I still can’t whistle and it’s ruining my life
… and everyone knows humming is for losers
I’m a 21 year old adult who still doesn’t know how to whistle.
Of course some can’t swim, and others out there never learnt how to ride a bike, but I’d give up my BMX and breast stroke in a heart beat if it meant putting an end to this lifelong humiliation of fruitless pouting. And yes, before you ask, I’ve tried the one where you stick your fingers in your mouth and blow, and all other styles and techniques for that matter. It just won’t happen and I don’t know what to do.
Self-assurance can only go so far. My inability to produce that magical sound is undermining me in so many ways, and I’m running out of excuses for my hopeless incompetence.
Each and every moment of my life is spent quietly avoiding social situations where whistling could potentially be involved. Have you ever had everyone around you giving you the “what the actual fuck?” stare when they catch you humming the bassline rather than whistling the melody to The Great Escape? I hope not. Because it’s the lowest one can ever possibly feel.
The misery is compiled when I return home in the holidays to find my 10 year old sister strutting around the house, whistling her way through the entirety of NOW 89. She may as well rub salt in my already gaping wound and take on something a bit challenging, maybe nine minute long Meatloaf ballad, or a heart wrenching Jeff Buckley number.
Why not? I bet she could pull it off. Because she can whistle, and I can’t.
The pain probably wouldn’t be as unbearable if whistling wasn’t such an unequivocally wonderful thing. Whistling crosses languages, borders, religions and cultures, lifts spirits and relieves us from those awkward silences.
The moment when one of your nearest and dearest decides to break into whistle and others join should be a moment of absolute bliss, and for functioning humans it probably is. But for the non-whistler it is hell on Earth.
Imagine this happening during pre-drinks. It does happen, and it’s awful.
“Look at us whistling and how joyous we are”, their smug faces say, while I – reaching for my £5 bottle of wine – desperately attempt to formulate a justified excuse for my abstention. I pretend to text when really I’m poking a black screen, I’ll keep the bottle of wine in my mouth to excuse my lips from involvement (not that they could become involved anyway), I’ll leave the room to pretend to go to the toilet or get another drink when I clearly don’t need one.
I love music, play it too. But can anyone take me seriously when my life is spent constantly being mocked by own greatest instrument… my mouth? Humming is for losers and tapping the desk is a poor substitute. I mean, nobody even remembers the dummers (okay, maybe the guy from Blink 182 but Ringo Starr doesn’t count).
I have facial hair goddammit, slightly hairy toes too, and I am in the third year of a real life degree. 99 per cent of evidence tells me I am probably an adult human. But then again, I can’t whistle. Maybe one day I’ll wake up with a mouth that complies with social expectations, but until then I’ll forever be the guy who hums.