It’s Valentine’s Day, which means I will be taking even more opportunity than usual to discomfit others with jokes about how I will inevitably die alone. The best part about feeling incapable of normal social interaction is that it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy; you keep telling people that you don’t know how to get along, and eventually they are forced to concede your point. The power of such contrarianism is nowhen more evident than on Valentine’s Day, when smug assholes like myself are moved to observe that A) the holiday and probably the very concept of romantic love are blatant constructions of a society bent on making us buy stuff and/or have children who will subsequently buy stuff, and also B) we do not have a date this year. There are so many of us, and yet we are all alone. Contrarianism is a trap, and I submit as proof this amazing letter to the editors of The Economist refuting it.
I’m 32 years old, which means I’ve reached the age where many of my friends have either had children or admitted they have a cocaine problem. Of the two groups, both keep going to restaurants, but only one conducts its business with anything resembling discretion. This country has a child problem. It’s not the children themselves, who after all will ensure the continued existence of human civilization if we can avoid a nuclear war, and serve as a source of high-protein food if we can’t. It’s the parents. Like the lifelong smoker who thinks his jacket smells fine, they’ve spent so much time with their children that they regard the presence of a shrieking, silverware-drumming homunculus as the default human condition. It’s not. The default human condition is loneliness, as any 32 year-old man who works out of the one-bedroom apartment where he lives with his stereo can tell you. As such a man, I regard the presence of children in restaurants, coffee shops and airplanes not as some sort of force majeure, but as a force vous douchebags, and I believe you should take responsibility for it.