Peer pressure is not always pressure; sometimes it is more like a light-hearted punch to your shoulder.
I was talking to someone today, and he was looking at pictures of the past ‘me’. After that he made the following statement that irked me no end,
“I wish I had also known you during those days. You were real badass, riding bikes and crashing up, drinking…”
I asked him what was ‘wrong’ with me now. To which he said, “Oh nothing, now you are more mellow”. (It’s been years since I turned teetotaller.)
This is something I hear almost everyday. If you are a twenty-something who doesn’t drink or smoke, your character intensity drops quite a few notches. Jaws drop at social gatherings and suddenly people can’t put you in their bracket any more.
I take issue with that fact. I take issue with the stereotype that you always need to be on social lubricants to have fun and ‘be cool’. The latter is another suspect notion that bothers me. How have we reached a stage of character development where you are judged by ‘the shit you do’? That you are one crazy, madcap fella only if you have stories of having passed out, gotten high or having woken up drooling in a dumpster?
Somehow it’s so much easier to be the life of a social scene if you have checked the appropriate boxes. I have seen many who came in swearing ‘they’d never touch the stuff’. Five years down the line, they are all jigging with a beer bottle. I have nothing against those who drink or ‘do shit’. That is their choice and I respect it. However, that doesn’t mean that the remaining populace should be branded with such pseudo-sympathetic tones.
I have had my shitfaced days in college. Now I just don’t like it any more. Moreover, I have no wish to be popular. If not drinking makes me a social pariah, so be it. Stop judging me for it. I am sure so many will agree with me. It is quite tiring to battle such stereotyping on a daily basis.
This is a very insidious form of peer pressure. It’s not bullying, or jeering or anything obvious. It comes in questions like, “Oh, you don’t drink any more. But why?” It comes in labels like “mellow” and remarks like “You used to be so intense then!”
If your definition of ‘intensity’ includes a splash of rum and screeching tires, so be it. Mine doesn’t.
I am boring and yours truly.
(Thanks for the read; I need the rant! :)