Instagram-fuelled jealousy on NYE has Karim Rahman thinking. When did it become fabulous to document your fabulousity? A little bit of mystery goes a long way.
Cairo is fabulous. Not in the traditional sense of the word (the state of cleanliness of the streets alone is anything but), but in the sense that it is an active encourager of the fabulous life style. There are literally bars and clubs around every corner, up-and-coming party organisers behind every other event and enough Facebook drama to power a country (should cunt-y statuses ever be harnessed to provide fuel energy). In fact, some people might think that Cairo is trying a bit too hard to be the perfect vision of glitz and glamour; which is why we ended up having Gouna/Sahel/Sahl Hasheesh. We Cairenes are a resourceful bunch, and we will fight for our right to party (and arrest puppets).
It's been almost four months now that I've been talking the talk about leading the perfectly glamorous social/love life in Cairo, but I haven't exactly been walking the walk. Between my meager attempts at dates, my on-again-off-again stints with Big and the only party that I frequent being the pity party in my bed with chocolate chip muffins, I am anything but the perfect vision of glitz and glamour. However, for people so obsessed with the notion and concept of fabulousity, we Cairenes are surprisingly ill-versed when it comes to what actually constitutes as fabulous.
In my most recent pity party on NYE, I took some time off from stuffing my face with muffins to go through my Instagram feed and inject myself with a lethal dose of jealousy. Flicking through photos of Gatsby themed parties, Tamarai's “swan song" and Gouna shenanigans, one particular group of friends caught my eye. While we aren't really close, I am still slightly fond of them and enjoy shaking my head at the myriad of party adventures they seem to get themselves into every other week. When I say every other week, I actually mean every week. There hasn't been a party they didn't go to, a cocktail they haven't tried or a drug they haven't experimented with. With hashtags ranging from #drunkenresolutions to #wastedyouth, they document their every fabulous and glamorous moment on every social media platform imaginable. For NYE, they decide to steal a yacht and dabble in LSD, all under the watchful eyes of Instagram of course. I saw these pictures and immediately decided to switch my phone off. Nothing is more fabulous than a good night's sleep.
Here's the thing, though: when did it become fabulous to have your life plastered everywhere for everyone to see – and I mean of your own accord and not because paparazzi are following you around? It's not like the things they do are tame; they're pretty hardcore. Already quite the infamous crowd, I don't think posting pictures of their occasional and doubtfully-recreational drug use would really help when it comes to calming down the fiery tongues of the gossip surrounding them. Don't get me wrong, I envy their reckless, inhibition-free outlook on life and I am definitely jealous of their lifestyle. But, what could seem glamorous on the outside may not be as such on the inside. How do they fund these crazy adventures? Why steal a yacht? How do they manage to stay up that late (I've become an old lady when it comes to my sleeping patterns)? Why LSD? These are certainly questions for the after-life.
More importantly though, when did it become fabulous to do drugs again? I'm aware of the ambiguous glamour surrounding Kurt Cobain and the infamous era of drug use in the 70s but…we're no longer in the 70s. When did having a steady solid career, a well-adjusted social life and a stable college experience become boring? I don't see Anna Wintour snorting coke lines at every fashion show. Granted, I don’t have a steady solid career, a well-adjusted social life and a stable college experience and, while I sit down and type what may seem like an article intent on bashing them (it's really not), they're out living their lives and partying it up.
Here is where the undiluted concept of fabulousness comes into play: if you're showing it off, then you're trying too hard. Just like our city, the more extravagant and flagrant your show of how "glamorous" your life is, the sadder and infinitely less interesting it will actually look. It's inversely proportional (I'm ready for my honorary degree in Science, MIT). In my seasoned yet not-very-expert opinion (scratch that, I'm a fab bitch), the more ambiguous and mysterious your life is, the more fabulous it seems. People don't want to know what new designer drug you took at that party, they just need to know you went to that party. The rest of the evening will be fabricated in the dark corners of their own minds, unbidden by you or your Instagram posts. When people don't know what you're up to, you are instantly ten times more fabulous than you actually are.
In an attempt to neutralise some of my jealousy and inject some fabulousity (that word is so going to happen) into my life, I went out for sushi with G and friends. Yes, sushi is 2010's glamorous and yes, I'm not enjoying the "G effect" or LSD, but that's fine. People can have their NYE selfies and their CairoZoom party pictures. I'll just settle for instagramming some fabulous outfit choices and letting people assume where I'm going. I'll settle for the ambiguity of fabulousness. Or I can settle for watching my best friend scarf down 90 pieces of raw fish, laughing my ass off and drinking wine straight from the bottle in the middle of the streets of Zamalek.
That works too.