Brooding college student on the Internet seeks girls
I’m pretty sure this won’t get answered and published because it’s mundane, but how do people get a life — a nice fulfilling social life? I am 20 and currently in university. Most days I go through the motions of trying to chat people up and most days it works and I can pretend that I have friends. But when I come home, all I do is drink and whine about my horrid, horrid life on various Internet message boards.
Thing is, I am fairly certain I tried it all. Talk to people, act confident even if you aren’t. Invite people to stuff. Pretend you’re interested in the things you’re not, so people will like you regardless. But nothing is really working. And with the spring semester ending in less than two months, I’m realizing that I completely wasted the year. I just wish I was a normal 20 year old who goes to parties, gets extremely drunk and wakes up with some random girl whose name he doesn’t know. How do you go about making that happen? — Friendless and Miserable.
There’s a pretty wide road between a “nice fulfilling social life” and waking up with alcohol poisoning, a naked stranger and gonorrhea.
You can barely feign interest in a few moments of small talk during the daytime. What would be different at a party with the same vapid people? The drinking? You’re already drinking — and instead of seeking traditional human contact, you’re amusing yourself by typing at other people who also prefer typing into the void.
Let’s consider the possibility that you’re basically anti-social, a moody loner, and there’s not going to be a “nice fulfilling social life” for you at all — not if you’re defining it by the routines of other 20-year-old college kids.
Lots of people drink and type on the computer at night. I’m doing it right now — this column’s not going to write itself. If that’s all you’re doing, maybe dial it down a notch, and please don’t drink and drive, give a hoot, etc. I regularly advocate for getting the hell away from the computers on a daily basis, donating your teevee to a prison, and spending as much time as possible outside, away from traffic and office parks and shopping malls and Other Humans. Run if you like to run, walk in the shade and gaze at nothing if that’s your speed, take the stairs up to the roof of your dorm and read, your mental and physical health is going to instantly improve in tangible ways if you get outside for a solid hour every day.
But look, if you’re more comfortable hanging around message boards where some like-minded souls get together and complain, do that. Brood upon the wretchedness of your comfortable academic life, that is fine, this is the age to brood. And with the newfound clarity you’ll get from giving your eyes and brain a brief daily vacation out of doors, you might come up with a genius idea like this:
Get on your message boards and propose a pub meet-up around your campus or town. If the university has more than a few hundred students, there will be at least a couple of people on your Internet board who are also in your geographic area, and chances are they prefer typing and drinking to trying to fit at the parties for the social types, but would still like to know some people “in real life.”
Lots of forums and boards have meet-ups. In the United States, Fark and Metafilter host them, even 4chan has pub nights. If your thing doesn’t, start a thread, “ANYBODY IN [YOUR TOWN] UP FOR A [SITE NAME] PUB NIGHT?” Use your board’s in-jokes and slang to show you will not be butt-hurt if nobody wants to do this, and then watch in subdued delight as a bunch of people claim to want to do this, and then feel bad but quickly get over it when about five people actually show up the first time. Five is a lot of people! Who has/needs more than five actual good friends? Eventually, somehow, girls will appear and enjoy the witty/confident nonsense you talk about, with these people, and sex will be had. Wear a condom, etc.!
If your group is especially deficient in even the most basic Social Skills, you might need something more structured, like an MTV Awards Night party or laser tag or whatever you people do, hopefully something better than those lame examples. Do you spend all night sexting with hobbit enthusiasts, for example? There’s a whole cottage industry catering to your costumed whims. (Ha ha, “cottage,” because isn’t that where hobbits live, “in real life”? No they live in a kind of dirt hole with furniture, I guess.)
But, hopefully, a simple pub night will get you out with people who are fun to talk to, because you’ve got similarly trivial or depraved interests, and all the in-jokes and rapport that comes with that stuff. The first attempt might fail, just make it a regular thing, say Wednesday nights, what else does anybody have going on? Once a month, maybe. My ex-boss Nick Denton made a small fortune about a decade ago hosting parties for computer nerds too socially retarded to actually go out. It was called “First Tuesday” and that’s what it was, a party for Silicon Valley geeks on the first Tuesday night of the month. And then he moved to New York, where even the nerds go out because every apartment is the size of a bathtub, which is in the kitchenette with the futon, the end.
Ken, a friend asked me this question yesterday and I was totally stumped, so I’m hoping you can help me: What is the meaning of life? — Lewis Grossberger.
The meaning of life is a 20-year-old passed-out drunk guy in a hobbit suit who actually believed his favorite Internet board was hosting a “pub night” in an old abandoned warehouse down by the railroad tracks, and you’ve just given him gonorrhea.
Send your important questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. But if you have a REAL problem, call the police or something, as Ken Layne will not really help you at all. This is just a web page on the Internet, and he is just a writer who works for Wonkette.