One of the clubs in the city occasionally holds events they call ‘Regression Sessions’, I forget the place’s name. This wasn’t a Regression Session.

I was perusing my wardrobe for a fresh shirt, having just cooked chicken and soiling the one I was wearing, which was now spattered with spots of hot oil and hoisin sauce. Pressed against the left wall is a small collection of what I like to call ‘going out shirts’ – those that have been spared the oils and various stains that besmirch most others, and which are considered just that little bit more dressy, in virtue of their comparative cleanliness and buttons. I settled on a blue shirt with vertical black stripes that evoke a sort of Charlie Sheen circa Two and a Half Man look. The shirt is tissue-thin and left a minimal, almost weightless impression on my shoulders. It had the weight and flow of one of the pyjamas the upper-classes frequently don in Victorian novels and old-time ghost stories. I felt the abject comfort of Ebenezer Scrooge at bedtime (pre-haunting), which rendered this the perfect ‘going out shirt’.

My housemate, my partner in pre-drinks, wasn’t due home for at least an hour and we’d be off soon after, leaving me only a small window of opportunity in which to stifle my nerves before taking an Uber to a flat full of people I’d never met, with whom we’d be seshing.

I thrive under conditions of predictability and often go to pieces in anticipation of meeting new people en masse, scenarios which often imply unknown environments and indeterminate personalities which, once learned, are fleeting in the face of the transfiguring effects of Tequila.

‘Anarchy is what States Make of it’, by Alexander Wendt, is an influential commentary of how countries interact in a geopolitical system of anarchy. The article goes against the grain of traditional International Relations theory in positing that the anarchical essence of the international arena needn’t precipitate aggressive behaviour, as each state competes against others for security and influence. Wendt paints a more optimistic portrait of a system in which states can transcend a ‘self-help’, static identity and cooperate in the pursuit of collective interests. In short, Wendt contends that anarchy is less inherent in the system as is often contended, that unpredictability is a corollary of state perception, and can thus be overcome.

Much of International Relations theory concerns itself with the implications of human nature on the conduct of nations, and having spent very little time reading psychology I’ve often sought to invert and apply these theories of state behaviour to my personal relationships and conduct. Much like the professional International Relations theorist, my intent has been to dampen the implications of unpredictability, to foresee the rough course of interactions and reduce anarchy.

That anarchy was fast approaching, which crystallised an anxiety as I buttoned-up my shirt and slicked a pea of pomade through my unmanageable quiff. “Anarchy is what States Make of it”, I recalled, before reaching to the top of a bookless book shelf to retrieve an almost empty bottle of Southern Comfort. I grasped and pulled at the bottle and it inched towards the shelf’s edge, raining a torrent of grey dust onto my face. The bottle was dusty too. As busy as I was throughout the past weeks, I hadn’t yet ‘gone out’, and the bottle’s presence was largely decorative, sitting next to a cactus shaped lamp and a half-empty bottle of Jack Daniels.

I threw on Rick and Morty and lay on the bed, sipping at the bottle while sat in a purgatory as I waited for my housemate. I was both ready to leave and completely unprepared, and rather reluctant. Going out is rarely something I’ve ever enjoyed, I’m much more of a bar fly, a pub….slug? A little pre-sedation has always been required, as such.

One of the clubs in the city occasionally holds events they call ‘Regression Sessions’, I forget the place’s name. This wasn’t a Regression Session, but it also was.

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