No point, but compelled to anyway.

The value of ‘going out’ is the brag factor.

Yeah, sure, there are a tonne of other reasons. Don’t get me wrong – I enjoy getting battered as much as the next guy. But why are people drawn to it, and why do they talk about it so much the next day? Let’s be honest, stories of the night before are all variations on the same theme, usually involving copious alcohol and/ or drugs, the occasional flit with violence and/ or sex, followed by nausea and/ or vomiting etc. etc. I’ll concede, occasionally they branch out, but I’m talking about the general trend.

As far as I can tell, the reason is pretty simple. Tragically so:

People go out to have something to say the next day.

We strive to create the illusion of an occupied, exciting lifestyle. After going out people want to be able to boast of the adventures they had the prior night, even if, at the time, they weren’t particularly enjoying them. It’s a sort of competition we all have with our friends. The conversation goes something like this:

THEM: What did you do last night?

ME: [well I can’t say nothing – that just doesn’t cut it] I went out.

THEM: [Yes! Something to discuss – even better – something we’ve got in common!!] Where did you go?

ME: A load of places…can’t really remember [that’s the important bit.] Got wasted, drank tonnes – [I may even list the drinks] – how about you? [I offer up the challenge…] Good night?

THEM: Oh man…don’t get me started… [He proceeds to tell a story more or less the same as mine, subbing in and out different but equally uninteresting specific events]

Ok. So I’m a tad cynical. But really, why do people share gruesome stories of the night before? I don’t know the answer, but I think it’s the same reason people watch big brother, or read gossip magazines. They fear estrangement. They don’t want to feel they are missing out.

The irony is…they always are.

So what’s the point of my little tale? Just that when I consider that these same people are the public we rely on to elect a great and just government, why am I surprised when it never happens?

4 Replies to “No point, but compelled to anyway.”

  1. A tad cynical indeed.

    The reason we do practically everything, obviously aside from what we need to do to physically stay alive, is based upon enriching our interaction with others. Reviewing films being a perfect example; half the fun in watching a film is discussing it with other people afterwards. People who can relate to the same things you can relate to, because you’ve both seen the film.

    ‘Going out’ is a natural extension of this. It’s great to share similar experiences with other people, especially when you’re young and perhaps don’t have a weath of interesting life experiences to draw upon. Sure, getting battered with mates is un-romantic and appears to ‘acomplish’ nothing, but if it brings people together? For me at least, its ‘brag’ factor is certainly not at the heart of its attraction.

  2. Bah, I don’t believe that. For a start, “enriching our interaction with others”? That’s not why I do anything! I do stuff because I personally find it enjoyable, or because if I don’t, I know it will benefit me or someone else in someway. People trading stories about a night out doesn’t enrich anything anyway! The chances are you’re discussing it because you’re trying to impress (otherwise why list the drinks – everyone does…)

    The comparison to film doesn’t work either because as you say yourself – “you’ve both seen the film”. I’m referring to discussing a night out with people who didn’t experience that same night. You’re right that that isn’t particularly clear from my post though – apologies!

    What is the heart of it’s attraction Tao? 🙂

  3. Don’t be pedantic. Two people may have seen two entirely different films. They’d still be able to compare and contrast their experiences with each other about those films. The same is true of going out.

    I think it’s probably right that you only do something for your own enjoyment, but for me that enjoyment is completely linked with other peoples enjoyment. It’s fun to find common ground, especially with people you don’t know, as in your example. By labeling going out as just being about the ‘brag factor’, you turn a perfectly natural inclinaton for social interaction into a negative act.

  4. I’m not suggesting the ‘perfectly natural inclination for social interaction’ is a bad thing, just that going out isn’t necessarily about the social interaction of that evening, because if it was, there are far easier and cheaper scenarios that people would do instead. Instead I think it’s something people do because it’s seen as the norm and there’s some degree of expectation that people, especially young people, go out.

    Of course people find it fun too, I’m not saying they don’t, but it does strike me as a peculiar choice of enjoyment – costs a lot, takes a lot of effort, frequently results in pain the next day… And how much social interaction really goes on? It’s nigh on impossible to communicate in clubs! Give me a chilled out bar any day. (And the next day I won’t be listing my drinks to anyone…)

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