You love snowboarding. Or climbing. Or mountain biking. You’ve been doing it for so long, you can’t remember what your life was like without it. But your new boyfriend/girlfriend doesn’t — yet. So you need to teach them. Here are some tips to guarantee they’ll never understand you or want to go with you, and most likely won’t want to date you anymore afterward.
1. Don’t start on beginner-level stuff. What, are you supposed to wait around on the bunny slopes, or some birthday-party toprope crag because your new love interest has never skied or climbed before? Pffff. Baptism by fire. Go straight to the Slickrock Trail, fuck the practice loop. You can’t even remember what is was like to not be able to climb 5.10s, so start at 5.10, or 5.11.
2. Consider the learning environment. The best time to teach someone how to take down a sport climbing anchor is when they’re at the top of the route and you’re at the bottom, preferably when there are lots of other people around to listen to you yell instructions. The best place to teach mountain biking techniques is not at the trailhead, but at the steepest spot of singletrack you can find — hopefully in the middle of the day on a Saturday, when other riders can pile up behind your hesitant newbie girlfriend/boyfriend.
3. Get them to buy all the gear before they’ve tried the sport. Nothing puts the pressure on to learn and immediately love something like spending $2,000 on a bike, or $1,500 on skis and a season pass. This works the same way having a baby, or buying a big house, can save a failing marriage.
4. Invite all your friends to accompany the two of you on his/her first day. Think about it: When you’re learning, and having a hard time, nothing beats having six or seven people waiting for you to get down a blue run as you keep falling, or having an audience to perform for when you’re already nervous.
5. Remember that their first day is about them experiencing what real climbing, or skiing, or riding, is like — not learning. It’s important to have them tag along on something you want to do — your project, or your ride. Instead of wasting your time teaching them footwork on a 5.5 toprope route all day, drag them up a multi-pitch 5.10 with lots of hand and fist jams. Powder day? Perfect! No friends on a powder day, and that includes girlfriends and boyfriends. See you at the bottom, get some face shots, if you know what that means. Also, nothing builds character like a good crash on your first ride.
6. If you can’t get them to buy all the gear beforehand, borrow ill-fitting gear for them to try. Nothing beats having a first day with ski boots that are a size too big (even better, a size too small), a climbing helmet that tilts sideways with every move, or a bike that smashes your balls every time you try to step off it.
7. Focus on the negative. Your BF doing something right? Ignore it. Point out what he’s doing wrong, so he can work on it and suck less. Sigh loudly when you’re doing this.
8. Tone is important. When teaching someone something new, be sure to begin all instructions with the word “just,” to drive home the point that it’s so simple, a 2-year-old could do it, why can’t they? Examples:
“Just put the edge of your shoe on that little dime-sized nub and push off.”
“Just link your turns, like I do. Are you watching me? Just do what I’m doing.”
“Just grab the jug. Just grab it. Just grab the jug. Right there. Just grab it.”
9. When you get tired of waiting for them, repeat “come on,” as if you were talking to a dog. You have other shit to do today besides teach them to climb or ride. Let’s go. I mean Jeeeeeeesus Christ.
More stories like this in my new book, Bears Don’t Care About Your Problems, out now.