One that got away

Not just every so often, but often enough that it doesn’t hurt so bad anymore, articles get commissioned and then never printed. This piece was below was supposed to go in Electronic Beats ‘Back to the Future’ issue. They were looking for “thought-provoking” articles that reflected the decade we’re just about to leave. I gave them this. “This” wasn’t quite what they were looking for. They told me they’d illustrate it with some lovely rabbits. That would have been nice and probably a lot better than what I came up with.

Conor Creighton asks if the greatest development of the last decade has been our increased talent for solo sex, does this mean the beginning of the end for mankind?

Generation Masturbation

If you’re uncertain about your future as a human, take a train out to the countryside and spend an afternoon listening to the rabbits. The average rabbit conversation goes a little something like this:

Rabbit 1: Hey, have I seen you round the warren before?

Rabbit 2: No, I just got in today. It’s a really swell place you’ve got here.

Rabbit 1: Indeed, that it is… so, hmm, do you want to have sex?

Rabbit 2: Super! Just give me a second to put my bags somewhere.

Rabbits, like humans, are passionate creatures. Put a bunch of long ears together in the morning and by teatime their number will have trebled. It’s what rabbits do. They breed until there’s more rabbit than pasture, then some nasty manmade virus comes along, and quicker than you can say ‘rabbit stew’, they’re back down to just one cottontail sat in a field practising pick-up lines on the sheep. The sheep don’t fall for charm, and just bleat away in ignorance

Just like rabbits after a couple of warm days in the sun, we humans have also been overbreeding. In 1940 there were a little more than 2 billion of us; by 2050, our population is set to pip 11 billion. We’re simply way too many, and it’s getting cramped in here. The ecosystem is getting tired of our noise and our griping. Something needs to give but it won’t be some nasty, gut wrenching disease that finally does us in, it’ll be our expectations and our serious habit for wanking.

Love, in the classical romantic sense, is the search for our self. To fall in love with a stranger is entirely based upon falling in love with yourself. Keats described it as, “two souls with a single thought”. That single thought being, ‘me’. This kind of relationship’s a new thing. The idea of selecting a life partner who you actually loved hit Europe about 250 years ago. Before that, mama and pappi selected your other half based on economic considerations and hard proof that they weren’t a first cousin. That proof often wasn’t verified until an unfortunate and extremely ugly child arrived into the home.

The logical next step in the development of human relationships, now of course that we’ve mastered the art of falling in love with ourselves through others, is to do away with the shared element. It’s time to just fall in love with ourselves on our own. Which in a nutshell, means people masturbating more, not producing babies and the human race snuffing it in a couple of hundred years or less. And the ecosystem can just sit back and watch it happen.

On top of our masturbatory habits, we’re not helping ourselves with our expectations. We’re the pickiest generation yet. If you think about it, most people who live in cities are too busy for relationships. We can’t take Berlin as exemplary because well, it bucks most social trends and most of you probably only know rush hour in reverse, on your way home from a club falling asleep on the poor commuters. But London, now that’s a city. In London there are more registered dating site members than actual Londoners. You might see that as a sign of the enduring power of love, but I’d look on it more as symbolic of a city chasing its own tail, hopping from one half-assed fling to another in the hope of finding the answer to all their dreams inside two lunch dates. People are too independent to compromise. And that’s the gift our generation has given the world.

Our parents were all about moulding. ‘Your father was an itinerant drunk when I met him and, yes, after twenty-years he’s still a drunk, but at least he’s housebound.’ We just don’t have that kind of time to invest in someone if they don’t meet expectations by date two. And with all this lack of compromise spreading like wildfire, it leads us back to masturbation and the eventual extinction of our species. We won’t give up on reproducing because we get turned off sex, rather we’ll give up on reproducing because we’ve no time for ‘tell me about yourself’ conversations.

Slavoj Zizek is a Slovenian thinker. He’s to conventional philosophy what Peaches is to politesse. In time he’ll be remembered for remarks he made about Hitler not being violent enough, but he might also be remembered as the man who asked, “What if sex is only masturbation with a partner?” Doesn’t that mean the person you share your bed or backseat with is little more than a surrogate fist or finger?

The greatest change in sexual mores over the last decade has been the gradual acceptance of masturbation. It’s become as legitimate an after-work activity as hitting the gym or attending a life-drawing workshop. People can talk about it and do it free from shame in a way that’s never existed before. It’s a product of our own progress. The final step to complete self-sufficiency and the final solution for the human race.

We’ll no longer have a need for each other when, at heart, we know that we do things best on our own. And it’s only a matter of time before sex, involving someone other than yourself, will be about as old fashioned as using leeches in surgery.

We’re like little islands. A society of selfish wankers, and that’s the legacy this generation will leave behind. To think that our path would differentiate from animals is the greatest deception humans ever sold. We’ve no more reason than them to believe the sun will rise tomorrow. In the same way that Myxomotosis wipes out rabbits the masturbation epidemic will eventually cull our numbers too. And one day, not so far into the distant future, all that’s left of the human race will be a few lonely souls in the grey corners of cities holding on tight to their computer screens whispering ‘I love you’ into the gloom.


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