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Monday, March 8, 2010

The social-drinking network

Monday afternoon, social networking site and my homepage there tells me that yet another friend has been tagged in a photo series, taken over the weekend, a series of pictures showing people in various stages of drunk. I'm not a moralist, even if I don't drink more than two drinks a night, for the simple reason that alcohol puts me to sleep long before I could even manage to get tipsy. My friends have come to accept this as much as I have and as the friend above put it, "you don't judge us when you're drunk". What I never managed to understand however is the mindless, show-off drinking. Not drinking to get drunk, in a way I can absolutely understand that, but drinking so you can later have your picture on any social network site, so you can say, "look at me, I'm getting drunk."

Like I said, it's not the drinking I have problems with but the idea behind it, this need to show how you blend in, how much you can take. At the same time, it is a bonding experience of the finest calibre. It is saying, "look, at me, I got drunk with all these other people, I'm in." All the other people being of course the ones in the social network. It is a sense of fake camaraderie, of pretending that for this night at least you have (made and) found true friends.

I have met some of those guys, the show-drinkers, I like to call them, when my friend dragged me to one of their functions. And not all of them are like that. My friend isn't for example. Some others aren't either. They're usually the ones who drop out after a few meetings and find another social network, one more suitable to their needs. Said friend being of the social persuasion, where any night out with people is a good or at least a decent (enough) night out, is able to make that distinction, go, see, observe, have some fun, drink to get drunk, ideally with people, and then forget about it until the next invitation comes in. I haven't learned to make that yet, to detach myself sufficiently from the setting, to appreciate that the drinking is more fun than the people I'm spending time with.

It attracts too many of those I try to avoid on a daily basis, this social (drinking) network. All the photos in the album, which showed up in the album I mentioned above, seem to be there, positioned prominently in the frame, their body language screaming I'm here, look at me.

There are, as I mentioned above, other social networks, one in particular, gathers people from the same area with meetings occurring once every week. There is no pressure to drink, for the ones running this particular get-together see it as more important that people sit and chat and play cards or play pool or whatever else is available than to make sure they all drinks. There are almost no photos of this particular network because the idea here is not to be seen but to share common experience and to maybe even let off some steam once in a while.

Yet, it serves a good purpose this drinking-for-fun network that always documents everything on film. Because it weeds out the show-offs, the one you can't count on, the ones you don't really want to see, keeping them happily ensconced in their own little bubble, their own little world.