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Millennial life: a solitary pint and a walk in the park

Sally Rooney’s Normal People: suitably miserable

Every generation has its “social and cultural revolutions”, says Poppie Platt in The New Statesman. It was all about optimism in the sixties, rebellion in the seventies, excess in the eighties and hedonism in the nineties. But now? I think our current generation is defined by “boredom”. Struggling with student debt, eye-wateringly expensive housing and soaring inflation, young people simply cannot afford many of the “life-enriching experiences previous generations took for granted”. Saving up for a house deposit, we’re told, means “no foreign holidays, no avocado brunches, no Spotify or Netflix”. We have to bike to work rather than take the tube; watch Glastonbury on TV rather than be there in person. How miserable. Aren’t your twenties and thirties supposed to be fun?

But maybe our generation is just inherently a bit boring. Festivals now are as much about “wellness tents and yoga mornings” as they are late-night raves. Men on dating apps describe their “dream Sunday” as a walk in the park and then a roast in the pub with “one solitary pint of Peroni”. Meeting romantic partners away from Hinge, Tinder and so on is almost considered too risky – because how do we know they’re safe? This boring streak runs through our culture, too. The characters in Sally Rooney’s bestselling novels are all miserable and unlikable. The “clean girl aesthetic” – think “slicked back bun” and “beige or monochrome clothing” – is all over TikTok and Instagram. Maybe, my fellow millennials, this one’s on us. Maybe we’re just too dull.