Sunday, May 30, 2010

Social Expectations

So I was reading an article in the newspaper this evening and there was one particular article that got my attention. It was about all the social expectations on adolescent males these days, and it's something that I suppose I can relate to. You do hear a lot about the social expectations of teenage girls, but not a whole lot about the boys, so it is at least somewhat reassuring in some respect to see articles like these in the newspaper.
As you probably could imagine, relationships, sex, drugs, etc, they all feature very highly in the article, in all manners of aspects and such.
In my opinion I think that there is obviously a culture of competition between males, everyone is always looking to top another persons story, trying to do better, more crazy, more outlandish things than the next guy. I suppose the alpha male rule kind of exists in this sense. But also, on another level, i think that that type of goings on only really happens in the beginning of a friendship, when you're meeting someone new, etc. I don't feel like I have to openly compete with all my friends per se, but as soon as you put in a new kind of element or person into the game, you're almost instantaneously going to swap stories, give the highlights in order to be more interesting. At least in my experience, when you meet someone new, I try and be as interesting as possible without kind of coming off really weird, because that's all that I can do. I don't really feel remarkably interesting, with uni and everything, so it's all I can go on really.
The one other thing that rang true is that there is a lot of pressure on relationships, in terms of getting and being in one. In almost every form of media out there, every guy ends up having a girlfriend, or being in relationships, its essentially a fundamental for almost everything entertaining. I am really hard pressed to think of a tv show that doesn't have some type of relationship woven through the plot, and the most popular sitcoms, like Friends, for example, are almost solely revolving around their relatsionships, with each other and others. Then you've got all the american examples, like asking a girl to the prom, and you hear about people who just didn't go to the prom if they weren't able to get a date. It might be generalising, I know, but there are these kinds of influences out there. When I was in Finland last year, there is a similar type of dance, where people have to ask each other to the dance. I wasn't actually involved in it, I arrived in the country too late, but I kind of appreciate that fact that life was kind of easy for not ever having to do that during high school.
And then something kind of sprung on me, at this very moment, it is difficult to think of a lot of people who aren't in relationships. And it's weird, I never really felt the pressure to get a girlfriend before, because I always knew people who were in the same boat as me. But now it kind of seems that most of the people I know are sort of getting into serious relationships, and I don't really know where that puts me in terms of my general friends, not being in a relationship of any kind really. I mean, I've played third wheel far too many times than I would care to remember. I know it's bad, but I don't really enjoy my friends as much when they're with respective partners, it just feels awkward most of the time.
To start off with, parties are kind of weird to go to now, and really annoying, because it's kind of like 'best of show' in some respects. Everyone has their respective partners, generally they are inseperable, and it's very easy to feel third-wheely, and here is where the pressure really comes on, and I can see why this is newsworthy material, because it is very easy to form a perspective such as 'it's not really anyone elses fault, it's all on you'. And in reality, this is true, you kind of have to get off your ass and find a girlfriend, it's not your friends' fault that you don't have one. But then again, you kind of have to remember that it's not yours. I think that that is where people can really go off the rails. There's a whole lot of issues that can come from this which all relates back to social expectations. Like, when is it normal to have you're first girlfriend, when should you start thinking about getting in a serious relationship, blah blah blah. They're things that shouldn't  really matter, but seem to matter terribly, which makes the pressures all the much harder.
Even when I was in Finland, touring around everyone, it was kind of normal to have a relationship with someone else, which was kind of unexpected and kind of ostracising in some respects. Just to show that these kind of issues are able to permeate anywhere you go.
Now with uni and everything, a lot of people seem to have boyfriends and girlfriends already, which kind of makes me wonder if I haven't already missed that milestone. Not in any kind of self-pity way, but more of a 'where the hell did the time go?' kind of way. But it just seems like absolutely everyone i meet who is my age is always already in a relationship, the parties i go to are full of people going out, so I kind of just kind of keep studying every Saturday night so I can do well in uni. Such is life though. But I suppose my kind of lack of self maintenance would stem somewhat from that, I never generally look to impress anybody because really, why bother?

All in all though, it doesn't get you down as much as you would think, it's just kind of there all the time, hanging. You kind of just live through it and devote your time to everything else in your life, which is probably why I do so well at uni. Which would definitely be my advice, and is kind of my plan, as sad as it sounds. Just do really well, get really well educated, as much as you are able to do, and then wait till you're older and more impressive, and see how it goes then.

Obviously this is a topic that I was more passionate about than I thought at first, which is good. I don't think that people think about this stuff as often as they could, and it's great to just bring it up to the table every now and again.

See you guys later, have an awesome rest of the weekend!

1 comment:

  1. I agree with you on the whole not enjoying friends as much when they're with their I guess it would be the same for other people when Tim and I are together. But I get what you mean, I like to still keep friends/boyfriend somewhat separate because it is different. I'm not saying that I feel like a totally different person but it makes it harder to reconnect or have dnm's.