The idea for BAS arose in 2003 when friends asked me join them on a girls’ night out. I didn’t want to go and said as much that simply. Unrelenting (peer group) pressure followed and I found myself having to constantly expand on my reason to make it more acceptable, and more elaborate. I was told I was being anti-social and this apparently was undesirable, like a contagious disease. You’re meant to feel badly about yourself when you’re labelled anti-social, and motivated to correct the fatal flaw. So reluctantly, I went. It was a cold, wet and windy night and all I could think about was how nice it would be to be at home, snug, with a good movie, Steve, pizza, red wine and a block or two of Cadburys. Not surprisingly, and contrary to my friends’ assurances, I had a miserable time out, and it left me thinking that in future I would have to lie myself out of these situations. I shouldn’t have to. It should be OK to choose to stay home.
It was a while longer before I started writing BAS (2007) and another five years before it came to life in print and e-book. It has been available less than two weeks but already I’m receiving emails from readers who identify with Mace Evans, the main protagonist, and her preference for staying home and being anti-social, especially in winter. It’s also interesting that those readers have felt like there is something wrong with them because they don’t want to be sociable. They’ve been searching for ways to ‘cure’ themselves and Mace has offered comfort and acceptance.
If staying home alone makes you happy, you shouldn’t feel compelled by society, friends and family, and the branding of ‘anti-social’, to attend social events that will only leave you stressed and mourning the loss of valuable minutes you can’t recover and spend more wisely, like Mace. Life is too short to live it as someone else wants you to live it. As Oscar Wilde (my idol, and Mace's life coach and mentor) says, “Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live. It is asking others to live as one wishes to live.”
In response to a social invitation, one should be able to say, “I’m anti-social" and that should be conclusive of the matter with no debate or peer group pressure even considered. And one should say it with pride and satisfaction :)