Should We Be Downsizing Our Social Lives? | sheerluxe.com
With millennials swapping going out for evenings in, downsizing our social lives has never been more popular. With everything from food to drink to Amazon Prime delivered straight to your door quicker than ever, it’s entirely possible to go a whole weekend without setting foot outside the front door – but is that really a good thing? Pascale Day investigates…
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My name is Pascale, but you can call me the Queen of Cancelling. Particularly when the weather gets cold, there’s nothing I want to do more than abandon all plans, head on home, get into my PJs and crank the heating up high. And I’m not alone: research by mattress company Ergoflex found that 82% of 18-30-year-olds have cancelled plans with friends in favour of getting an early night.

Telegraph writer Rachel Cocker recently spoke about the joys of not leaving the house for 48 hours. Weeknights in are my jam, but I don’t often spend a whole weekend without leaving the comfort of my south London flat. However, with a free weekend on my hands, I decided to give it a try.

Saturday

It’s 11.30am and by the time I wake up, it feels as though half the day has already vanished. I’ve missed breakfast, and I don’t believe in brunch, so there’s no need to think about a meal just yet.

Often, I get up and go straight to the gym. It’s something I have to do right away, because once my arse hits the sofa, it’s there until bedtime. But today, my gym gear is staying at the back of my wardrobe, gathering dust where it belongs. Instead, I plonk myself on the sofa and get Friends on the go.

By the time I reach the fridge at around 3pm, I'm filled with panic at the sight of shelves barer than Bridget Jones’s – at least she had a lump of cheese she could scrape the mould off; I ate all the cheese in a drunken flurry the night before. But it’s fine – that’s what Deliveroo is for, right? In her Telegraph piece, Rachel was dubious of people’s desire to stay in and save, with stats showing that delivered food only works out at around £1 cheaper than eating out – but I reckon once McDonald’s delivery comes into force across the company, that will all change. Although most places enforce a £10 limit, for just one person alone it can be hard to fill that quota – there’s only so many McNuggets I can eat.

I can’t help fixating on the fact that I haven’t inhaled any fresh air in a long time. So I open the window and stick my head out. It’s still sunny and I am in a prison of my own making.

Once the evening rolls around, I’m pretty content. I have to admit, I’m not crazy on going out drinking. Actually, that’s a lie – I love going out drinking, but I hate the UK drinking culture. I hate that bars insist on cranking the music up at 6pm, I hate the lighting and people who stand at the bar after they’ve got a drink. I hate straws – plastic, paper, metal, they’re all awful. I hate too much ice in my drink, and cocktails with weird names like ‘Blow Job’ or ‘Serial Killer’. I just want a drink, and I feel like by the time I actually get it in my hands I’ve aged about five years. People always chat up my friends and I have to sit drinking my Serial Killer until they’ve got rid of them, insisting they “Just want to spend time with {their} friend,” as I sit in the darkness like some sexless goblin. Then everyone makes me dance…

So, the fact I can do a tappy-tap on my phone and get a bottle of wine and a Chinese takeaway delivered to my door, by a Deliveroo driver that doesn’t want to talk to me, makes me very happy. Now, I can get the drink I want ASAP and share it with my boyfriend who knows not to breathe a word to me, because I’m watching To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before and the love story between Lara-Jean and Peter Kavinsky is very important to me. Then once that’s finished, we can talk at a normal volume and slowly get drunker over a bottle of sauvignon blanc and the only movement that I need to make is walking to my bedroom to pass out.

Sunday

Well, this is getting a bit dull now. I wake at about 10.30am and the sun is shining. Knowing an entire day inside is ahead of me starts to fill me with dread.

As I enter theliving room, my boyfriend, suffering from jetlag after a work trip to New York, is already in there. He has also stayed in all weekend, too fatigued to leave his sofa nook. He is making me grumpy and I don’t know why. He’s just sitting there. Like an idiot. Taking up all the air with his heavy breathing.

He lets me pick what I want to watch on TV. Thank god for Netflix – I watch all ten episodes of The Haunting of Hill House in one day. Vox calls the desire to stay horizontal all weekend the ‘homebody economy’, which has lead to a thriving streaming service industry that continues to expand and improve. At the end of 2017, Netflix had 94 million subscribers. (Earlier this week, a friend told me she didn’t have Netflix, and for about 10 minutes I didn’t believe her.) Nearly 40% of UK households have either Netflix, Amazon Prime or Now TV (I have all three), and as of this year, streaming services have now become more popular than traditional TV packages.
 

There’s a difference between downsizing your social life and not having one at all, and I feel as though living this way encourages the latter.

Along with top-notch television, Amazon Prime’s ‘Now’ service promises to deliver anything from groceries to electronics to pet food within a two-hour time slot, so like Rachel, I decide to put it to the test. Sure enough, it works – I order two beers, some cool original Doritos and a block of cheese, and within a couple of hours they’re all at my door, for just £2.49 delivery.

Which is great, but by about 4pm, I can’t help fixating on the fact that I haven’t inhaled fresh air in a long time. I feel an irrational fear washing over my body, so I open the window, stick my head out and take some deep breaths. It’s still sunny and I am in a prison of my own making.

Monday

By the time Monday morning rolls around, my appreciation of the outside world is tenfold. All that air! All these people! I really thought this downsized social life was made for me – after all, I am by nature both unsociable and lazy. But while it’s entirely possible to do all the things you need to do and buy all the things you need to buy without setting foot outside – and, you can blast a whole TV series in just ten short hours – I’m not sure it’s necessarily a good thing. There’s a difference between downsizing your social life and not having one at all, and I feel as though living this way encourages the latter. I get it – we all love staying in and relaxing and a lot of the time, we probably need it. Life is stressful. But I’m still a firm believer that being stationary for long stretches, without interactions with the outside world, isn’t good for the body or the mind. Just because you can get everything sent to you, doesn’t mean you should.
 

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