We were lied to. The women of my generation were told that we could ‘have it all’, as long as ‘it all’ was marriage, babies and a career in finance, a cupboard full of beautiful shoes and terminal exhaustion – and even that is only an option if we’re rich, white, straight and well behaved. These perfect lives would necessarily rely on an army of nannies and care-workers, and nobody has yet bothered to ask whether they can have it all.

We can have everything we want as long as what we want is a life spent searching for exhausting work that doesn’t pay enough, shopping for things we don’t need and sticking to a set of social and sexual rules that turn out, once you plough through the layers of trash and adverts, to be as rigid as ever.

As for young men, they were told they lived in a brave new world of economic and sexual opportunity, and if they felt angry or afraid, if they felt constrained or bewildered by contradictory expectations, by the pressure to act masculine, make money, demonstrate dominance and fuck a lot of pretty women while remaining a decent human being, then their distress was the fault of women and minorities. It was these grasping women, these homosexuals and people of colour who had taken away the power and satisfaction that was once their birthright as men. We were taught, all of us, that if we were dissatisfied, it was our fault, or the fault of those closest to us. We were built wrong, somehow. We had failed to adjust. If we showed any sort of distress, we probably needed to be medicated or incarcerated, depending on our social status. There are supposed to be no structural problems, just individual maladaption.

1. Mixing negotiations. Most car shoppers are fixated on the amount they can spend each month for a car, and salespeople know this. It’s their hope that you’ll tip your hand as to what you think an affordable monthly payment will be. Oftentimes, they’ll even ask you what that figure is. Don’t fall into that trap, as a slick salesperson will use that number to pad in as much profit as he can for himself.

2. Marked-Up Financing. Car dealerships might make very little profit on the actual sales price of a new car, so they have to find other streams of revenue like selling used cars and repair and maintenance charges. But one common profit center is to offer in-house financing. What typically happens when you apply for financing through a dealership is that they take your loan application to several lenders to see what interest rates you qualify for. So, if the best interest rate they can find for you is 5%, they’ll come back to you with a rate that’s between 2-4 points higher, skimming that extra interest right off the top and sometimes splitting it with the finance company.

3. The Spot Delivery Scam. Don’t ever take that new car home unless all the financing has been finalized. Some unscrupulous car dealerships use a “ spot delivery scam,” where they allow potential buyers to leave with the car they’ve chosen before financing has been finalized, only to call them up several days later to tell them the loan has fallen through. They then ask for the car to be returned, sometimes threatening repossession.

4. Unneeded Extras. Car dealerships like to add “dealer-installed options” to pad the price of the car, often doing so after a sales price has already been negotiated. This allows them to boost profits by adding things such as rustproofing, paint sealers, fabric protection, and VIN etching (where they scratch the car’s vehicle identification number into the windshield). Together, these add-ons can add hundreds, even thousands, to your bill.

5. Extended Warranties. New car buyers should always say no to extended warranties, which can add between $1,200 and $1,500 to the invoice, as they’re notoriously bad deals. They’re nothing more than a bet you’re making with a third-party on how reliable your car will be, and the odds are not in your favor. Car salesmen push extended warranties because they get a large commission for selling them, up to 50 percent or more.

I remember standing in a dark, cramped room in a military processing center just outside Chicago in the summer of 2003. I was waiting to take the oath of enlistment after signing up to join the Navy. I casually accepted the offer of Missile Technician handed to me by the Navy classifier. The generic and brief job description was overly technical for my liking, as I never considered myself adept at mechanical life – the auto mechanics class in high school was a requirement, but I found absolutely no joy in it. The classifier assuaged my misgivings with a reassuring, “Dude, you get to blow stuff up and see the world.” Sold. Where do I sign?

The 15 most bizarre sex tips from the Victorian era

  1. Uterine suction prevents rape. 
  2. A child turns out like the partner who had the best orgasm.
  3. Dancing and horse trotting can prevent pregnancy. 
  4. Masturbation will stunt your growth and make you crazy.
  5. Eating bland foods can prevent masturbation. 
  6. "Only truly deranged females would succumb to the temptations of masturbation."
  7. Flirting can lead to disease. 
  8. If you can’t climax at the same instant as your partner, you’re a failure.
  9. Have sex with your husband as little as possible. 
  10. Only seduce your partner in total darkness. 
  11. Don’t succumb to carnal lust when your husband tries to kiss you.
  12. Don’t sneeze, cough, or even talk during sex.
  13. Lazy sex will make your children ugly.
  14. Don’t have sex on the stairs or the child will be born with a crooked back.
  15. Children born during a northerly wind are stronger than those begat during an easterly wind.

Republicans probably still believe half of these things.

In an open relationship, you have experiences that are a rarity in other people’s lives. You welcome jealousy as a teacher. You challenge what a relationship really means. I haven’t always been comfortable in this territory. I was married and monogamous once. Then my husband and I fell in love with another couple. For two beautiful and painful years we were a quad, a foursome. Seven years later, we’re no longer with each other. We fulfilled every prophecy of open relationships not fixing existing problems, much to my grief and disappointment. But we learned. And we grew.