Much has been made of late of the fact that social media is obfuscating realistic interpretations (and presentations) of our diurnal lives.
Since the seminal NYT piece ‘Branding and the ‘Me’ Economy’, sociologists have rampantly discussed that new new presentation of ourselves, and our quotidian ‘realities’, via FB/IG/Snapchat (the latter if you’re 14 fucking years old, or just pretending to be).
We all remember the #youdidnoteatthat meme. Next up, #youneveractuallywentthere. The need to post ever more elaborate and ‘glamourous’ content means that people are elevating that digital life model ever more, usually in diametric opposition to their actual reality. Blank wall posts in Chanel sunglasses that you’re just trying on are de rigueur. Gucci duckface repping in head-to-toe Zara. Ryanair flights to exotic locales for the day, so your post map post-propagates. Like you actually know your way around Tangier. Instagram husband gets that shot of you and your mint tea at Cinématèque de Tanger and peace out back to the airport tho. No riad necessary. #economicjetset
At this point, I need to admit something. I’m all the guilty of this. I give zero fuxks about social media. I’m terrible at it. Comfortably. But a quick check of the last 30 days on my IG registers photos from New York, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong, Toronto, Berlin, Rotterdam, and Düsseldorf. I’m writing this over a glass of Lanson Brut on the terrace at Salon Schmitz on the Aachenerstraße in Köln.
My work takes me around the world non-stop. And you can see it in the bags under my eyes. That Aesop Camelia Nut can’t save me. And I smell like a Chinese pharmacy, as I roll their Ginger Flight Therapy placebo nonsense onto my temples so much I may as well just bathe in it.
Don’t get it twisted. I strongly advocate travel, in no uncertain terms. And particularly for those who have the presence of mind to treat travel as an opportunity to imbue local lifestyles into theirs, rather than simply making a checklist of things to see. But these are self-shaping experiences I speak of, rather than an example of this pathological need to appear to be perpetually on the go.
And here’s the big bad secret. It’s not glamourous. It’s exhausting. Lunch in Berlin, dinner in Paris. Drinks at klunkerkranich, but no time to see the Neues Museum. Jelly? Don’t be. Fuck your fomo, I’m all about that joy of missing out. JOMO4EVA.
You know what sounds exotic to me? Narcos, season 2. I fell asleep during The Neon Demon on the IC from Schipol to Amsterdam. Heard it’s good tho. Cinematography looks mad pretty. In the trailer. Hmmmm.
I think the reason the jet set are gorgeous to begin with is that if you didn’t start out a genetic lottery winner, you’ll look 102 by your 30th. And though my initial reaction to Alain de Botton’s Art of Travel was to think he’s a fool, maybe his exhortations about Duc Jean Floressas des Esseintes’ ‘travels’ from home make some manner of sense. Watch La Grande Bellezza. Rome in a day. Anyone can cook an all’Amatriciana.
Travel is a beautiful thing. But so is real life.
So while you’re dreaming of attending Paris Fashion Week, I’m dreaming of sneaking bacon bits to the dog and tucking in to The Secret Life of Pets. Grass be always greener.
*I know I sound like a dick, but I’m speaking truth. Real life is a beautiful thing. So take solace in the smaller pyrrhic victories. Cause I’m having a drink with my waiter right now, and I speak many languages, but none that he does. Mime-ing ain’t fun. For real. But fam is. Celebrate.