Given the mundane world office workers endure it's no surprise that an after-work visit to the pub is an obligatory social fate for Londoners. But, i've listened enough with inner tedium to the day-after stories; the self-pleased (heroic), hand-on-head moan, "Aaaggh, what a night!”
One can accept a rock star’s life of back-room decadence or even a high society social gathering of fakery, but to go out on a friday night, stand around in some sound-crammed, over-priced pub or club, scrounging for conversation, while the effects of crap beer or wine numb the brain, feels a crude way of being among friends.
Why is getting smashed, and paying for it, the badge of saturday morning accomplishment?
Perhaps the answer lies in the words of Desmond Morris:
“The true appeal of this type of interlude lies in its shared pain – the cruel humour, the loss of self control, the threat of violence, the nausea and the hangover. Members of any group that finds itself faced by a shared disaster experience a powerful emotional-bonding process. Kidnap, hostages, shipwreck survivors, soldiers under fire, all become bonded more intensely than people enjoying relaxed relationships….The shared hangovers give the drinkers the sense that they have emerged from a group trauma. And they feel strangely closer for it.”
I've had my share of drunken revelries, but it seems rather disappointing to find this enactment of trauma actually provides a sense of valuable togetherness. Sadly I have to admit some sense of social accomplishment myself.