5 Ridiculous Things Adults Do Thanks to Peer Pressure
According to a dozen videos I watched in high school, peer pressure will/did ruin my life and made me butt chug heroin-laced vodka and snort all the marijuanas ever. I typed this article from my hospital bed. All teenagers are the devil.
But peer pressure doesn't end when high school ends; it just grows up, like all the high schoolers who didn't die as a result of peer pressure, and then becomes a softer, more subtle brand of douchebaggery we call social pressure. It's not even your peers doing it to you anymore, it's society. Society! That's everyone together, even shitheads and awesomeheads. The only time you'll even realize you're being victimized by it is when you feel stupid doing something and then, after you do it, stop to consider why you felt stupid and realize that you only did it because you felt you had to. Damn you, society!
Congratulating People on a Baby
Sometimes when a man and a woman ask me to leave the room, a baby is made, and nine months later I'm asked to leave the room again. This happens frequently and it's fairly mundane. There are currently 7 billion people on Earth, and somehow we still act like this is a remarkable feat. One needs only look at Octomom to start losing appreciation for the skill required to pass a human through a vagina (you keep your Caesarean comments to yourself).
If someone at your workplace or in your group of friends announces in front of you that they're having a baby, you're going to have that moment when congratulations are delivered. Some are probably very sincere -- maybe you really think the fact that they humped successfully is cool, I'm not judging. I'm just suggesting that, for most people, this congratulatory expression is the result of being made to feel like you need to, rather than any real sentiment. Because really, what did you do? You boned without the aid of birth control and biology worked. There are life forms on Earth right now that can change sex in order to reproduce, and others that can reproduce all alone without even finding a partner. No one congratulates them, so how is your effort more worthy of praise?
Realistically, people should congratulate you when your child turns 18, contingent on the kid not being a piece of shit. If you have and raise a child who becomes a good person and the world is better for having him in it, then you get congratulated on a job well done. Congratulating people on a baby is like praising a chef for buying beans and a ham only to have him serve you ham-and-bean-crusted turd kabobs.
Liking Pop Culture
Nothing is more hinged upon fads and social pressure than pop culture. Magazines, TV shows, and websites make a living telling you what is awesome and trying to convince you who is cool. Remember when Lana Del Rey was on SNL? Had you even heard of her before then? Of course not. She also sucked miserably, but probably half of you know her name now because she was put in a spotlight and people pretended she was cool.
On a smaller scale, this happens all the time in your social circles and places of employment or schools. Remember Titanic? Remember when it was (un)cool to be the person who paid to see it 100 times? Every town had that one mental case on the news who'd seen Titanic more times than they'd been hugged by a family member. It was both sad and weird.
The current fad du jour is the Harlem Shake. Take a look and see how many businesses and schools have uploaded their own Harlem Shake videos to partake in the fun. There's literally dozens if not hundreds by now, and each one is blissfully ignorant of the fact that no one likes the Harlem Shake. It's awful and all those videos are awful. And when you make the 50th version of a video that's exactly the same as the previous 49, it makes it, according to science, awful. Science hates you now.
Interestingly, this becomes even more fanatical when it's something that an even larger part of society doesn't like. For instance, look at Beliebers. "Belieber" is a portmanteau in which the "ieber" is from Justin Bieber and the "bel" is from the Judeo-Christian demon Belial, and it means "worthless." Feel free to Google which parts of that I made up. Beliebers are rabid defenders of Justin Bieber to the point of insanity. Like literal, smearing shit on the walls and hooting coded messages at their own genitals insanity. Is there any reason why you, as a fan of a musician, should send death threats to a person who speaks ill of that musician? Or someone who wins an award instead of that musician? Not really, but a shit-ton of them do it all the time. Because they've entered into this crazy, self-supporting zone of "true fandom," and everyone else is doing it so they might as well do it too, and who knows, it might even end up trending on Twitter! OMG!
Hating Pop Culture
On the flip side of our pop culture flapjack are the sexy, syrup-cupping hate divets. People really like hating things that are popular to hate. Like Nickelback. Nickelback could be the best band in the world right now and I'd have no idea because I hate Nickelback. In fairness, I started hated them after that song "Photograph," which had lyrics on par with the rantings of someone dying from exposure to industrial cleaner and swamp gas fumes, but maybe they've evolved since then. Maybe Nickelback is just cranking out the phattest tunes ever now. But the fact is, everyone still makes fun of them, and I'm happy to join in because everyone assures me they suck and I have no desire to take the time to find out if they're wrong.
It's trendy to hate on things. In fact, it's a lot easier than liking things, because those Beliebers I mentioned are, as I said, insane. They get secondary hate sloughed off of Bieber. But hating something is not only easier, it's more fun. How many Cracked articles make jokes that rely on positivity? Making fun of stuff allows for way more cool jokes than praising it. Look at the fun descriptive words in my columns from 2013 alone: "Creepiest," "grossest," "dimwits." In fact, my only rejected article was "The 16 Most Sexy, Charming, and Intelligent Fans of Felix Clay Articles," in which I detailed how awesome you guys are, but editorial felt it wasn't edgy enough and that no one reading would believe that you're all really that charming and sexy and smart, even with all the links and photos I had to back me up. Oh well, I tried.
Making fun of something popular like Bieber, or Star Wars, or American Idol is to the Internet what apple pie is to America. It's delicious and you can fuck it. But more than that, it's representative of the wholesome roots of the population as a whole. It's what keeps us all going. More so the mockery than the pie. If pie keeps you going, you probably have a lot of trouble breathing, and you're likely to start sweating before this article ends.
Laughing at Things That Aren't Funny
This seemed appropriate to include here because I like to think that at least one guy will read the title and then run down and make a joke about laughing at my article because it's not funny and then he'll feel clever that he turned my words against me without ever having read that I totally saw it coming right here and I also made love to his mother. Sweet, tender love. We didn't call each other names. We just grunted a little, and after, she made me eggs. And they were all right. They were all right sex eggs. From that guy's mom.
Anyways, have you ever heard this as a punchline to a joke -- "no soap, radio"? "No soap, radio" is the verbal embodiment of a pantsing. It mocks you in front of others and makes you look like a fool who forget to put on underpants today. Here, let's see it in action:
Two bears are in the tub, doing friendly bear tub stuff. One bear says to the other, "Pass the soap." The other bear's monocle pops out and he says, "No soap, radio."
Are you laughing? So help me God, you better not be. But if you told this joke to two other people, and one of those people was in on it, your friend and you could laugh, and there's a good chance the third person, the "mark," if you will, will start laughing simply because you and the other guy are laughing.
The joke is a psychological experiment, sort of an Asch conformity experiment where people are basically tricked by being in a room full of people who all give the obviously wrong answer to a question to see if the marks will conform to the group and also give the wrong answer, even though they know it's wrong. Or, in this case, laugh at something that isn't even funny, just because everyone else laughs. It's mindfuckery at its finest.
In terms of comedy, you can see it at work every day on TV. Laugh tracks in shows are there to let you know when to laugh. There's really no other reason. If something is funny, you'd probably know it on your own, right? But thanks to helpful laugh tracks, you're cued every time something is supposed to be funny in an effort to convince you that According to Jim is actually hilarious and not the sitcom equivalent of an anal speculum. It's tricking you into thinking you missed something if you didn't laugh, and no one ever wants to be the idiot who didn't get the joke. Like if someone told me that when Godot finally showed up he had to borrow cab fare and then they laughed, I'd totally laugh too so I don't look like a dummy, even though I've never heard of Waiting for Godot and have no idea what that joke means and I didn't make it on Twitter last week, either.
Shaving the Pubes
Show of hands, who here has pubes? Please only answer if you're over 18, I don't want to be a felon. According to study after study, women especially but to a great degree men as well feel a curious, unspoken social pressure to shave their junk. As far as I know, as the owner of junk myself, there isn't really a faction of pube haters out there going by some cool gang name like the Smoothies or the Crotch Watch trying to convince the world that pubes cause cancer or got Obama elected or whatever. So where does the pressure come from?
Lots of people point to porn as the culprit, suggesting that we see images of sheared folks strutting about all smooth as a doorknob in porn movies and that makes us all want to run out and buy razors, but if that were true, wouldn't we all also be peeing on rubber-mask-wearing gardeners in our dimly lit dungeons?
Likely porn had a hand in it (ha ha, like fisting!), but then it branched out into locker rooms and other places where we're forced to interact nude-like with others and that one porn girl was gallivanting around showing off a vagina that looked like Patrick Stewart glistening in the mist of a YMCA bathroom and it made other women feel self-conscious about their sex fros and so they weed whacked them down to size and it sort of blossomed from there. As far as dudes go, that scene in Harold and Kumar in which Kumar explains that it makes your junk look bigger pretty much nailed it.
Experts will assure you that there's no benefit to shaving your pubes, and in fact, it's worse to shave than not shave, as you make it easier to contract any number of infections and diseases. I also have it on good authority that there is something less attractive than a field of ingrown pubes burbling up through red-rimmed little pustules, but it involves Indian sewers and open-mouth kissing Don Imus.