What’s your best-kept secret?

Allison Tait blog
Posted on December 8, 2011

Can you whistle?

Mr4 has had another big week. He can now click his fingers and whistle. Even at the same time. It is at once incredibly endearing and unbelievably annoying. He is so very proud of his achievements. And wishes to practise them all the time.

All. The. Time.

His new talents have led to the uncovering of one of my best-kept secrets. I cannot whistle. Not well. Not very well at all. I get kind of a thin, reedy, tuneless squeak. Full of air. Signifying nothing. It is one of my great regrets in life. I’ve always wanted to be one of those girls who casually puts two fingers in her mouth and lets out an ear-piercing wolf whistle. All I end up with is saliva all over my fingers and a red face.

Mr4 is most perturbed about my inability to whistle a happy tune. He is trying to teach me.

“You just make your lips into a circle and blow,” he says, demonstrating. He makes a small noise.

I follow his lead. I make a much smaller noise and do not look near as cute with my lips in the regulation cat’s bum position.

Mr7, who can whistle Christmas carols in tune, looks at us both indulgently. “Just keep practising,” he tells us. “You’ll get there one day.”


Can you whistle? Do you have a ‘best-kept secret’ – one of those things that everyone else in the world seems to be able to do… and you can’t? (I won’t tell a soul, promise.) 


  1. Lindy in Brisbane

    Oh I can whistle, and do all the time, but I couldn’t ride a bike to save my life! Imagine the excuses I came up with when I was a kid and all my friends got on their bikes. Oh the shame.

  2. House of Dust and Fur

    I can whistle. But my secret? I cannot wink. Either eye. I can contort my face into any manner of shapes, but control my eyelids I cannot! Though I am tempted to take on that Malteser challenge 🙂

  3. Lisa

    I can’t whistle either. Never could. My kids think it’s ridiculous. Epic fail… but I’m glad to know I am not alone!

  4. El

    I can whistle, but my best kept secret is that I cannot keep a beat! So even though I can put out a nice tune, it is not going to necessarily be something someone else can harmonize with. I like my erratic-ness though. Just proves me to be unique. 🙂

  5. thepowmill

    I used to be able to whistle. Alas , the firm facial muscles required no longer grace my face. Now I can only blow air and saliva at best.

  6. Kirsty

    I can’t whistle. But worse. I. Can’t. Dance. If it involves needing to remember steps, keep in time. I. Just. Can’t. Do. It. And I love dancing. Nightclub dancing is great. Creative dancing – fantastic.But keep-in-time-dancing. Sigh.

  7. Peggy

    A friend once told me ‘more purse, less wind’ makes for a good whistle. I tried it and it works!

    I can’t run, jump or do anything slightly athletic. It was very embarrassing at school, I had a million excuses for avoiding physical education. I can swim like a fish though and can walk super fast, but not run. I even have dreams about running on one spot.

  8. Mrs Catch

    I cannot do anything with a bat and ball. Golf, tennis or anything like that. Tried lessons for years, but I still always miss the shot. Completely. Very embarrassing.

  9. River

    I can whistle along with songs a bit, then I’m suddenly out of breath and coughing. I can’t do the two finger whistle though, I really would love to know how it’s done.
    I can’t play musical instruments or any kind of sport, that’s my secret.

  10. Veronica @ Mixed Gems

    I can actually wolf whistle, fingers in mouth, but I can’t otherwise whistle properly blowing out but I can if I suck air in. I suspect te latter method isn’t how it’s done but no matter. It all just means I cannot whistle tunes. I’d need more precision for that.

  11. Saffron

    I feel for you. My whistle is a bit of a sad one in comparison to those seemingly effortless wolf whistles that can get someone’s attention a whole street away, which, would you believe, are best performed (out of the people that I know) by none other than my nana, who I aptly call ‘Supernan.’

    I hae never been able to climb a rope, do you remember those at school?

  12. Photographer Mum

    My Miss 5 has just learned how to whistle too and she is still mastering the art of clicking her fingers.
    I can both whistle and wolf whistle (I learned that from one of my mum’s sister’s) and I use the wolf whistle when people aren’t listening. Namely the kids. It is piercingly loud and most people get the shock of their life when I do it.
    I can also wolf whistle Happy Birthday (ok, now I am just showing off…)
    I can’t touch my nose with my tongue though. I was always fascinated by people who could do that.

  13. Nathalie Brown

    I hold the Household record for fitting 22 maltesers in my mouth. Can’t whistle though, I may have damaged my whistling through the maltesers challenge. Nx

  14. Jodi @ Lipgloss Mumma

    I can’t play tennis, not even casually. The problem is I can’t hit the ball and when I do it either goes straight into the net, or right over the outer fences never to be seen again. I always volunteer to be the umpire/scorer. 🙁

  15. Diminishing Lucy

    Your Mr 7 and Charlie would make fine company with their whistling! How do they make so much sound from such relatively small bodies?!

    I am giggling at your inability to whistle. My middle brother is tall, sucessful and charismatic. But he cannot whistle. I can remember trying to teach him when I was little. (He is 10 years older. It felt great to be able to slightly patronise him!)

    And as for me? I can’t sing. Very musically challenged.

  16. Sarah Mac

    I can whistle, roll my tongue, do cartwheels, touch my toes and put my leg behind my head.

    But I CAN’T do that thing where you make a pop sound with your finger in your mouth like they used to do on the advert for frozen peas. It blighted my entire childhood 🙁

  17. Rebecca Newman

    I can’t whistle either. Very sad. My Mr 7 also taught himself to whistle this year and walks about whistling all the time. But he doesn’t whistle anything in particular. (At least I can tell where he is in the house, by the volume of the whistling.)

    Also, I can’t do cartwheels.

  18. InkPaperPen

    I can whistle but I can’t wolf whistle. I can’t roll my tongue either. But I hear that’s a genetic thing so I refuse to take responsibility for that one.

    My big secret…I can’t do cartwheels. Doesn’t seem to matter now but man, it was a big deal when I was 7.

  19. Jackie K

    I can whistle! And I do, often. I love it because not many women whistle tunes, it’s kind of an old man thing. My grandfather was amazing at it and I still can’t hit most notes as well as him. But I try!
    My embarrassing secret: I can’t dive. Have never tried it and don’t know how you start…

  20. Life In A Pink Fibro

    Love it @no-one – I can raise my eyebrows, together and singly. I liked the look so much that I spent a whole summer practising it when I was about 15. Sign of a misspent youth…

  21. no-one

    I can’t raise only one eyebrow at a time. I also can’t whistle, or roll my tongue, but it’s the eyebrow thing that really bothers me. So many moments just scream out for a single raised eyebrow.

  22. Jo @Countrylifeexperiment

    Maybe it is just one of those things you are born being able to do. Like rolling your tongue?

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