It's good to be picky about what you put inside your mouth
December 24, 2011 11:56 PM   Subscribe

So far no luck. On the plus side, I've managed to spit on myself a little bit.
posted by axiom at 12:20 AM on December 25, 2011 [15 favorites]

I didn't know that I needed to know this. But I do.
posted by Splunge at 12:23 AM on December 25, 2011

Living up to your username by posting this at midnight, when practice is impossible!

Maybe I can blame the weird noises on Santa....
posted by madajb at 12:32 AM on December 25, 2011 [7 favorites]

Just had the following conversation with my husband:

Him: "WTF is that?!"
Me: "I'm learning to whistle. Go back to sleep."
Him: "Ugh. I'm having such a stressful day."
Me: "Why is your day stressful?"
Him: "Because horrible noises are happening at me."

posted by lollusc at 12:51 AM on December 25, 2011 [33 favorites]

It says to use your thumb and middle finger or thumb and index finger for a one-handed whistle, but I've always gotten the best results by making a triangle with my index finger and pinky finger. The other two fingers can curl inside the triangle or rest on your nose (or even in it, if you prefer, to seal up any potential airflow leakage that could lower efficiency). For me, absolute maximum piercing volume is achieved by using both pinky fingers.
posted by Balonious Assault at 12:52 AM on December 25, 2011

bah, who needs fingers for this?!
posted by readyfreddy at 1:02 AM on December 25, 2011

I've never been able to do the fingered-style whistle. Time to try again!
posted by hattifattener at 1:04 AM on December 25, 2011 [1 favorite]

I am utterly, utterly, utterly unable to get any sound at all. I'm broken, aren't I?
posted by taff at 1:08 AM on December 25, 2011 [1 favorite]

Blazes it works! You just pissed off a lot of Cambodian tuktuk drivers my friend!
posted by nfg at 1:22 AM on December 25, 2011 [2 favorites]

I can do the two-fingered two-handed whistle only. Using pointers and middle fingers in a V formation. It's soooo hard to explain how to do it. Whistle LOUD. It took me at least two weeks of trying when I was little.
posted by TangerineGurl at 1:43 AM on December 25, 2011

I now have spit all over my Christmas sweater. And no whistling has occurred.
posted by essexjan at 2:31 AM on December 25, 2011

It is Christmas and this what you give me? Bah and also humbug. Coal in your stocking, troll
posted by Cranberry at 2:34 AM on December 25, 2011 [1 favorite]

For people having trouble it just takes some practice. I was tought by a friend when I was a kid and it was two weeks before I could do it right every time.
posted by Silentgoldfish at 3:09 AM on December 25, 2011

Bookmarked the thread but probably won't start practicing until next spring or so, otherwise I'll either annoy my neighbours or freeze my fingers off if I try to do it somewhere unpopulated.
posted by daniel_charms at 3:14 AM on December 25, 2011

This is a skill everyone should learn by about age ten or so.
posted by caddis at 4:09 AM on December 25, 2011

“If you want me, just whistle. You know how to whistle, don't you? Just paste into your browser window and follow the instructions."
posted by ricochet biscuit at 4:12 AM on December 25, 2011 [13 favorites]

You know how to whistle don't you?
posted by caddis at 4:39 AM on December 25, 2011

This is a MetaChristmas Miracle! One of those topics I always forget to add to my "to look up" list because I only think of it when it's raining and I need a cab. Now to wake the family...
posted by abulafa at 6:48 AM on December 25, 2011

I've been trying this for years with no success. Can everyone do this (and therefore I should just keep trying), or do some of us have deformed exceptional mouths that don't work for this?
posted by Forktine at 6:52 AM on December 25, 2011

A cautionary note: Remember to take a minute to breathe every once in a while. I tried (unsuccessfully) to learn this method and nearly passed out from, effectively, hyperventilating.
posted by jedicus at 7:33 AM on December 25, 2011 [1 favorite]

Mom taught me the two-fingered whistle when I was about 12. Mom, not Dad...
posted by jgaiser at 8:02 AM on December 25, 2011

Now if only we could ban the phrase dog whistle in regards to politics.
posted by benzenedream at 9:39 AM on December 25, 2011

My uncle could do the loudest whistle. He never taught me how, and these instructions aren't a magic bullet, unfortunately. My uncle died six years ago, and here on Christmas morning, I'm trying to whistle and I'm missing him.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:10 AM on December 25, 2011 [1 favorite]

I'm gonna sit in my office and look like a total jackass until I get this figured out!
posted by PuppyCat at 10:11 AM on December 25, 2011

Is it time for me to try this again? I fainted last time. My wife can do a whistle that is not of this world. She's been banned from doing it at full blast indoors, because of audio ricochets intensifying the effect. If I could do it I would do it alllll the tiiiiiime.
posted by Iteki at 11:23 AM on December 25, 2011

Question for those of you who can do this:

Do you need to be able to curl your tongue?

Because I can't curl my tongue. Could I still do this, with practice?
posted by Alaska Jack at 1:24 PM on December 25, 2011


(I asked that 6 years ago and still haven't figured it out)
posted by Acey at 4:54 PM on December 25, 2011

Tongue curling is not necessary. It's all about finding the sweet spot, but that's much easier said than done.

I can't guarantee this will help, but it might. Instead of blowing, think of it more as an exhale for starters. Blowing can come later, to add power once you find the sweet spot. Lick your lips, make the triangle with your fingers, touch them to the tip of your tongue, rest the tips of your fingers on your lower lip, and close your mouth. You're going for a complete seal at first. Big inhale through the nose, then... exhale. If your seal is tight then no air should escape. Now slowly push the triangle of your fingertips into your mouth (the lip-licking earlier was for lubrication). You probably won't get a whistle the first time, but try it a couple more times until you hear what sounds like it might possibly have the beginnings of a whistle tone. That's the general placement of the sweet spot. Keep your fingers there, take some more big breaths, more slow exhales, but now play around with the tension of your lips. The lower lip probably needs to be a little tighter than you'd expect.

Gosh, that has never helped me explain it to anyone before, so I'm not sure why I think it might help here. Once you finally get it it's super easy. It's just a matter of understanding the feel of it, which really is nothing like the standard pursed-lip whistle.
posted by Balonious Assault at 6:38 PM on December 25, 2011 [1 favorite]

pictures would help people figure this out a lot faster.
posted by cristinacristinacristina at 8:16 PM on December 25, 2011 [1 favorite]

You know how to whistle, don't you?
posted by MartinWisse at 4:13 AM on December 26, 2011

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