You never thought it would happen, did you? Then one day you wake up and–Surprise!–you’re a trentagenarian. Even though you don’t feel like one. And even though 30 is the new 20, right? Right?
Contrary to what our youth-obsessed culture claims, turning the big 3-0 is actually pretty awesome. You’ve survived your insecure 20s. You’re finally a real adult. People take you more seriously. And those who don’t, well, they can go to hell. You don’t have time to worry about them anymore. You’re 30.
You have money in the bank. Your know your strengths. And your weaknesses. That awful roommate you lived with for three and a half years? He’s out the picture. So are all the losers you dated. You no longer have to help your friends move, or sport the latest designer gadget, or feel guilty for staying in on a Friday night. “I’m 30,” you can say. And it’s a perfectly valid excuse.
Scroll down for 30 things every gay man must do before entering his third decade in life. And add more suggestions in the comments section below…
30. Make friends with someone you haven’t slept with
Any gay guy who says he hasn’t hooked up with at least 50 percent of his male friends is either lying or exhibits amazing self-control. Many a lifelong friendships between gay men were born of casual sex. But by the time you’re 30, you should have at least one close gay friend who you have not touched below the waist.
29. Get over the ex who hurt you
He screwed you over. That sucks. Move on. (He has.)
28. Watch the movie Showgirls
A screening of the 1995 cult classic starring Elizabeth Berkley is a rite of passage every modern gay man must go through. You have not fully lived until you’ve witnessed Jessie Spano lick a stripper pole, make out with Gina Gershon, then call her a bitch, and hump Kyle MacLachlan salmon-style in a swimming pool.
27. Clear out your closet
Turning 30 is a great time to purge your wardrobe. Kiss the jeans you wore in college goodbye, not just because they no longer fit, but because nobody wears True Religions anymore. The graphic T’s also need to go. And if the words “Abercrombie & Fitch” or “American Eagle” appear anywhere on an item, please see that it is swiftly discarded, unless you can find a way to wear them with a certain irony.
26. Evaluate your safe-sex practices
Just like getting your car tuned-up every 30,000, turning 30 is a good time to do a quick evaluation of your safe-sex practices. Have you been tested for HIV recently? (Lots of guys who are HIV-positive go years without knowing they’re infected.) What about getting screened for other STDs? (Things can be lingering in your body that you don’t know about.) Have you considered going on Truvada? (Even if you decide not to take the drug, it’s something to at least think about now that it’s available.)
Honestly, you should have already done this by now, but just in case you’re still sucking away on those nasty cancer sticks, even if only on what you call an “occasion,” it’s time to kick that dirty habit to the curb. Smoking causes premature aging which, if you haven’t noticed yet, is already happening at an alarming rate without any assistance from Philip Morris.
24. Learn how to hold your alcohol
While we’re on the topic of chemical substances, learning how to hold your alcohol is another skill you should have developed by now. Blacking out and/or puking from too much booze is never cute. But it’s especially not cute when you’re 10 years away from being 40. Helpful hint: No more than one beverage every two hours, alternating with a tall glass of water.
23. Stop drunk texting your FBs
This goes hand-in-hand with learning how to hold your alcohol. Drunk dialing (or texting) your friends at 2 a.m. when they have to be at work the next day is rude and obnoxious. Nobody wants to be awoken by their alcoholic friend when they have an 8:30 conference call in the morning. Not even if that friend is you. (Of course, there is a weekend and/or holiday exception to this rule. Since, from our experience, drunk texting on a Saturday night can still lead to some very fun experiences that you otherwise might not have experienced sober. You may be 30, but you’re not dead.)
22. See Cher in concert
She’s pushing 70.
21. Cut the drama
Life doesn’t have to be one big soap opera. Learn how to pick and choose your battles. Taking offense at every little thing or demanding political correctness from everyone at all times is not only futile, but it will give you wrinkles and turn your hair grey, which are both real threats now that you’re halfway up the hill.
20. Date an older guy
And by “older” we mean at least a decade or two. Let him wine and dine you before taking you back to his fabulous penthouse apartment and showing you a thing or five. A lot can be learned from a fella who’s been around the block. Not to mention, intergenerational sex can be totally hot. Even if you are not all that into it at first. Not to mention, the good Karma may benefit you when you reach your dotage.
19. Register to vote — and actually cast your ballot
Hopefully you did this years ago, but just in case you forgot, it’s time to get with the program. Now that you’ve successfully survived your 20s, there’s really no excuse for no longer paying attention to what’s going on in the world around you. Monica Lewinsky’s ex-boyfriend’s wife will be running for President in 2016 and she’s counting on your vote.
18. Pay down your credit card debt
That obnoxious $3,500 (read: $35,000) that’s been hovering on your Visa bill for the past few years isn’t going to disappear by simply making the minimum payment. It’s time to start actually paying for all those dinners and drinks you couldn’t afford in your 20s.
17. Learn how to cook
Eating at restaurants is expensive — and not all that great for your health. And you’re never going to pay down that credit card debt if you keep blowing your paychecks on fine dining. Learning how to cook a few basic meals at home won’t just save you money, but it’s a great way to impress that guy you’ve been seeing. After all, everyone loves a man who knows his way around the kitchen, especially when it’s next to the bedroom.
16. Stay at a clothing-optional resort
Everyone should experience the thrill of walking around the grounds of a hotel completely naked at least once in their life. Consider spending your 30th birthday in your birthday suit by booking a suite at a luxurious, clothing-optional resort.
15. Open a retirement account
Remember when you had just turned 20 and 30 seemed like a lifetime away? Well, the same applies to retirement. 65 is only 35 years from now. So start saving. Even if it’s just $100 or $200 a month at first, you’ll be glad you did when you wake up tomorrow and realize that you’re your father’s age.
It’s known as the miracle of compound interest. Google it.
14. Get rid of all your crap from IKEA
Rickety furniture made from particle board belongs in dorm rooms and the dumps of recent college grads. If your entire home is still furnished exclusively by IKEA, consider investing in something new. One of the perks to being a trentagenarian is that you can (hopefully) now afford a nice dining room set that doesn’t require any assembly.
13. Date someone who’s not your type
Do you only hook up with guys who are taller than you? Do you only have eyes for Latino men? Do you refuse to date anyone who isn’t a Democrat? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then you’re missing out. The world is filled with tons of sexy and interesting men who may not meet every strict qualification you demand in a lover, but who are still worth getting to know. Try putting aside your preconceived notions just once and grabbing a drink with someone you wouldn’t typically meet up with.
12. Read Gore Vidal’s The City and the Pillar
Seriously, if you haven’t read this book, do. First published in 1948, it’s a coming-of-age tale about a young man and his relationship with his best friend that still rings very true today. It’s a must-read classic in gay literature.
11. Accept that some people are just assholes and nothing will ever change that
So stop getting so fired up about everything. The sooner you do, the happier you’ll be.
10. Explore a sexual fetish
Whether it’s some light S&M, role playing, or having a threesome, trying something different in the bedroom is not only fun, but you may find an exciting new activity that you can now pursue for the next decade or five.
9. Stop saying “I hate kids”
If you don’t like kids, don’t have them. But declaring your animus towards an innocent minority group that has done absolutely nothing to you (other than exist in the same world) makes you seem like a real asshole. And anyway, it’s probably not the kids you hate. It’s their parents.
At the same time, stop referring to guys over 40 as “old trolls” on your Grindr profile. Not just because it makes you seem like an arrogant little bitch, but because — brace yourself — there are 20-year-olds saying the same thing about you.
Hurts, doesn’t it?
8. Gain some selfie-control
Unabashed narcissism is excusable when you’re still in your 20s. But the time you’ve reached your third decade it stops being charming. Surely you have enough pictures of yourself by now.
7. Indulge in luxurious bedding
Time to trash those cheap Target sheets. 200-thread count is no longer acceptable. Invest in a set of sheets and pillows that are truly heavenly. Now that you’re getting up there in age, you need your beauty sleep. So make it comfortable. Make it luxurious. You’re worth it.
6. Have coffee with an ex-boyfriend
And by “have coffee” we mean actually have coffee, not hookup together. There’s something kinda cool about catching up with an ex after it’s been a few years. And at 30, you no doubt have plenty of exes, as well as plenty of years, to make this happen.
5. Quit comparing yourself to others
It may seem like your peers have more of their shit together, but there’s a very likely chance they feel the same way towards you. So stop comparing yourself to them. And stop beating up yourself for not being exactly where you hoped you’d be by now. You’ll get there eventually. And if you don’t, you’ll figure something else out, and it will be equally, maybe even more, satisfying.
4. Wear sunscreen, even on your butt
And not just when you go to the beach. Find a facial moisturizer with SPF and wear it every single day. Your 40-year-old self will thank you.
3. Stop complaining about the things everyone else deals with, too
Nobody likes paying their student loan bill, or going to work on Monday, or getting their driver’s license renewed. But they do it, and usually without complaint, because it’s part of being a grown-up. If you still find yourself posting statements like “UGH! I think I’m getting sick! This is not what I need right now!” or “Work sucks!!! Why can’t it just be the weekend???” to your Facebook profile, ask yourself: What do you hope to accomplish by sharing these petty grievances with your entire social network? Other than dragging everyone else down into your misery, that is.
2. Bottom… At least once
If you’re hitting your third decade in life and you’ve still never tried it, either because you’re scared, it doesn’t interest you, or you suffer from what is commonly referred to as “anal shame,” it’s time to face your fears and give it a good, old-fashioned college try. Who knows? You might enjoy it. And if you don’t, you never have to do it again. At least not until you turn 40.
1. Stop freaking out about being 30
It’s just an even number. It’s really not that big of a deal.