We don’t want to alarm you, but you need to know the horrible truth: sometimes, people on the Internet give bad advice. Through a combination of laziness, ignorance and general idiocy, well-meaning people have tried to write helpful how-to guides and instead produced instructions that will bring nothing but pain and suffering. No matter how desperate you are for knowledge, don’t ever read the following:
10. How to Become Good at Knife Fighting
There are only two things we know about knife fighting: you can’t learn it online, and if you need to know how to do it you don’t live in an area with an Internet connection.
How do you even get into a knife fight? We have no idea, because all wikiHow tells us is that if you want to knife fight like a champ you need to “get faster reflexes.” How do you do that? “Play racing video games” or “run in the woods.” Well, obviously.
Other helpful tips include “never get nervous” and “eat healthily,” as many a talented knife fighter has been stabbed to death before their time because they weren’t eating enough carrots. Tips on how to actually, you know, fight somebody with a knife are few and far between, but readers are warned that “you will almost certainly get cut from a knife fight.” Well then what’s the point of becoming good at it, wikiHow?
9. How to Juggle Chainsaws
If you turn to the Internet for a chainsaw juggling guide you’re not legally allowed to own chainsaws. Tips like “the butt end should fall into your hand” and “protect your hands” are so obvious that anyone who needs to be told them already lost their hands when they challenged a bandsaw to arm wrestling. For every person that learns chainsaw juggling online, seven people are killed.
If you’re interested in maiming yourself but can’t afford multiple chainsaws, check out eHow’s guide to juggling steak knives. It gives you six steps to set you on your way, then warns you that you should “familiarise yourself with First-Aid techniques” and that juggling knives is “not recommended.” Then why did you just write a freaking guide about it?
If you’d prefer severe burns to lacerations, you could start juggling flaming torches. The how-to encourages you to go outside, which is exactly the sort of advice that people who look for juggling guides on the Internet need after they’ve burned down their fourth house. You’re also told “do not try any tricks that you can’t do every time,” which is equivalent to saying “don’t ever make a mistake!”
8. How to Convince People to Go Skinny Dipping
This wikiHow guide sounds harmless enough, but you could retitle it “How to Commit Date Rape” and not have to adjust the text. It’s less a guide on planning a fun activity and more a treatise on psychological manipulation.
Readers are instructed to invite friends over for a party, “forget” to mention that you planned on swimming, fake thinking hard about the situation for a minute, and then suggest skinny dipping like it came to you in a flash of sudden inspiration. Wait, isn’t that the exact same strategy a pervert would use? You’re even warned not to use force. Heck, shouldn’t that be implied?
The guide includes a video, featuring only the finest acting unpaid Internet how-to writers can provide. Note that it’s about a girl convincing a guy to skinny dip, because if they did it the other way around it would constitute a sex offense:
Look, if you’re that desperate to see your friends naked you could avoid the elaborate ruse and just install hidden cameras in their bedrooms. Or just shout out, “Hey, are you guys thinking orgy? Because I totally am!” That would actually be less creepy.
7. How to Seduce a Woman
This how-to reads like “wuh-men” are a foreign species and the only way to interact with them is through molestation. Readers are encouraged to “wear her down,” and are told all girls “are frightened of guys on some level” and “get jealous easily.” The guide has less respect for women than Ted Bundy.
Men are encouraged to talk about how sensitive they can be, but only with made up stories. This is referred to as “showing strategic weakness.” Equating warfare with dating is actually a good analogy, because getting shot is comparable to the pepper spray you’ll take to the face if you follow this advice.
The suggested topics for a seductive conversation are baffling—they include mythology, history and astrology. So we guess your pickup line should be, “As a Taurus, I find the ancient Greek myth of the Minotaur to be fascinating but tragic. Your place or mine?”
Readers are also warned that “if she senses that you are seducing her, she will run away.” That’s not seduction, wikiHow, that’s sexual assault. This guide would have more tact if step one was “purchase chloroform and a rag.”
6. How to Defend Against a Mugger Holding a Gun to your Lower Back
eHow has a whole series of self-defence guides that will only make your mugger angrier, but this guide goes the extra mile by combining recklessness with a gun to your spine.
After assuming you live in an area with a crime rate Gotham City would look down on, the guide informs us that this is the most difficult position a mugger can put you in. It then tells you the how-to’s difficulty level is “moderately easy.” Moderately easy to do what, get yourself killed?
The instructions are a series of difficult physical moves. A video makes it look easy…
Defend Against a Handgun to the Lower Back — powered by ehow
…but good luck pulling it off when there’s a real gun to your back and the mugger doesn’t look like a disinterested methhead.
This is a survival guide that makes you less likely to survive. Instead of giving the traditional mugging advice of “Just give the mugger your wallet then go home and cancel your credit cards, you’re not Robocop,” the how-to twice tells readers that fighting a gun toting man you can’t see is the safest bet you can make. Thankfully, anyone who takes this guide seriously will live in an area where the most dangerous crime committed is second degree wearing of ungentlemanly Yacht Club attire.
5. How to Win the Lottery
There are several lottery winning guides on the Internet, and all of them will separate you from your money faster than that mugger who made you a quadriplegic because you tried to use Internet-Fu on him. The writers of these guides are worse at math than the Amish are at computer programming. Their tips include:
“As with any of the lottery games, you need to pick one set of numbers and stick with them.”
“The number 7 tends to appear often in lotter (sic) numbers. Consider this number and mulitples (sic) of it as you pick your bets.”
“Play in quantity. This simple strategy increases the chances of winning. The more you play, the better your chances of winning.”
If you’ve figured out the flaws in these strategies, then congratulations on not being in a coma! Playing the lottery in bulk is only a good idea if your goal is to waste money and make people realise you’re bad at statistics. If you’re lucky, the increased odds from buying multiple tickets will bring you into the “as likely as getting hit by lightning while having a threesome with supermodels” range. And thinking what numbers you pick affect your odds of winning is like thinking what shirt you wear affects the weather. These are guides for making throwing your money away more time consuming.
4. How to Deal with Being in Prison
If your prison preparation plan includes Internet research you’re going to jail for running over too many poor people in your Mercedes. wikiHow’s guide reads like it was written by someone whose only experience with jail was seeing five minutes of The Shawshank Redemption on TV.
The guide alternates between assuming you’re going to a minimum security prison and a Soviet gulag. Tips like “beware of rape” go alongside “learn to play pinochle.” You’re told to “take pleasure in the sounds of birds chirping,” but only after you beat up another inmate so they don’t make you their “punk” or “meat for the dogs.” Speaking of which, this guide’s writer misuses slang worse than even the squarest of honkies.
Following this how-to’s contradictory advice will only be helpful if your goal is to convince your fellow prisoners you have multiple personality disorder. If you do what it says you’ll turn a six month sentence into a date with the electric chair. You’d have more success if you began your first day in prison by slapping your cellmate with your genitals.
3. How to Plan a Romantic Date
We know what you’re thinking: “How irresponsible could a how-to on planning a romantic date be?” Trust us—if you follow eHow’s dating guide you’ll ruin your relationship faster than shouting “I’m sleeping with your father!”
eHow suggests you “go to a coffeehouse and read poetry to each other,” presumably so your announcement that you’re coming out of the closet will take place in public. Or you could “feed each other a banana split,” although depending on how quickly you get kicked out of Starbucks the Dairy Queen might not be open yet.
Even worse are the disastrous suggestions of “draw each other with crayons” and “send your loved one on a scavenger hunt.” If you think those are good ideas for dates you’re either in a relationship with a six year old or telling your significant other that you wish you were.
2. How to Have an Affair
So your crayon drawing of your wife made her thighs look fat, and made you look like a pedophile. But you don’t have to be lonely just because you’re sleeping on the couch—a nice affair will pick you right up!
Unlike the other guides on this list, eHow’s guide to having an affair contains tips that are actually useful. Does eHow only become competent when it’s making you a worse person? Their “How to Commit Genocide” guide must be fantastic.
Suggestions like “pay for everything with cash” and “do not change your routine” are the sort of logical, sensible ideas that will help you completely ruin your marriage. At least this guide doesn’t tell people how to start an affair, and anyone who has the thought process of “I’ve decided to cheat on my spouse. To the Internet!” will struggle with that step.
1. How to Negotiate to Free Hostages
Don’t ask how you found yourself negotiating a hostage situation. Maybe it’s a terrorist attack, maybe your wife found out about your affair and freaked out… what matters is that it’s just you, the hostage takers and eHow. And, inevitably, a pile of dead bodies.
You’re instructed to use your “team of officers,” which implies that this guide was written for people who can order cops around. That would be limited to, well, hostage negotiators. Hostage negotiators who are so bad at their jobs they need to brush up on their skills with eHow. If you ever find yourself held hostage and the negotiator is relying on an Internet guide, your best option is to taunt the terrorists until they grant you a quick death.
Even the guide acknowledges that using eHow in a hostage situation is stupid, as the final step is about what to do if the hostages are “seriously harmed.” Next stop: “How to Avoid the Blame For All Those People You Just Got Killed.”