Question: what do a teabag and sex have in common? (Hint: fifty shades of Earl Grey). Alright, another one: what is the connection between trust and a politician? A. nothing, B. zero, or C. They are here for us. And now comes the one-million-euro-question: what do fashion and the word 'lifestyle' have in common? Push the button when you think you know the answer to it...

Lifestyle and fashion

Why this connectedness? How is it possible that two matters linguistically became so intertwined? Who can solve this language riddle? I will make a sincere attempt. In all likelihood this connection exist because the association of the word style we have in material sense, that is to say what one wears or owns is an expression of who he or she is and represents a certain position in the world. The underlying thought is that the gathering of particular stuff will grant you identity and will make you become a person of substance. Hence the fact that everything one does to create a certain image, falls into the category called lifestyle . This could be that new jacket you wanted to buy for some time now. Or that car which has a form that suits your character. Or the interior of your house, whereby decoration virtually is the only factor in the decision of your purchases.

No stuff, but deeds

Now, these are all cases that represent the appearance of someone. Nowadays this is associated with the word 'lifestyle', although it doesn't have anything to do with the original meaning of the word. Lifestyle, or style of life, according to the Dikke van Dale is nothing but a 'way to live'. There is a crucial difference in thinking that possessing a combination of material things will provide you a unique identity and the idea that a style of life is determined by that what a person does.And that's what it's all about.

Keeping up appearances

The people in the malls are habitually (although this will be rigidly downplayed by themselves) obsessed by creating their image. Throughout their entire life they spend the majority of their time and money on maintenance of this ideal. Material things are, after all, the make-up for the soul.

There is a crucial difference in thinking that possessing a combination of material things will provide you a unique identity and the idea that a style of life is determined by that what a person does..

It's a nice feeling. A satisfaction of a need that is apparently highly valuated. A desire that needs continuous polishing. That besire is called status. In other words, it is the way other people see them, but also (and most importantly) how they see themselves. It is the foundation upon which meaning is attached to existence itself.

But all together: what does it matter if the word lifestyle in popular speech and on all website columns is being used to indicate material matters? What is this nit-picking good for? Because the word lifestyle in the prevailing usage is symptomatic for this generation: that appearance is the most important goal. And that's fucked up. Because lifestyle doesn't have anything to do with the choice if your new Chesterfield is going to be made of leather or maybe of polyetherfoam. Because lifestyle is the spectrum of deeds and not a variety of objects. It contains all choices that affect the way you arrange your time . Because this semantic illusion has to be dismantled. Lifestyle must become lifestyle again.

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