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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Where'd All the Best Friends Go?

Posted by on Tue, Jan 29, 2013 at 5:05 PM

Buried in this article on how love doesn't really exist (or at least, not in the form we romanticize it), there's this depressing gem:

With Valentine's Day around the corner, many Americans are facing a grim reality: They are love-starved. Rates of loneliness are on the rise as social supports are disintegrating. In 1985, when the General Social Survey polled Americans on the number of confidants they have in their lives, the most common response was three. In 2004, when the survey was given again, the most common response was zero.

According to the University of Chicago's John Cacioppo, an expert on loneliness, and his co-author William Patrick, "at any given time, roughly 20 percent of individuals—that would be 60 million people in the U.S. alone—feel sufficiently isolated for it to be a major source of unhappiness in their lives." For older Americans, that number is closer to 35 percent. At the same time, rates of depression have been on the rise. In his 2011 book Flourish, the psychologist Martin Seligman notes that according to some estimates, depression is 10 times more prevalent now than it was five decades ago. Depression affects about 10 percent of the American population, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Not to brag or anything, but put three drinks in me and everyone becomes my confidante. Ole!

(No, but seriously: I never knew life could be so wonderful until I acquired my first best friend, Ryann, at the advanced age of 14ish. Ryann was the first lady aside from my mother who embraced my weird head on, unblinking, and then goaded me into taking it up a notch, most notably through our collaboration on Deathcock 3000, a sciency, g-rated porn we wrote when we were 17—and based on the hypothesis of kamakaze sperm—and starred in together. As you'd expect from nerd virgin best friends, the "porn" involved waaay too much talking about science and absolutely no nudity or even touching. Everyone needs a best friend with whom to film non-erotic porns together.)


Comments (19) RSS

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Dougsf 1
Those numbers only shifted due to the loss of the Golden Girls theme song reminding the country weekly what in the hell a "confidant" is.
Posted by Dougsf on January 29, 2013 at 5:17 PM · Report this
Confiding requires vulnerability. That's the hard part. If everyone allowed themselves to be vulnerable more, I think people would find more confidants. The culture of always happy is worn, plastic, and tattered. I find people are more real today (perhaps counterintuitively, given pop culture) than they every have been. Maybe I'm just lucky. The ability to truly trust is more of a problem than finding trustworthy people.
Posted by nullbull on January 29, 2013 at 5:22 PM · Report this
dwightmoodyforgetsthings 3
"According to the University of Chicago's John Cacioppo, an expert on loneliness..."

He didn't study it or anything, he's just an only child who spent years stranded on a desert island before moving to Chicago, where he found the big city to be more alienating than anything he ever found before. He's a weaver by training.
Posted by dwightmoodyforgetsthings on January 29, 2013 at 5:28 PM · Report this
seandr 4
Wait a minute, you filmed Deathcock 3000?? That's my favorite mover ever!
Posted by seandr on January 29, 2013 at 5:29 PM · Report this
Catalina Vel-DuRay 5
I loved the short-lived musical version, "Deathcock!", that ran off-Broadway for about twenty performances. I had the original cast recording until the possums got to it.

I've heard there's an opera version in the works, but that sounds pretentious.
Posted by Catalina Vel-DuRay on January 29, 2013 at 5:56 PM · Report this
Wandergeist 6
Seems perfect for a live all-drag revival.

I hope you gave a nod to Devo's "Mr DNA" which explored the same theme in 1979.
Posted by Wandergeist on January 29, 2013 at 6:05 PM · Report this
lostboy 7
Psst, Cienna. It's spelled "kam*i*kaze."

("Kamakaze" could be a coinage meaning "scythe wind" maybe, but it basically doesn't mean anything.)
Posted by lostboy on January 29, 2013 at 6:12 PM · Report this
@4: excellent comment.
Posted by Eric from Boulder on January 29, 2013 at 6:35 PM · Report this
dnt trust me 9
A lonely and depressed population is not so bad. It beats having a bunch of Smiley Cyruses and Jon Hamm it ups.
Posted by dnt trust me on January 29, 2013 at 6:58 PM · Report this
leek 10
@3 is also an excellent comment, once more making me long for the ability to "like" or thumbs up or something dumb like that.
Posted by leek on January 29, 2013 at 7:14 PM · Report this
Your personal anecdote is just awesome. That really warmed my heart!
Posted by Curtis Interruptus on January 29, 2013 at 7:41 PM · Report this
This first paragraph quoted reminds me of that bit in Gremlins.
Posted by Foonken2 on January 29, 2013 at 8:26 PM · Report this
thatsnotright 13
Who need a confidante in a society where nothing is confidential? If we publicize our every move and thought via social media, are filmed from every angle by ourselves, cctv and now drones, let the reality show rule of I'm-here-to-win govern our lives, what is a confident for? Relax, someone will post a picture of a kitty soon and we'll all feel better.

It's not as if having close friends in real life was rewarding but sometimes difficult and required us to make an effort, oh, wait.
Posted by thatsnotright on January 29, 2013 at 10:30 PM · Report this
DeaconBlues 14
You're an odd duck, Ms. Madrid.
Posted by DeaconBlues on January 29, 2013 at 10:52 PM · Report this
Theodore Gorath 15
Is there something about young teenage girls and making fake porn?

Several of the girls I know did essentially the same thing, be it with barbie dolls or whatever.
Posted by Theodore Gorath on January 30, 2013 at 4:52 AM · Report this
mkyorai 16
@15 I would guess that young teenage girls, just like young teenaged guys, are horny. Guys seem to cope by spending every waking moment between roughly ages 11-15 or so thinking about sex and/or masturbating, but maybe girls channel it differently, albeit with no less interest.
Posted by mkyorai on January 30, 2013 at 5:34 AM · Report this
wilbur@work 17
then stop being such bitches to each other.
Posted by wilbur@work on January 30, 2013 at 7:58 AM · Report this
ArtBasketSara 18
Reminds me of the monthly porn magazine my friend and I, except it WAS fairly graphic...though in a humorous/disturbing/poorly illustrated sort of way!
Posted by ArtBasketSara on January 30, 2013 at 8:08 AM · Report this
I still think that idea has potential.
Posted by NBR on February 1, 2013 at 9:09 AM · Report this

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