I have never understood the lure of going out to pubs and clubs, drinking. Sitting around a table smoking (I’ve never smoked), drinking and hanging out with the friends for several hours in the evening seems the worse kind of stretched out social torture I can think of. Somehow the whole idea of paying a shocking amount of money for average beer, to stand around, unless there’s a table free, and squeeze out conversation over an insipid musical background, seems a waste of my time and effort.
I’m not unsociable and I love having friends around to my home to keep their company, to talk and to connect. But the culture of getting together in a bar as a regular thing is antithetical to connection, feels forced and a distraction from the multitude of more fulfilling things I could be doing.
Equally I’m not the type of person who rallies so hard against this lifestyle choice I make a point of always telling people how much I don’t like it and don’t get it at every opportunity I’m given. I’m fully aware there are enough people in the world who do this regular, enjoy the social aspect, craft strong friendships and even great relationships out of this circle of friends and that is fine.
I find it a distraction from everything else that is going off in the world and all that hard-earned money and precious time could be spent elsewhere rather than on finding an outfit, getting to the venue, paying for the drinks, making conversation and ultimately at some point sharing more personal information than you would initially plan on doing. To me this feels like a diversionary behaviour to distract us from how day-to-day life can sometimes be difficult.
Again, making an argument against my case, every time I have said yes to an evening out I have enjoyed it, though I suspect this is because it is rare and therefore a novelty rather than a lifestyle choice. I’ve never got too drunk and usually made it home just before closing time.
Like the joke
How can you tell if someone has competed in Tough Mudder?
They tell you with 5 minutes of meeting you.
I find people seem to feel the need to justify their nights out by telling you what time they came home and how it was nearly morning or even past morning when they staggered up their street or was rolled out of a taxi to crawl into bed and how they lost a few days ‘just recovering’. I really can’t understand what this shows other than the need to quantify your actions by telling people you still have some stamina associated with youth, and why anyone would need to emulate youth once they make it into adulthood I have no idea. Have you seen skins? It’s populated my whiny fuckwits and angsty teens with no sense of reality failing to look in any way tolerable as human beings, whilst the adults run around trying to keep them safe as they pass through the abhorrent westernised materialistic, no sense of the real world, rite of passage they feel they need to go through during those post-school/pre-adult years.
I never understood it before I had a family, so this isn’t even a viewpoint of someone who has been there and done that. This is the viewpoint of someone who has never liked doing that and felt like it’s a hopeless act of fakery and adult disconnection, trying to carve a false identity of fun until you actual find out who you are and refocus on genuine long-term happiness.
With two of my own children and my role as a foster carer I have learned how much there is to appreciate in simple domesticity. With the growth in great quality drama and enthralling TV shows, my ever burgeoning boardgame collection, reading with the children, doing crafts, nurturing the family and spending time with my wife, I don’t see why I’d want to go out drinking as a getaway or as a break. Anytime doing so would be eating into the time I genuinely love.
Off the top of my head I could name a dozen TV shows that are well written, dark, intriguing and phenomenally good viewing (Agents of shield, Boardwalk Empire, Constantine, Gotham, Outnumbered, Dexter, House, The Newsroom, West Wing) which keep conversations going and stimulate a lot more talking points than how drunk you got, how vulnerable you left yourself whilst you were out or how much of your income you spent in some big pub chain.
Then there’s boardgames, finally growing the interest that they deserve, so much so The Guardian has a whole section dedicated to the hobby and how it brings people together. If you are going to sit around a table then why not challenge yourself, have a laugh and do something a little more stimulating.
Come back to the Original social network. The table.
Staying in and being at home full-time has filled my soul more than a bowl of chicken soup or an anecdote about vomiting in an alley can and nearly having a one night stand with someone who you have no attraction with ever could. Being in, when you work at it rather than experience it passively with no engagement or interaction, can fill you or emotional tank right back up and with a full heart the ennui life can sometimes feeds you is soon evaporated and the ability to perceive the most simple everyday nuanced joys is brought to the fore.