The Downsides Of YOLO

by Melanie Owens

You only live once. This is a term used to justify behavior that a 5 year old knows is wrong and stupid. The only time it comes up is in the midst of doing actions you know you will not be re-hashing to your parents. No one ever says YOLO while doing responsible tasks, such as going to the dentist or commuting to work. “Getting my teeth cleaned because YOLO.”

Nope. It doesn’t work like that.

You know who used this phrase? Jim Jones in Jonestown. For anyone who was hesitant or on the fence about drinking the kool-aid, he said: “My People’s Temple, you only live once, so let’s all toast to YOLO.” And upon that, 909 people had only lived once.

The New York Lottery is currently using the slogan, “Hey, you never know,” because the odds are that you’re smart enough to know the chances of you winning are about as good as Brittney Spears making a solid musical comeback. So they hope you'll bank your money on, “Hey, you never know.” It is only a matter of time until New York Lotto implements YOLO. As in, you only live once, and you’re going to spend your money anyways, so why not throw it away on lotto tickets?

Next time you see a homeless person scratching a lotto ticket, let that serve as a reminder that they “never knew” and subsequently bought a ticket because, “Hey, you only live once.”

Here’s a common YOLO moment. You’re at the bar talking to a guy, and it reaches that 4th quarter moment where the guy tests your commitment level by saying something like, “So where do you live?” Depending on your response, it’s followed up with some variation of, “We gonna get out of here?” Here is where you should throw in the towel and walk off the court. Instead your friend overhears and says, “You only live once Mel, YOLO.”

Next thing you know, you wake up to a v-neck on your bedroom floor that doesn’t belong to you, and you are trying to small talk about dub-step while he’s putting it back on.

You go to brunch with the girls in the AM, and in-between taking Instagram pics of your eggs benedict and mimosas, you ask the question, “Should I text him, I’m not sure he’s into me.” To which your friends reply, “Mel, just play hard to get. Don’t text.” Play hard to get? I’m getting mixed signals girls; last night you told me to go home with him within 4 hours of meeting him because YOLO – I don’t think that screams “hard to get”!

Another instance of YOLO usage that occurs is when you’re being financially slutty. This is that glorious time when you spend like Warren Buffet is your long lost daddy, who just opened up your hush-money trust on your 25th birthday. For example, on your way out to the Hamptons, you are complaining as to how broke you are. Yet, upon arrival, you have a $15 drink in hand, and within minutes you decide to upgrade to an ocean view room and order a burger with avocado for $3 extra – YOLO.

You then proceed to go to a boutique and get a new going out dress because you’re in your prime, so of course you need to look your best. These are the hey-day pictures you will be sharing with your kids, that "one crazy weekend when you were broke and went to the Hamptons on a whim, with no plans or place to stay, and took life as it came at you." YOLO. So you buy the dress.

I have to go on payment plan just to go to Coachella, but not going isn’t an option when you only live once.

You only live once is used to get people in your corner because who can argue with stupid? So people will just agree and commit to taking shots to YOLO.

Let me tell you something: the same person who is telling you YOLO is the same person who says, “Do it for the story.” They say this because they know in the morning that you’re going to wake up with anxiety over the degree of ridiculousness that your actions caused.

The only way this story could be useful is if, one day, you get a call from your 24 year-old daughter in tears over what she did the night before, and you can use said story to put her at ease because, by comparison, whatever she did wasn’t nearly as bad (this would probably be a good opportunity to send her some of your hey-day pics in that killer dress).

I used to like this phrase. That is until everyone and their mother started abbreviating it and using it in status updates. For example, the perennial Frat-bro posting a Friday morning status: “We may be hung-over at work from killin it last night, but YOLO.” Or your hippie friend who is traveling the world taking pictures of oceans, so blue that you only thought they only existed on your "Azul” Windows desktop background. They are usually captioned with “Backpacking through Monte Carlo...YOLO.”

Yeah, obviously if I could have a daddy sponsored back-packing trip, I’d be YOLO-ing the fuck out of Europe. But the closest that I’m getting to that water is this Azul background I have within the confines of my cube.

Since Facebook is keeping things PG by not composing a “dislike” button, I have decided to create a fake profile with the name “Douchbags.” So whenever someone makes a status update that involves YOLO, I can like it, and it will read “Douchbags like this” underneath their status. On a side note, I can also apply this profile to people who check into the gym on Facebook: “Josh is at Equinox crushing it.” Douchbags like this.

Anyone who posts lyrics to reflect their mood will get a like from a fake profile that goes by the name of "No one." Oh, so you posted the status "What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger." Well, guess what? “No One likes this.”

There is a reason “Don’t Stop Believing” only comes on after 1 a.m. at the bar: because everyone is drunk enough to join in. The same logic can be applied to YOLO: it is only said in moments permitted by a drunken haze; you’re too drunk to make a mom-approved choice, so you chalk it up to only living once and making a great story.

What I’m saying is that YOLO acts as a catalyst to poor decision making. But at the end of the day, I’ll drink to on a Tuesday night in the summer based upon one sole fact: “You only live once, so let’s do the damn thing."

Douchbags like this.

Melanie Owens | Elite.