It becomes clear once you grow up just how unprepared most people are for adulthood. I think this is partly because no one ever tells you how awful it is to spend much of your free time in bars.
In college, after years of cramped house parties and haunted frat basements, going to bars feels novel. Pretty much every bar is terrible, but the sloppiness is the point. You behave badly because you’re testing the limits of being unsupervised. Also, there are Jell-O shots. Plus, who would want to hang out with the person going to your college town’s one bespoke cocktail bar?
But somehow, going to bars as an adult is even worse. How many times do you really have fun at bars? Be honest with yourself. For me, I would say it’s only when I’m with a small, closely curated group of friends and sitting outside. Basically every other time I’m in a bar I would rather be pretty much anywhere else, such as on my couch.
The thing about bars is that they don’t even make sense. Quiet bars are weird, objectively, because you feel like everyone can hear your conversation. So most bars play music. But because music makes people talk louder, the bar must turn the volume up so that everyone can hear the music. This triggers a cycle that results in people standing around and yelling over loud music directly into each other’s faces or earholes. In what way is this ever enjoyable? It’s even worse when a bar is clearly playing music intended for people to dance, but instead of dancing, everyone is just screaming themselves hoarse about their dumb jobs. The most useless you will ever be is when you’re the person triangulating two other people shouting into each other’s ears at a bar. Why don’t we just have birthday drinks on the tarmac at JFK?
The worst part is that we all have wonderful places to gather: our very own homes. Know what’s an enjoyable, fulfilling social experience? Hanging out with your good buds in the calm of someone’s living room. You can control the music (music videos?), the booze is cheaper, and you can hear each other. You are free to smoke the devil’s leaf. Nobody is annoying you—unless someone is, in which case you may be forced to begin plotting ways to not hang out with that person anymore, but that’s what keeps friend circles fresh and exciting. Your women friends will hopefully have a lesser chance of encountering men they don’t want to be around. In New York, many people have access to roofs and backyards. I see no reason why I should ever be asked to congregate somewhere else.
Now, you might say: Well, the real reason I go to bars is because I’m an alcoholic. I’m sorry but I can’t help you with that. You may also say: I go to bars so I can find someone to fuck. To that I respond: Gay people don’t have to worry about that as much because we have more sex generally and have apps for fucking. And anyway, gay bars are bad too but in different ways.
I have found being in my late-20s to be full of tension and angst. Life’s realities have never been more apparent. I’m almost 30. Ahhhhhhhhhhh! Is there even an end in sight? The one thing I know I have to look forward to is that eventually I will age to the point that nobody will ask me to go hang out at a bar. Will I be dead? Wouldn’t I rather be???