"A TV commercial for Smirnoff Ice begins with two pals chugging malt beverages in a laundromat. Together, for fun, the guys overload the washers with soap flakes and switch them on. As the bubbles rise, other patrons jump into the act. Exhilarating music plays as the crowds wiggles around, euphoric, in chest-high suds.
Loners bristle at being advertised to. We might not mean to bristle, might not even see the bristle, but what else would loners do at being told to buy not just objects but lots of objects, and for dubious reasons-because others buy them, because someone who is being paid to say so says to? Objects doomed to rapid obsolescence. Objects whose shimmer onscreen and in magazines is the exact same kind that loners see in the real world and realize is false, is cheap, is there only to trick the stupid and will disappoint. We know this on some level when the cheese melts on the pizza ad, but sudden hunger lunges out of nowhere and plucks our guts, too. We know we do not need a car, nasal spray, lipstick, life insurance, or at least not the specific brand or color being waved in front of us. How dare you tell me what to do?And yet we want.
Advertising is antithetical to the loner mentality. Yet it is masterful. It makes us clench. It turns us into accidental rebels: suffering the ache and labor of resisting strong-arm tactics, shunning the attractive, the seductive, the lavishly marketed. Resisting ads, insisting on buying what we want when we want and if we want, is radical. And failing to resist makes us feel, deep down, even just a bit, like Judas.
Or at least like idiots.
Time spent alone has a way of winnowing the inventory of what we need. It reveals that some of our best delights derive from the intangible-from actions, experiences, thoughts-rather than objects. Not that every loner is a miser or minimalist. I, for one, would not say no to a new lava lamp. But to decrease contact with others is to decrease the number of items that seem necessary. It is the presence of others and exposure to the mainstream media, the insecurity and camaraderie sparked by those kinds of contact, that also spark the impulse to buy. Look what HE has. I want to impress HER.Desiring and requiring stuff means casting your lot with others. Intrinsically we know this. Being a rebel is tiring. Especially when you are up against a great hypnotic army that looks like Naomi Campbell and whose battle cries are so catchy that you cannot get them out of your head." pg. 53-55 Anneli Rufus "Party of One: The Loner's Manifesto"