Oh, Boy

disney-walt-peter-pan-and-the-lost-boys-2803006 Kay Hymowitz had a scathing assessment of my male peers in Dallas Morning News, claiming that they’ve forgone adulthood to play video games:

“It’s 1965, and you’re a 26-year-old white guy. You have a factory job, or maybe you work for an insurance broker. Either way, you’re married, probably have been for a few years now; you met your wife in high school, where she was in your sister’s class. You’ve already got one kid, with another on the way. For now, you’re renting an apartment in your parents’ two-family house, but you’re saving up for a three-bedroom ranch house in the next town. Yup, you’re an adult!

Now meet the 21st-century you, also 26. You’ve finished college and work in a cubicle in a large Chicago financial-services firm. You live in an apartment with a few single guy friends. In your spare time, you play basketball with your buddies, download the latest indie songs from iTunes, have some fun with the Xbox 360, take a leisurely shower, massage some product into your hair and face – and then it’s off to bars and parties, where you meet, and often bed, girls of widely varied hues and sizes. Wife? Kids? House? Are you kidding?”

What about the ladies?

“It’s time to state what is now obvious to legions of frustrated young women: The limbo doesn’t bring out the best in young men.

With women, you could argue that adulthood is in fact emergent. Single women in their 20s and early 30s are joining an international New Girl Order, hyper-achieving in both school and an increasingly female-friendly workplace, while packing leisure hours with shopping, traveling and dining with friends. Single young males, or SYMs, by contrast, often seem to hang out in a playground of drinking, hooking up, playing Halo 3 and, in many cases, underachieving. With them, adulthood looks as though it’s receding.”


I don’t agree with this article, but I’m interested to hear what the masses of single Providence youngsters who read this site think about it.

Thoughts? Mine are after the jump…

As a single, 25-year-old woman with no kids, a job she absolutely loves, an occasionally hot sex life, and an advanced degree somewhere on the horizon, I have to say that the thought of being married to some dude I met in high school, pregnant with my second, and living next door to my in-laws is the stuff of nightmares.

The big problem with Hymowitz’s complaint, and I’m about to get all undergrad essay on you, is that male behavior doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Thanks to our shitty economy, buying a house is more difficult than it was 30 years ago, and that requisite college degree sends so many of us into debt. That’ll set us back from “settling down.” Plus, the scary f-word, feminism, has opened up a whole world of opportunities for women, heaven bless her. And yes, a really awesome career can be more appealing than marrying our high school sweethearts.

I’m happy to date a 20- or 30-something man who lives with his buddies, drinks beer on the playground, and yes, plays video games. Those activities don’t make a man a child. So long as he treats me with respect, comes through on promises, and refrains from chasing the tails of my best girl friends, I’m satisfied.

Sure, the mating rituals make me nervous, as I’ve mentioned before. My friends and I have jokingly referred to guy friends and ex-lovers as the Lost Boys. Will they man-up and commit to one woman? Time will tell, and I’ve seen it happen before.

In the meantime, I’ll gladly navigate the muddy waters of shifting adulthood and gender roles with a dude who’s up to the challenge.

2 thoughts on “Oh, Boy”

  1. Dude, what happened to Amuse my Bouche? I haven’t eaten since the last one. And I’m REALLLLY fucking hungry by now.

  2. Wow, she sounds just a tad bitter. At 32, I may be a bit old to be responding to this – but as someone just finishing up their undergrad degree, maybe not. I will admit that I often wonder why I don’t feel like an adult at my age, but I would agree with you that the things you mentioned don’t preclude adulthood – a healthy combination of responsibility and frivolity can make the world a better place (or at least make for tons of nostalgia-based capitalism). Seems like the ever-increasing desire for individuality and self-fulfillment has been leading people to make less conventional life choices and at less conventional times. I think it’s more that than some mass regression.

    IF women are becoming more driven (and the implication is more mature in the article) than men, it’s a natural progression coming from the fact that women are increasingly taking less patrimonial bullshit from the male establishment and in some cases still just realizing (and fighting to prove) that they can do anything we can do.

    For men AND women, it’s important to note that owning a house and having children are certainly not indicative of any sort of emotional maturity. The older I get, the more I realze how wrong my perceptions of people older than myself were.

    Incidentally, my fiancee spends more time playing video games than I do. Maybe it’s uncharitable, but I suspect a large part of Ms. Hymowitz’s perceptions come from looking in the wrong places and at the wrong types of men.

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