Friday, 27 April 2012

What's Missing From An Active Urban Life-Style

I ran across this quote on VK's Empire of Dirt while wandering around what's known as the manosphere.

"... most of the guys I know... work a full hard day, ...go straight to the gym put in some work there. The[y] go home, cook a nice meal, watch a little bit of tv, write, or do whatever with the little time [they] have and then go to bed. I might be weird but in my social circle I don’t know any guy that goes home and just drinks a six pack of beer for the hell of it and if they did, I’d ask them what’s wrong with them."

If you live in a Big City, you will recognise that life. I do. I wake up at 05:30 and get to bed at 22:00. I'm seriously thinking of making that 21:30 or even 21:00. I used to be a night owl, but now I wake the birds up so they can sing their dawn chorus. There's no evening left. Anyway, I'm an old geezer while VK and the guys he knows aren't. The thing is, there's something missing from his day. Look at it carefully: it's the life of a single man. There's no-one at home. And there's someone else missing...

The Gang.

That variable-sized, varying-membership group of guys and gals you hang with, call up when you want to go out, go to sports and concerts and clubs with, drop in on when you don't want to be on your own, and who make up the cast of your social life. I was in or at least connected with three gangs, one at university, one in my twenties and one in my thirties, but being shy and non-social and an alcoholic, I only really used them as an occasion to drink. The mythical literary groups and artistic movements of the twentieth-century were Gangs, sometimes ex-pats and other times brought together by common interests (the Surrealists) or common ambition (the YBA's). Not that my Gangs were as glamorous, but it's a vivid illustration.

VK could be taking Gang Time for granted, but I wonder. It takes a reasonable amount of commitment to keep a Gang functioning: most of the people in it need to show up at least once a month, and it needs two or three parties a year so that everyone can gather and keep up.

People move jobs, find partners and think they don't need to go out, get jobs that leave them no energy. Or they start going to the gym. Unless it's on your way home, the gym takes up the last bit of spare time and energy you have for the day. My commute doesn't help much either. Social-life Gangs eventually fade away, and there's quite a few ex-members who thought they were being more mature and growing up and like that as they contributed to the fade. But they weren't. 

I was chatting the other day about networks and Masons to someone at work. Cynics both, we agreed that such things were useful to people who could be useful. A regular salaryman with no authority to do anything and no useful friends or contacts - like me - brings nothing to a network (let alone the Masons) and consequently doesn't get included in, however polite people may be. It's the same with The Gang. People drop out when it no longer meets any of their needs, or when they realise that it never did.

Until they find themselves putting in a full day's work, going to the gym, going home to cook a nice meal, watching some Netflix and going to bed. Maybe going to the movies or a show or a gallery every week, and going girl-hunting whenever. It works for a while, right up to the point where you notice that your morale and motivation has dropped to zero and you have no idea how to get it back again. When I had a Gang, all I had to do was spend some time with them. It made me feel like I had a life - even if I really didn't - and that was enough to get me back again.

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