I’m in a pretty good place right now. Having two of your closest friends in arm’s reach does that to a person. It’s phenomenal being able to weave simultaneously between nostalgia trips and making new memories. I’ve been spending almost every moment possible with these guys and it’s gonna leave an understandable mate shaped hole in my heart when they’re gone. Still, despite this, I hypothesise that I’m enough of an asshole to find things to get shitty about. This is more about me than anyone else. I think.
So. Coming back on the subway there’s a girl sitting across from me. She’s done up, “had her face did” and all that. Hair looks nice, she seems ready for a fun, flirty night of meeting people. Good for her, I admire her candour. It probably took a while, some intense effort and patience to get the style she was going for. I doubt I spent half the time on my last gig review that she did on her face. Still, I’m in her court. She’s looking good, she knows it and rightfully loves herself. Then she pulls out the phone. I see her extend and retract her arm as if telescopically, searching for the perfect upwards diagonal angle. She’s in selfie mode. Pouts a little, pulls back, tests different expressions. She starts taking photos, reviewing them then trying again.
With each new attempt I grow equal parts discouraged and perturbed at the general state of things. I’m not a big fan of the selfie, but this continual retreading in search of the perfect shot? Why is this something that’s important to you? You look good and you can tell. By that virtue you’re already gonna be treated to the pedestal of admiration society places beautiful people atop. You will get better service, people will pay you attention, laugh at jokes that aren’t funny. You might even get a few drinks out of it. If you’re looking for companionship, you will likely find it without much trouble. Are those not rewards? How important is it that you gain the extra validation from people close to you who feel obliged to play along like sycophants in your ploy to be loved and admired?
Why is this a concern? I don’t know you, I don’t. You could be the most wonderful, giving human on the face of the planet. You could nurse puppies back to health using only your own tears. You could knit sweaters for cockroach survivors of past nuclear explosions. Are those not things that you should define yourself through? Could you not use the time on this subway to further yourself in some way? To learn a new fact, read something that expands your consciousness or meaningfully emphasises your social value? Create something that could help your fellow living beings or make a move towards self-actualisation? Instead of focusing on your physical angles and how they could incite obligatory compliments, why not examine something from an alternate angle? Question or analyse an institution that you feel deserves to be challenged? Instead of gazing into your reflection, reflect on whatever this compulsion for ephemeral congratulations says about the way you navigate your days. What need is not being met by the steps you’re taking? Are you filling a void left by your past and that person who hurt you?
Or does the blame rest on society for making you feel like you constantly need to justify your desires to the ideals of others? For disseminating the notion that to be considered worthy we need to focus on what we look like instead of what we are like? Is my problem even with you? Or a wider cultural epidemic that tells us that our identity is defined by the judgements of others in defiance of self love for who we are?
I think my initial hypothesis was correct. I am just an asshole.