The problem with not giving a shit is that it’s very hard to do publicly. By which I mean: people who tell you they don’t give a shit are, invariably, lying.
If you genuinely couldn’t care less about a given person, place or subject then you don’t mention it at all. The non-mentioning reflects your state of mind, which is: blank to the point of emptiness. You are definitely not thinking about the thing, because you don’t care about the thing.
For example, I am trying to think of stuff I couldn’t give a shit about and I am finding it very difficult to do. Caber tossing maybe? But there again, I’m not one hundred percent sure what caber tossing is. (UPDATE: Turns out caber tossing is inhumanly beefy men (and women I presume, although not in the first few google images, which is as far as this research went) — think Incredible Hulk, but grey skinned from the long Scottish winters — wearing kilts while lifting and then throwing giant logs. It looks quite fun. You see my point? As soon as you start to consider a thing you have an opinion and, therefore, by definition, you give a shit.) This is why it is so much more painful not to receive a reply to a text message than it is to be told flat-out that you are no longer required on the sex and companionship front. The radio silence communicates, in a volume louder than words, that not a shit is given and that feels horrid, because you’d rather be thought of negatively than not at all.
We all would rather be the anecdote about that crazy bitch with the hair than never mentioned again and evaporate into obscurity. It’s basic human nature; we are all terrified of the abyss.
What people mean, when they say they don’t give a shit, is that something they actively dislike or are annoyed by is being forced upon them (see me and: football, liquorice, John Simm, overcooked meat, details about your forthcoming wedding plans, post-2004 Ricky Gervais, arguments for the privatisation of the NHS), or, when aimed at person or statement, that they feel slighted but don’t want those around them to notice and so have chosen to front with aggressive bravado.
‘I don’t give a shit,’ always indicates a lack of emotional intelligence. It is a transparent device, concealing a profound inability to tell it how it is. (see: ‘Do you like my new dress?’ ‘That colour makes your skin look pasty,’ ‘I don’t give a shit what you think,’ and ‘My ex called’, ‘Are you ok?’ ‘Yeah, course. I couldn’t give a shit.’ ) This is why I have removed ‘I don’t give a shit’ from my vocabulary and started using it as a litmus test for friends and potential lovers.
Damaged people are everywhere. Stalking the streets, like apparitions in soiled leisure wear; sending messages to women they’ve met online about how much they enjoy having their ‘hairy balls slapped hard’ (no, really); sucking up narcotics through their veins and their noses so that they become numb to the searing void pain has eaten in their souls. They are marrying your friend, swearing at your mum when she takes too long to pull away at the traffic lights and some of them are running the country. And all the time they pretend that they don’t care, while their barely suppressed agony seeps out and poisons the world.
I want my friends and lovers to give a shit and know how to express it. I want them to tell me when I’ve hurt them, made them angry, happy, horny, crazy, sad. I want a life that has sincerity (although not one without sarcasm and bitching behind people’s backs, obviously), one where what matters is that you know how you feel and how to deal with it (see: ‘Do you like my new dress?’ ‘That colour makes your skin look pasty,’ ‘I didn’t need to hear that. Next time I ask you about my clothes choices, you have to lie, unless we are near a wardrobe so I can avoid disaster before I leave the house,’ and ‘My ex called’, ‘Are you ok?’ ‘I’m not sure. I got this sharp pang in my stomach, a bit like when you veer too close to the edge of a cliff. I don’t miss her, day-to-day, but I do feel regret and sadness about how it ended.’)
*I realise the header image is somewhat out of whack with the overall tone of this post. But you know what, babe? I don’t give a shit.