Another day another zeitgeist. Swearing off – nothing to do with profanity – the modern term for giving things up. As in – I have sworn off xyz….. And there is usually a reason. The planet obviously and various health benefits, real or imagined.
I had heard of dance off. It was in Grease (the film) (not the badly spelt country) in the 1970s. Long story precis: they danced and someone judged and sent bad dancers off the floor. So, the winner was the one who was not off at the end. Last standing so to speak. Not danced off. It was A dance off.
It was fun and competitive. There was dancing and lights, and well fun.
And now there is swear off. Swear off – well beer, wine, cigarettes, carbs, meat, dairy, caffeine, screen time, commuting, fashion, shopping. In fact on the modern dance floor of life what will we see. Not Danny (the hero) and Cha Cha di Grigorio (the best dancer at St Bernadette’s with the worst reputation) (in case you were wondering) waving any trophy. Just some tired, hungry, sober, badly dressed, unstimulated, individuals with no phones and probably no job. And no this isn’t a recruitment piece for Just Stop Oil trainees.
Why can’t it be called giving up? As in I am not doing ….. fill in the blank. Probably not as sexy as the swear off?
Now I am all for giving things up.
Well actually I’m not.
All the usual caveats about not making yourself ill or being mean to people or things apply. But why do we have to give it all up. That used to be when you joined a commune. And mostly there was alcohol, or something like it. The general state of Giving Up was when you let yourself go and stayed in bed and smoked and ate bacon sandwiches if there was bread. Not much fashion admittedly. And eventually you got on with life, went to work, the pub, a shop.
And then there was giving in. When you had given up something. Say sugar for lent, or chocolate. Or cigarettes (does anybody admit to that now). Or alcohol (mind you I can’t actually remember anyone giving up alcohol in the 80s). And you did it. The giving up. And then you gave in. And had that fag, bag of maltesers, easter egg on Palm Sunday, bottle of red. Whatever.
So what do swearers off do? When they feel weak and want to give in. Swear on? I have sworn off dairy and now I am swearing on. It maybe has a better ring to it than the slightly shabby confession of I said I was giving up sugar for 40 days in the winter but I am weak so I had some. Shorthand then. More of a snappy statement.
So this fossil is not in need of any snappy statement – when I am weak I freely admit it. Mostly. When I want to stop doing something (even for a short time) I will. And when the plan changes so be it. And having thought about it will always be on the look out for that dance off. Bring on the lights and the fun and the action. Never swear off that.