Part 45: ‘Serious’ People

What’s happened to the world? Oh, yeah, a major recession. Let’s blame that. I need to blame something. There must be a reason why so many of the otherwise charming, attractive, charismatic people I meet hold themselves, their opinions and the sanctity of sincere conversation, without laffs, in such high regard. Everyone wants to be taken seriously. All the time.

Even the hot, rich young man I had a fleeting fling with at the end of last year wanted to tell me his fears about the ‘economy’ before he fucked me; lest I think the fact he wanted sex without strings made him superficial and moronic (he needn’t have worried, the former is my second favourite characteristic in a casual lover, after the obvious). What happened to wooing a lady with a series of self-derisory and hilarious witticisms, and pretending you didn’t have soul – like what boys used to do in Plumstead, in the ’90s? What happened to being able to say words without people thinking you totally meant them?

I reserve sincerity for my ‘academic’ work, and occasional moments of emotional intimacy. Other than that, the only time I mean words is when they are ‘I love you’, or ‘go fuck yourself’. On almost all other occasions I’m half-joking, or being deliberately contrary to provoke a more interesting discussion (yes, even here). Like the time I defended paedophilia to a room full of horrified acquaintances at a dinner party. I didn’t actually mean it – it’s just that I have yet to pass an agreeable evening which involves extended discussion around a subject on which all the company concur. Where’s the fun in that? In my family, no party is worthy of the name until someone has threatened to punch someone else in the face, and thrown up in a plant pot. You should come along one time, it’s totes fun-glamour, and we rarely assault invited guests.

The large number of po-faced ‘serious’ people occupying my social space at the mo suggests that the human race needs to collectively loosen up. We’ve become too uptight, as a species. Let’s take a chill pill or a real pill. Yes, we’re totally fucked in every possible direction (spiritual, fiscal, ecological), but that doesn’t mean we need to think and talk about it all the time. And certainly not when trying to seduce a mate. What about making flirty, observational banter, where you say something mildly controversial about a person in the room and hope I a) don’t know them and b) laugh? What about taking my fingertips with the long red nails between the palms of your hands, looking me in the eye, and telling me I’m beautiful, in a tone of voice which also conveys that you don’t absolutely mean it? What about buying a drink and telling me an amusing anecdote from your life, one that reveals a sense of humour and hidden reservoirs of sophistication? Alright, I know that you personally might not be actively trying to sleep with me, but you wouldn’t say no, if you were desperate.

There’s artistry to unexpressed depth, to the undercurrent of meaning that undulates between human beings in the throes of sociality. That thing actors and playwrights call subtext. The serious people forget this. So listen: If you’re deep of soul, or intellectually accomplished, I will get it. Even if it’s concealed by indifference. Trust. Not that it means I’ll like you more. ‘Depth’ is well overrated; despite what common wisdom would have us believe, there is no such thing as a person who is shallow, or a person who is ‘fake’. The human condition is to feel; some of us just hide our capacity for feeling better than others. Although I will concede that there are liars and users and thieves amongst the ranks of the feeling people, and that they aren’t (speaking from experience) advisable long-term partner material. Mind you, if life’s a bit tedious, they do provide a more than adequate injection of drama, and they’re bound to be better company than the ‘serious’.

So yeah, until the serious single people can take themselves less so, or until the amusing single people can introduce themselves into my social circle, I am totally staying single. Because the thing is, when you say exactly what you feel, and mean it, it’s like a Spielberg movie: you leave nothing to the imagination. And as you should definitely know, when dealing with the ladies, the imagination is the ultimate erogenous zone.

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