Sunday, 20 April 2008

Peer Pressure

(Due to a complete lack of interest in the last episode of Dr Who, my review is being pushed back til Monday. Instead, you'll have to make do with this pretty rushed article about peer pressure. Sorry!)

Meeting new people for the first time is always a tricky thing. The first day of school, university, a new job, it’s a terrifying experience. It’s impossible to persuade yourself that no matter what happens, you’re probably going to meet at least one person you like, who will help you through the whole transition. Despite having faith in yourself, the nagging thought that everyone will hate you never goes away, even after a week or so in this new environment.

Perhaps you do find someone who seems rather nice, and they introduce you to a whole bunch of their friends, and you join their inner circle. It’s nice. They show you round, warn you about the leaky toilet on third floor, give you advice about the best sandwich bar nearby, and send you hilarious email forwards which make you laugh uproariously when you open them. Well, maybe not that last one, email forwards are never funny. Everything’s going great, and you’re happy. Then one of them invites you to their house, and things seem good. You turn up with a bottle of wine/absolutely nothing, according to how young/old you are, or if you are an ass or not, and enter the house. You have a great time! They make some great jokes and you mess around and talk a lot and you’re really enjoying yourself. You sit down at the table for tea, and everything is going well up until the point where they bring in the family cat and murder it in ritual sacrifice. Tearing out the heart, they pass it over and wait with baited breath for you to declare it as an offering to the Sun God Ra.

This scenario could be replaced by many other things – smoking, taking drugs, gambling, shooting old people, rape – but in each different case it leaves you with two options. You either join in, thus cementing yourself as a true friend to this person, or you recoil and lose the friendship, but retain your sense of self. This is called “peer pressure”. Here are your two options.

1: You don’t accept the cat heart, make your excuses, and leave.

Option 1 suggests keeping your sense of morality and refusing to go along with whatever your friend asks you to. Again, if your friend does something else that isn’t sacrificing a cat, then substitute accordingly. I’m just naming the most common occurrence here. After denying your friend the shared experience you turn up the next day and the story has spread round your friends like wildfire that you’re not a cool, liberal person like they thought you were. You try and talk to them, but they ignore you. They don’t even respond to pokes on Facebook. You try and make it work, but eventually things get so miserable that you quit your work/school and go somewhere else. This results in you earning less money, and you then die alone. Unless you try option 2…

2: You strip naked and hold the still beating heart up to the Sun.

Option 2 is all about keeping your friend happy. You go through with the sacrifice, and then sit down to a delicious dinner of roast cat, followed by jelly and ice cream. When you show up to work/school the next day your friends have all made you a badge saying “No #1 Friend”, which you wear with pride. They’ll invite you out to their next celebration, which you attend, and your boss gives you a pay rise because you’re doing such good work. You get married to that person you’ve always fancied after you find out they worship Ra as well, and have a stunning lifetime together.

I would never want to influence you in any way. This is just a brief overview of what peer pressure is all about, and I hope that it helps you out someday.


  1. I read ur latest post on "Illicitly Eating Flowers", and it moved me. I'm in that very situation, but it's not a cat. it's another person. well, it's actually jack, but he doesn't know. I had doubts about going through with the sacrifice. I even considered running away.

    But when i read ur post, i decided that i really should go through with it. So i just wanted to say thankyou. Thankyou for showing me the light.

  2. I get a sense of déja vu reading that, Ashley.