Bar owners, citizens, and the NYPD are battening down New York’s hatches in advance of SantaCon this weekend. For years now, pasty, overweight revelers have taken over our nation's cities like some drunken alien race on a predetermined ill-fated December Saturday. For years now, commuters and business owners have cursed the rampaging hordes of Chris Kringles. For as much as we hate SantaCon here in New York, we have grown to love the post-SantaCon ritual of reading take downs of the tradition courtesy of Gawker, Gothamist, and the rest of our favorite purveyors of Internet snark. Though it is important to criticize SantaCon as the debaucherous, lecherous shit show that it is, the event deserves equal criticism because it is so damn lame.
Massive costumed theme gatherings have become commonplace in the age of social media. Getting drunk in costume isn't just for Halloween and St. Patty's Day anymore. One man can don the guise of a zombie, a Santa Claus, or a pirate, and get drunk with a crowd of people dressed just like him every month of the year. These costumed crawls are a problem and not just for the police department, parking attendants, and commuters. They're a problem for culture.
It's important for man to have hobbies and interests outside of the monotony of their nine-to-five. Most of us measure our days by how many keystrokes we’ve pecked out on our laptops, and how many days closer we are to burning our eyes out due to prolonged exposure to glowing screens. We all need some kind of release after hours on end of building spreadsheets and PowerPoints. We crave any kind of catharsis. It can be woodworking or boating or reading, or really, anything at all. Even sports, as maligned as it is among intellectuals, can fill that void. There is a beauty to a 3-4 defense and a pleasure to understanding what what makes a shutdown corner.
Santacon and other dress-up-as-something-and-get-drunk events are an easy short cut. They are a place for men without hobbies, without interests, and without personality to feel different for a day. When you get together with the guys to fish or grill or paint, you're an individual. You have opinions, flaws, and bad fashion sense; you have to find a way to be comfortable with that. When you go to Santacon, you're just another anonymous asshole in red sweatpants and a fake beard. You get to be different, just like everybody else. No matter how drunk, how loud, how obnoxious you get, you’ll still be a face in the crowd, just like you are to the HR department at work.
No one is telling you not to get blackout drunk and puke. Who hasn't woken up in the middle of a field, in the middle of a crowded bus station, or in the middle of Newark after a night of drunken revelry? If you haven't, you should; just have a friend hold your wallet. But, if you are going to howl at the moon, don't do it underneath a socially sanctioned Little Red Riding Hood disguise. Do it in a place you love with people you love after doing something you love. The next morning, pull yourself together, grab a bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich and take up whittling or paintball or birdwatching. Just fucking do something besides putting on a costume because the one you wear every other day isn’t doing the trick.
Happy Holidays. Merry Christmas. I'd wish you a shitty Santacon as well, but that’s understood.