TDG-Close.jpg

Hi.

We're just like you.  We connected through an online dating service--OK Cupid, to be exact.  Our first date was at a fun Seattle tapas-and-sangria bar.  We fell in love.  We are engaged to be married.  We know that you, too, can find love.  Let us help you.

Are You Dating a Man or a Man-Child?

It had to happen.  There are no more men or women left on the Earth.  At least not in America. As a man writing this piece, I will stick to one side of the argument and proclaim the death of the adult male; it's safer, after all, to criticize one's own ilk.  Story:  this very morning, while grocery shopping, I saw a person wearing a long-sleeved surfer's shirt covered with goofy logos.  Shoes:  torn-up Van's.  A 23 year-old guy?  No,  just look at his hang-dog jowls, fat pouches drooping from either side of his mouth, and that combed-over, straw-dry, fake blonde hair.  Mid-fifties.  Male.  But a man?

Children:  They're Everywhere

I have a series of colorful Charlie Brown shirts with horizontal stripes.  My child son calls them "childish" and girlfriend calls them "women repellent."  Fair enough.  I have a vintage Alva skateboard that I sheepishly pull out from time to time and take down the block.

Men watch Girls.  NFL slathers its players and fields every September with pink for breast cancer awareness.  Men say, "Seriously?" as if they were 8 year-old girls.  Men watch bro-medies and Judd Apatow movies and Adam Sandler movies and cartoons and porn, which is itself cartoon-sex.

A.O. Scott in The New York Times piece The Death of Adulthood in American Culture, says:

I will admit to feeling a twinge of disapproval when I see one of my peers clutching a volume of “Harry Potter” or “The Hunger Games.” I’m not necessarily proud of this reaction. As cultural critique, it belongs in the same category as the sneer I can’t quite suppress when I see guys my age (pushing 50) riding skateboards or wearing shorts and flip-flops, or the reflexive arching of my eyebrows when I notice that a woman at the office has plastic butterfly barrettes in her hair.

Inseparable?

Yet childishness has become so engrained in American male culture that it is often not easy to identify.  It's easy to throw darts at anime-watching men.  But what about staples of modern life such as men wearing shorts?