The Argument: Stay or Go

Stay in? Go out? The argument over winter partying heats up

In summertime the living is easy. Everyone is busy showing off their tan lines and making arrangements for sundowners. But come winter and humanity is split down the middle between those who carry on living their lives like it’s one long summer, and those who prefer to batten down the hatches and recharge their batteries. To argue this one out we enlisted a man who has never been afraid to go out on a school night, even if it’s winter, even if it’s raining, and even if he has the flu, which explains how he knows absolutely everyone, and then in the other corner we have a woman who, having resided over the nightlife scenes for over a decade now, and instead of paying cover charge, claims whatever’s at the door, now finds more solace nesting. It’s social butterfly versus hibernating thing-that-hibernates. Ching-Ching, lets go!

Hold up, hold up, hold up – this is a real debate? The argument against going out in winter is the exact same one used against going out when feeling the early-warning signs of impending flu. Blankets, series, 30 Seconds with friends; It's great, it's warm, it's comfortable – but let me be real cool and show off my grade 10 debating prowess when I call false dichotomy. Treating them as two sides of the same coin just leaves you one coin short as far as I'm concerned. Do both!

But definitely don't sell yourself short by not heading out in the better half of the year. Why, you ask? Well for one, it's colder, and while that might not sound fantastic at first, it is an incontrovertible truth that in summer, most men wear clothes, not outfits. You go out in winter and you'll see which men have an eye for style. Jackets, beanies, boots, shirts, the permutations for creating one's look increase massively, and act as a huge indicator of the personality of everyone around you! Also you can't see paunchy bellies, which is of massive benefit to some of us. Secondly, the only people going out in winter are those who have mustered enough strength to step out into the elements to have fun. The crowds are smaller, more committed, more easy-going and you can actually get a fuckin' drink without having to wait for years at the bar.

Finally, less games and less nonsense: everyone wants a winter warmer! Towards the end of the night in winter, everything said becomes a tacit "let's go home and get naked" line. "Let's go somewhere a little warmer", "You know what I could do with right now? Some tea!", and of course, passionately reciting the arguments listed in this article against going out. I imagine it's something about having soup and playing Jenga. "Ooh I love soup and Jenga" says absolutely any right-minded human in response.

And that's kind of the point, isn't it? If the onset of winter permits you to give a sigh of relief at not going out to socialise, party and get silly, well then maybe you're just a homebody. Surely the motivation to go out in summer is the same motivation in winter. Or maybe you aren't motivated to go out? Maybe what you normally feel is summer social pressure. Summer party pressure.

Hmmph. Now that's something I can't abide. Give me a braai and DVDs any day.

'So then because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out….' That was just for dramatic effect. No, seriously I can honestly say that I have been both a talented winter 'joller' and a winter hermit but ultimately I prefer the latter and here is why. I like to run a massive software update during winter. I zap any energetic viruses I might have picked up socially over summer and I set up new firewalls. I empty my trash. I double click my mouse. Jokes. I dive head first into the abyss of self-analysis. I do an existential exfoliation and a subtle body polish. I go for deep issue massages. I go on a discernment diet. I become… the Winter Hermit. When I finally wake up to smell the spring blossoms, I am smarter and more interesting. Perhaps. Instead of asking for fewer problems, I ask for more skills. The reason why I endorse Hermit-hood during winter is because it is an excellent time to up my brain game. Last winter was a wet dream. The apartment I looked after had Wi-Fi on tap so I was just singing in the data rain. Within days I became a full-blown Sagan geek. I studied Lucid Dreaming and learnt how to walk through walls. Permeability, man. I discovered the most obscure traditional music from across the globe. One week I was an Anthropologist in Papua New Guinea chilling with Mud Men, the next Ayurveda doctor gargling sesame oil in India. I wore face paint. I cut all my hair off. I wrote poetry. I composed music. I did interpretive dance and produced light shows with candles and torches. I studied the Tarot. I even had the chutzpa to take up walking meditation. I started painting and drawing daily. I starved my creative censor till it shrunk into a squeaky little mouse. Then I bit its head off.  I laughed in the face of negativity. I pissed on pessimists. I stopped boozing and started training and running up mountains a few times a week. Soon I was in shape and my skin looked clear and radiant. I felt Number One. Bossy. Yes I was alone, but I was never lonely. As much as I respect and appreciate the Sun for being the only true living God, I prefer him dialed down. Winter offers me the opportunity to take regular air baths in the cold outdoors. I get to scry cosy fires for insight and answers but most of all... I frack my underground mental resources. My challenge to you is to get smarter and more interesting this winter.

Go on then! Unless you actually enjoy listening to the drunken guy next to you at the bar eat an invisible mielie on a Sunday evening. Sure, I admire the winter joller's commitment. They are the real deal. The pecking order of pint. I raise my glass to anyone willing to brave the black South Easter for a 'wettie' but if I want to get loose in winter I'd rather invite interesting people over to my house and get messy in the comfort of my own chair. It is my Jolvolution.