour then dropping them into six bottles of vodka and then, possibly related, doing a perfect crescent of vomit into and around the toilet at my mum's house; really enjoying Christopher Nolan Batman movies; reading a book and thinking it was important. And then I think: what a turd idiot. What a shit man. What an awful, awful jeb.
In-depth analysis from our SEO guy tells me most of VICE readers are either 25 or approaching 25 and, as such, in dire need of guidance. Consider me your wise old sage. Because I've been there: hitting 25 is the first true reminder that life is finite and you are dying by the second. And because of this, it's a good age to open your eyes, clear your head and stop doing things you are too fucking old for any more. Here they are:
1) Doing Drugs to Impress People
I did a cocaine once and all it really made me do was dance a bit then eat two entire grab bags of Monster Munch on the bus home. I once did a marijuana and watched as one of my mates very slowly pissed themselves. Is that what drugs are meant to do? Either way, listen: it's not for me.
If you like putting cocaine in your face or up your arse then please, by all means, go and do that right now. But when you hit 25 I think you know whether you actually like doing drugs – with all the requisite waiting around for a drug dealer and the furtive toilet visits and all the times you are expected to rip your shirt open to the naval and shout "I LOVE DOING DRUGS" – or whether you are just doing them because cooler kids than you are doing them, too. We were shown boring videos about peer pressure at secondary school, ffs – they were inexplicably correct! There's no point doing post-25 drugs unless you're really into it.
2) Being ID'd
It's really fun being ID'd when you are young and actually have ID because there is something glorious about the face people pull when they are counting backwards and trying to figure out your age from your year of birth. But then when you are ID'd twice in the same night by the same fucking barmaid and you are 27 years old, it becomes more tedious.
3) Eating Bread with Wild Abandon
The days of me eating an entire baguette with some brie and then fitting into my trousers the next day are over.
4) Trying to Understand Young People with Their Young People Music
I will give £100 to the first person who can sit me down and convincingly explain how Sam Smith or Ariana Grande are considered talented and likeable.
5) Drinking Apple Sourz or a Jägergrenade
A Jägergrenade is a special kind of Jägerbomb that somehow incorporates a shot of tequila into the mix and so help me, I will never drink one of those things again. Apple Sourz are just Calpol for people with restraining orders and should never be paid for with actual money.
6) Panicking at an ATM
When you are poor, the regular Room 101 of your life is going to a cash machine and hoping that it will give you some money. The worst one is when you put your details in and ask for £10 and the machine whirrs and clicks and your stomach rises and your heart beats in your throat and then it goes, "Sorry, this machine can only dispense: £20 notes" and you have to go through the whole rigmarole again, hoping and praying that the god of ATMs is a benevolent one. When you get to 25 you are so over that shit it's not even funny. Fuck ATMs and fuck banks. Fuck zero-hour contracts and a high cost of living. Fuck having to pay for a tin of corned beef with a mug full of 20p pieces. But no one else can fuck these things for you, so learn how to manage your dough.
7) Experimenting with a Haircut
If you've got to 25 and you haven't got every fringe or dye job or shaved patch hair mistake out of your system yet then you've been doing hair wrong for a solid quarter-century. Stop trying to stay current. Anything that requires more than two products or curling implements is an overcomplication at your age. When you go to the hairdressers, ask for a short back and sides for boys or "a bit off the ends, but not too much off the ends" for girls. That's it. That's your haircut forever now. Enjoy it.
8) Talking to Anyone Under the Age of 22
I know there's that thing about the youngest people you can viably have sex with being half your age plus seven, but I don't know what I would say to a 20.5-year-old girl beyond, like, "Hey, has anyone ever tried to explain floppy disks to you?" Most of my conversations are basically just loudly remembering how good Euro 96 was, so it's really difficult for me to communicate with anyone who doesn't have at least one fond memory of Steve Stone. Consider this my resignation from talking to anyone born after 1994.
9) Engaging in Small Talk
Sometimes I get introduced to people and I say, "Oh, nice to meet you," and they say: we have met before. And immediately that person is written off in my head. If you were that good at small talk, mate, I would have remembered you. So you're clearly shite. And I'm not wasting any more of my short and finite life talking to you about the job you hate in marketing.
10) Getting the Nightbus
I have had a lot of adventures on nightbuses – I have woken up in Friern Barnet, for example, as a glassy sunrise peeks over the horizon and a really large angry bus driver hits the ceiling of his own bus just to try and rouse me – but then I realised, like, taxis aren't that expensive? And they are way better than waiting in the cold for 45 minutes while someone stands really close to you and gets every single speck of meat out of a box of chicken wings? And you can sleep in a taxi and you won't get woken up by beer bottles rolling around on the floor and then solidly into your feet? One time, I tucked a £20 note into a secret compartment in my wallet just so I wouldn't spend it on beer, just so I could definitely get a cab home. That was the most adult thing I have ever done in my life.
11) Shopping at River Island
"Oh, this T-shirt has a neckline that is not just a normal, straight-up crew neck! That'll look good in photos when I look back upon my youth. Hope it's got some fucking writing on the back as w— shit yes, it does! It says 'BROOKLYN HEIGHTS' on the front and, inexplicably, 'LA RIDER' on the back. Sambucas on me, lads!"
12) Having Shit Mates
If we go for a pint and I have to do all the conversational legwork, that's strike one. When you invite me to a Facebook event that doesn't even occur for six more weeks, that's two. If you say "we should hang out more" but don't suggest a time or a place for us to hang out, you're out. I have difficulty enough finding time for my real mates, and I say that as a deeply unpopular man. Post-25 is no time for shit mates.
13) Bad One-Night Stands
Getting people to like you for even five minutes is exhausting enough, let alone hanging on through the required hours of groundwork you have to put in before you can go to their house, knock a lamp over and wetly fuck them. If you're going to go through the tedium of having a one-night stand, which is just a whirr of limbs and awkward condom chat and a 7AM request to charge your iPhone so you can Google Maps your way home, at least make a decent crack of it. You are rapidly approaching death. You were not put on this earth to fill it with yet more bad sex.
14) Group Holidays
There is a tipping point at the age of 25 between the group holidays of your youth (in which people who are confident wearing swimwear paint their faces and spend £150 in a Spanish nightclub) and of your future (in which eight people who've all fucked each other at some point rent a massive villa in France after a 12-week email chain and then someone says "holibobs"). In between then you will have one perfect moment of clarity where you realise going on holiday with your friends is the worst thing you can possibly do with your summer and cancel all plans and just go to the park with some Magners. Then you hit 26 and find yourself saying stuff like, "Yeah, let's do Holi Festival in Barcelona this year! That sounds not shitty!" and just like that, they pull you back in. Enjoy your one human summer free from your terrible friends.
15) The Bitter, Bitter End of a Night Out
As soon as it hits 3AM and you run out of ideas and someone asks, "Where next?" and nobody says, "Directly home without talking to each other," then you know the night has gone on too long. If you've gone full circle and sobered up in a nightclub, go home. If someone suggests going to the only bar they can think of that is open and it is anything more than a five-minute walk away, go home. And that moment when you find yourself at the bar, holding your cashcard, and sincerely looking at the receipt to see how two pints and three shots can possibly cost north of £40? Go home and never leave the house again.
Have a banana and a glass of water and a couple of Ibuprofen and you'll be more or less fine.
17) Queuing Up for a Club
I AM 27 NOW. I AM CRUELLY AWARE THAT LIFE IS FINITE. THERE IS A MAN WHO HAS PUSHED IN TWO PLACES IN FRONT OF ME AND NOW HE IS RUNNING THROUGH EVERY SINGLE RINGTONE ON HIS PHONE. SAVE ME FROM THIS HELL BY CONDEMNING ME TO DEATH.
18) Being Bantered Off with Barmen's Shithousery
Maybe it's me – maybe it's my face or my honking puppet voice or just my enormous ego – but there is something pure and fundamental about me that winds barmen up. And I am sick of being shitetalked by people who open bottles for a living. Where the fuck do barmen get off? You pour liquid into dirty cups, occasionally pick those cups up when I am done with them and sometimes drop the cups in a stack on the floor and everybody cheers. You're not Jesus, you're a dickwad. If you wear a bottle opener attachment on your belt then I really could do without the sass, cheers.
19) Not Having the Heating On
I have had a fair few cold winters since being an adult away from home – there was that December when the boiler broke and we were too afraid to tell the landlord because every time we reminded the landlord we existed he would, like clockwork, hike up the rent; there were the two weeks I had to go and live with my sister just so I wouldn't have to have my fingers amputated from the cold. And there have been days when I have come home from work, put on two more pairs of socks and an extra hoody, then got into bed immediately with my laptop under the covers because that's the only way I could synthesise the true feeling of warmth.
But then I reached 25 and I realised, like, I can just put the heating on. Or get one of those fan heater things in my room and sod my housemates, I pay my share of the electricity bill. I feel like the next step is stomping around the house like an angry dad turning off lights when they are not being used, but dammit, winter is long and I'm not spending it cold any more.
I went to Leeds Festival this summer and realised with horror that I was one of the oldest people there, especially when I looked in my bag and found responsible things like don't-shit-yourself pills and a travel pillow. Turns out I'd fast-forwarded through "being young" straight to "pervy dad". It might have been the herbal highs playing with my mind but I swear the amount of alcohol it took to blot out that truth was enough for St. John's Ambulance to put a tail on me for the entire weekend.
21) Wearing Any Deodorant That Comes in a Box With a Matching Shower Gel
There is a day that happens in London pretty much every March or April – the date is changeable and imprecise, like Easter – and that is the day that every man in the city is caught out by unseasonably hot weather and, in a panic, grabs whatever deodorant tin came in the "men's grooming" boxset their aunt got them for Christmas. Nothing smells quite like boxset deodorant day. Nothing.
The last time I wore such a deodorant was when I was 21, when my aunt bought me a can of deodorant with a football on it that came with a sponge shaped like a football. I smelled like a PE class got changed in M&M's World. I smelled sweet and sweaty at the same time. Like all my puberty happened in one day. There's something about the hormonal balance of actual adults that smells wrong when mixed with fragrances which are designed to be cheap Christmas presents for teenagers. Nix them when you hit 25.
22) Reading Blogs
Your opinions are so poorly conveyed.
23) Pregnancy Scares
Nothing fills me with dread like the idea of having a kid – unless you're 25 and you've already got a couple of kids, in which case good for you and I'm sure they are really unique and can already speak conversational French – because kids are awful and hard work and they rely on you exclusively for every single thing they need. I have a cat and it is a stretch to feed him two times a day. What if he did a shit on himself so bad I had to clean it up with a wet wipe? What if I had to do that multiple times a day for the next 18 months until he properly learns to shit? I don't know how you think I am capable of doing that. I can barely make a sandwich. I cannot be trusted with the equipment required to make babies.
24) Any Text Message Longer Than 200 Characters
What could possibly be that important
Stop pretending fingering is good for either the finger er or the finger ee. "How was the sex?" "Yeah, good. I just wished he fingered me more. You know, it just would have been nice if he tried to cram a few more fingers in." Nobody has ever said this. Nobody will say this, ever. If you're over 25 and you're still getting some fingering done then doctors could use the services of your mind to help them profile serial killers.
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