Throughout my life, I have gone nearly everywhere by myself – or with just one other person. I prefer it that way. Maybe it’s because I come from a very small family and am not used to dealing with a group of people. Or maybe it’s because my mother used to say “She who travels fastest, travels alone.” when she didn’t want me tagging along.
Lately things are much different than they were not too long ago. I frequently see crowds of people doing things together when one or two people would suffice. This crowding trend has gotten to the point of being absurd.
For instance, there is a new phenomenon making the news. It’s called “crowd birthing” – when multitudes of friends and family are allowed into the delivery room to visit and document the experience on social media. I just can’t imagine a delivery room with standing room only, having all those people staring at you while you try to master each contraction. Many years ago, when I was having natural childbirth, my husband sat in a chair next to my bed watching me in labor. I finally asked him to leave the room because it didn’t make sense having him helplessly watch me in pain — there was nothing he could do to help. Some things are best done solo and labor is definitely one of them.
“Crowding” may be new to delivery rooms, but the concept of groups gathering together started long ago. I first noticed it at the grocery when seeing Indian families go shopping together. It seemed strange to me, but I discovered shopping is considered a family event in India, as well as in other countries. I see it as a solitary activity, however, my husband and I usually go shopping together because he enjoys shopping. It would drive me crazy to have anyone else shop with me though.
Another place “crowding” occurs is bridal shops. It is common on the television show “Say Yes To The Dress” to have numerous friends and family accompany a bride to help find her perfect wedding gown. Their comments are endless and it is frustrating and confusing for the bride. The often leave the bridal salon in tears without a gown because of all the negative comments. When I was looking for my wedding gown, I went by myself, took a photo of the dress I wanted from a bridal magazine with me, tried on that dress and that was it. There was no fanfare and no chatter from the peanut gallery.
As if this isn’t enough, for people who can’t afford to pay for their wedding there is “crowd funding.” The idea is to let people know they can go to a website such as www.gofundme.com and donate money to defray the couple’s wedding expenses. I say if you can’t afford to pay for your wedding, wait until you can pay for it – or elope.
The Go Fund Me craze also extends to people who can’t afford medical expenses, are having a hard time making ends meet, have lost a family member or any other reason someone wants more money. While some cases are legitimate, it seems most have gone too far with this online panhandling.
Recently at my beauty salon I noticed a group of friends attending a woman’s hair appointment with her. I can’t imagine taking an entourage to a hair appointment. I am more than content to be by myself!
A big part of high school was dating and going to the prom with someone special. Today guys and gals often go on group dates. It’s called “pack dating” where no one-on-one dating exists. The teens go out to dinner, attend movies, concerts and dances in groups. That was unheard of when I was in high school. I know some young people, now in their twenties, who went on pack dates in high school and still haven’t had a real one-on-one date. It doesn’t do much for meaningful relationships, but it does wonders for birth control.
And let’s not forget flash mobs – when a large group of people appear suddenly in a public place, such as a mall, and entertain before making their exit. It is better to watch that on YouTube than in person — you can turn it off when you want to.
Finally, for people like me who don’t have a lot of friends, there is Crowds for Rent (www.crowdsforrent.com) which, for a fee, provides a crowd for your event. It sounds like the same concept as an escort service, except with a crowd as your date. There may be events that call for that, but as for me, I think I’ll pass!