Monday, 5 May 2014

Instant lifestyle - just add lies

For the majority of people there's a clear dividing line between fantasy and reality, but there's one area where that boundary seems to be somewhat less clearly defined.
For today's little rant I'm going to be considering 'lifestyle'. To me this has become perhaps the most overused word of recent times and it's all the more irritating because of what it represents.
Every time you open a magazine or turn on the TV or radio there's someone trying to convince you that it's absolutely essential that you buy this that or the other to enhance your lifestyle. What the hell does any of this mean and what makes it so damn important? As far as I can tell I've made it through the last 43 years without a lifestyle and I fail to see why I need to purchase one.
After a great deal of deliberation I've concluded that 'lifestyle' is nothing more than an advertiser's wet dream. Lifestyle is the contents of every glossy magazine in the doctors waiting room and every advert shown on commercial television, apart from the one telling you to go to the doctor if you've had a cough for more than three weeks, where you can read more about lifestyle while you wait.
Lifestyle is the leaflets the postman shoves through your letterbox whether you like it or not, it's the billboards in town centres, and the cherry on the cake is the appearance of specialist 'lifestyle' shops. Seriously - what the fuck is that all about? All these things have one goal in mind. They're trying to persuade gullible people to part with extraordinary amounts of cash in exchange for a dream.
There is no way that the tacky crap sold in any of those 'lifestyle' boutiques will have any positive impact on your life (stylish or otherwise) so just don't fall for it.
The selling of dreams is everywhere. Take barbecues for example. It's a gorgeous summer day and you see the advert for the barbie full of happy beautiful people eating perfectly cooked food, and you could so easily fall for it. Would you be equally tempted if the picture on the box was a more realistic representation of the barbecue experience, featuring a sunburned bloke with soot on his face, clutching a beer in one hand and using the other to serve sausages that are essentially raw meat in a hard carbon case to a bunch of friends and relatives who wish they'd actually had a meal before coming or better yet, not come at all.
Adverts for posh cars would have you believe that owning one will transform you from the sad little numpty you really are into a suave, sophisticated, handsome chap with hundreds of friends (real ones, not Facebook ones) and with so much sexual magnetism you'll be beating off crowds of beautiful moist young women with a shitty stick. The reality? You'll be the same sad numpty sitting in the same traffic jam as everyone else, but with a huge monthly repayment for the next ten years.
Nothing is safe from the interference of the 'lifestyle' pushers. With sanitary towels that change women into overenthusiastic athletes, and nappies that ensure that every baby is a happy joyful soul with it's mother chuffed to bits to be changing yet another nappy in her perfect soft-focus world, the 'lifestyle' people are determined to dispatch the reality of cramps, irrational mood swings, and sleep-deprived mothers trying to calm a screaming baby at 3AM.
The worst examples of all this are to be found in those nasty celebrity-obsessed magazines that make the terminally stupid believe that they can live a life just like multi-millionaire footballers, actors, and pop stars even though they're on an income somewhere between minimum wage and the supposed national average. Consequently there's a whole sector of society with a 'lifestyle' that includes enormously extravagant weddings, exotic holidays, flash cars, designer clothes, and an inevitable collapse into financial destitution. Meanwhile, those who were savvy enough to not fall into the 'lifestyle' trap may not have been showing the visual trappings of perceived 'success', but in working themselves into a comfortable little rut have managed to clear themselves of debt and become content and confident enough with themselves as individuals to not care what others think of them. Lifestyle is a myth created to camouflage those with immense personal insecurities; a net of lies draped over the mundane to make it look more glamourous than it really is.
I've decided that I'm not going to have a lifestyle because I'm simply not rich or shallow enough to possess one, and I'm absolutely fine with that. I'm fine with anything that doesn't mark me out as someone who thinks that what's on show externally is more important than who you are inside.
After all, there's no point having an impressive window display when there's nothing in the stockroom.