The Pros And Cons Of Having A Social Life
Pro: Your parents will get off your god damned back for once. Since the advent of the internet — and this is greatly exacerbated since the advent of social media — parents everywhere have been chiding their children to get off the computer and “do something” with our lives. “Why don’t you go see your friends more?” Why don’t you have a boyfriend/ girlfriend/common law spouse?” “Why don’t you go outside and use your imagination?” I’m 23, and my parents all but tell me to go outside and play with sticks like in the olden days if I look too sullen from extended time in front of a glowing screen. And, yeah, I get it. I get that I should be more social — but sometimes you just want to retreat from society and play Civilization for 72 hours straight, and don’t want to be judged for it. Having relatively frequent social engagements will mostly stem the tide of this parental chiding.
Con: Your wallet takes unbearable hit after hit. I don’t know if you guys were aware of this, but going outside costs money. It seems that no matter what you do — from public transportation, to just buying enough food/water to not collapse on the street — you’re going to have shed a few 20s like a molting snake before you get back to the house. And god forbid you should go out drinking/partying, in which case you will awake in a kind of hazy stupor that leaves you blindly feeling around for your checking account and asking yourself how it got to be such a flimsy shadow of its former self. Think of the money we could all save if we just renounced friends/relationships, cooked all our food from scratch, and used our one frivolous bit of income for a subscription to Netflix? We would all be literal billionaires.
Pro: You get to have sex! There is this thing that two (or more, I’m not here to judge) people do when they really, really like each other — or just like each other’s bodies — where they kind of bump themselves together to some kind of rhythm and then either get up and awkwardly scoot out of the room, or cuddle together. (Cuddling is like when you hold onto a pillow to get more comfortable in bed, only with another human body — I know, it’s weird.) But the thing is, you get to orgasm (sometimes), you have someone to talk to about all the crazy things you saw on the internet today, and, if they are cool, they might go to Denny’s with you in the morning for some pancakes. It’s pretty awesome.
Con: You have to have sex. :( Sometimes, we get into relationships that last a long time with the same person, and eventually we’re just hanging out all the time, and we are expected to touch/acknowledge/talk to/sleep with these people even when all we want to do is sit on the couch in our underwear and giggle at the talking fedoras over on Reddit. This is unfortunate, and can be avoided by eschewing any kind of human emotion/contact whatsoever.
Pro: There will be photographic documentation of your existence. Sometime shortly after dropping my third digital camera in a row in the sand, I decided that photography was not my strong point, and to just stop owning a camera/taking pictures 99 percent of the time. Aside from important events, trips, etc, I just didn’t have many photos. And in this era when we are expected to take 20 Instagram photos on our way out of bed in the morning, it kind of makes you look like an insane hill person. And it’s true that the more people you go out with, and the more often you go out, the higher the likelihood that you will have occasional photos of you around that confirm your being alive and don’t make you look like the hissing recluse that you are.
Con: You have to go to lame parties. Is there anything worse in the world — in the whole world — than going to a party with a friend where, upon arriving, you recoil in horror at the realization that your friend is literally the only person you know there? “Yeah, you’ll know some people” your friend said on the way. Your friend lied. You will now spend the next three hours nodding along to astronomically tedious conversations and repeating the same three-sentence introduction about who you are, what you do, and who you know here. Unless you can find a chill house pet with whom to spend your time, I’m afraid you’ll be relegated to dreaming about how you could be at home right now, eating pizza and watching BBC shows.
Pro: You don’t have to worry about running into people when you look gross. As we all know, like many indisputable laws of nature that we all must adhere to, you are destined to run into exes, gorgeous neighbors, frenemies, and all of the other Most Important People when you look like Quasimodo spending his one day of freedom out amongst the normals. We all have to go to the grocery store occasionally, and there are few things worse than the stomach-turning feeling that you have officially locked eyes with this person, while wearing sweatpants with writing on the butt and a tattered t-shirt, and there is no escape now. You have to acknowledge them, live that shame, and own it. The only safe way of avoiding this is to get used to leaving the house, so you become accustomed to basic grooming.
Con: No one will help you move. There are few times in which we are as acutely aware of how many people in our lives love us as when we are moving into a new apartment. If you have been a good friend, the Gods will reward you with a veritable army of people who will lift the heavy stuff, be careful with your boxes of fragile knick-knacks, and join you on a mid-afternoon burrito break. It will be a relatively enjoyable moment. If you have turned your back on those loyal to you for endless scrolling through Tumblr, you will find yourself on moving day collapsing in the stairwell as a mattress flops on top of you, crying to yourself about how you should have just called that one guy back that one time, as he would have probably been there to help you hold up the other side. Perhaps, to avoid this scenario, we should maintain a minimum amount of social activity — just in case.
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Bonus points if you actually use different voices/accents for the different people in the imaginary conversation. That is a prestigious level of shower insanity.
I had a number of other essays I wanted to write tonight. There were other topics that deserved attention, essays I humbly felt might shed light on the human condition, on the difficulties and odd experiences we all deal with on a daily basis. But here I am, writing a defense of pubic hair.
6. The Usual Suspects
By Ed Herro
When your audience is this big, how can you really “know” it?
By Liz Colville