“It’s not a _____, it’s a lifestyle.” From high school lacrosse to electronic music to investment banking, this is a phrase Bros have a strange relationship with. Some love it unconditionally--as if declaring their primary activity or interest as something greater than itself gives that person unquestioned credibility in the space. Irrefutable proof that they truly “go hard” in the activity. That they live and breathe that shit, because they’ve put themselves in a position where they’ve got no other choice but to. For a culture that is obsessed with the binge and outdoing everything else (if we’re all about getting noticed, the only way to do that is to be grander than the person next to you), this mentality seems like a very natural fit.
Yet, there’s another contingent of males that doesn’t necessarily share that same opinion. Maybe these are the ones who have played these sports, listened to their fair share of trap, and worked their ass off at their jobs--yet still don’t necessarily agree with the idea that the subject at hand merits such intensity. And more importantly, think it’s disingenuous and plain inaccurate to go out there and shout such statements to the world. That saying these things is a compromise of that sport or activity itself, and by having lackluster PR associated with the sport, the credibility and overall brand power is somehow lessened. Reflecting an image that in the long run, may be a bit harmful*
*Think about that kid in your frat who spends every waking moment telling everyone else how hard you guys go, and how every single weekend shit gets way out of hand. He’s a good ambassador at times, but you know he’s building a mansion for which he can’t pay the mortgage. Yea you guys party, but not to the level he’s telling everyone.
Given that this is a truly pressing issue, a guide has been established below to determine the acceptability level of declaring whatever you do “a lifestyle,” and whether or not you are a tool by deeming it as such. Things that were weighed heavily in this guide include:
“Lifestyle”: For purposes this article and being considered a tool, lifestyle is defined as commitments or obligations that are not directly tied to the sport or activity itself, but are required in order for success and/or full understanding to be attained.
- Ex: Spending time at coffee shops would not qualify as a necessary “lifestyle” obligation for a writer. Unless the writer was writing a story ABOUT a coffee shop, in which case that would be necessary to full realization of the work.
“Tool”: The whole purpose of calling someone a tool is that they are a tool. The lack of definition is important for the insult-giver, because like many insults, this one are best dished out when the justification can’t be consulted in a book or some shit--as this in itself is a toolish action.
We will follow similar protocols here. If it smells toolish, it probably is toolish.
Pre-existing Stereotypes: I.e, that Lacrosse players primarily come from wealthy areas in the mid-atlantic and northeast, and spend time doing expensive private school shit like “summering” in the Hamptons or wearing clothes with one too many buttons unbuttoned. Although people who may do this have a much higher probability of also playing lacrosse, this is more a product of being raised in a wealthy town than it is playing a sport. Also, given that stereotypes are stereotypes because they can’t be stated as universal fact (as the sport expands lacrosse players are/increasingly will come from normal places), they will only be incorporated if they are deemed an essential component of the activity's lifestyle itself. (I.e., particularly given Madonna’s antics at Ultra last year, we couldn’t talk about the concept of Music Festivals without also talking about mad drugs.)
With all this in mind:
High School Sports: For most high school sports, there’s no denying the enormity of particular off the field components--from letterman jackets and sweats, to pasta parties, to bonding with the team by getting the star underclassmen player drunk for the first time, there’s a lot that goes into the “experience” that doesn’t necessarily have to do with on the field shit.
That said, there is of course a huge tendency to overdo things. Calling your high school sport a “lifestyle” indicates everyone who doesn’t play your sport can’t relate at all to what you’re going through. At most high schools, this is simply not true--yea your “two a days” may have a bunch of drills no one’s ever done before, but at the end of the day, it’s not amazingly different than what the wrestlers are doing when they're in season.
Are You a Tool?: Probably. Exceptions include small-town America high school football, schools like Lebron's High School that make you travel to other countries, and any sport that requires you make weight.
Electronic Music: We’re giving electronic music its own category given the flood of Ultra Music Festival statuses/tweets, many of which likened EDM to a “lifestyle.” Some people, like the always opinionated Joel Zimmerman, would likely include the act of vomiting in his reaction to that statement. Yet despite the hordes of neon-clad jabronis telling the world how life-changing of an experience they just had, there is a large degree of truth to the statement considering that "EDM," at least conceptually, can very well be constituted as a "lifestyle." Music is often altered by environmental cues--i.e, listening to a song while doing your homework is not the same as listening to that same song while popping bottles at da club, which is also not the same as attending these sorts of music festivals. More importantly, the “festival experience,” particularly in recent years, seems increasingly necessary to understanding electronic music as a whole--where it's at, and where it's going. Meaning you need to do things other than listening to actual music (i.e., go to certain places) to fully "appreciate" what its about.
Are You a Tool?: Unfortunately, No
College Sports: The demands of these sports (particularly prestigious D-1 football and basketball programs) are near-professional, they require heavy travel, you are sometimes given tutors to do your work for you, and often insists that when you walk into a college party, you say no more than three words but somehow leave with the hottest girl there.
Your social status is tremendously elevated, though this is at the expense of being able to have a “traditional" college experience. And so long as you continue being on the team, you have no real choice on the matter.
Are You a Tool?: No.
Your Job: The spectrum is overwhelmingly large here--some jobs require extensive travel, whereas others require that you’re holed up in a cubicle for the majority of your time per week. Others require that you stare at a screen for much more than you should, likely giving you a premature decline in vision (what's good!). SOME even require that you are naturally good looking, and make people of the opposite sex sexually stimulated by your mere presence.
All these things in mind, your job--the thing everyone does to earn money and eat food--and the thing some people do (or at least attempt to do) to gain some sort of life fulfillment, is a lifestyle in itself. In the sense that the requirements of your job and the lifestyle you choose to lead are mutually inclusive. I.e., you may choose a job BASED on the lifestyle you’d like to lead (if you want a lot of money and enjoy overpriced sushi in midtown manhattan, you will gravitate towards finance), just as the benefits (or lack thereof) of your job may force you to gravitate towards a particular lifestyle. (I.e., if you work at a job where you get paid like shit/are unemployed, you may gravitate towards a lifestyle predicated on eating pizza rolls and rarely doing your laundry.)
Point being, saying your job is a lifestyle is one step below saying that the life you are leading is a lifestyle.
Are You a Tool?: Yes. A big one.
This article is a blog post, but is by no means remotely close to a lifestyle. And to at least a decent chunk of you, I am a tool.