Where have all the men gone? Today, all I see are men who refuse to grow up. I hear of husbands in their mid-30s playing the same video games that 12-year-old boys obsess over, boyfriends who are afraid to commit to marriage for fear of ‘loosing it all,’ and fathers who bawl out aggressive fights with umpires and coaches at their 5-year-old son’s tee-balls games. Why are men in today’s society reluctant to leave adolescence and man up?
For one, they are not defined as boys and they are definitely not men, so they are simply guys.
They are frustrated and confused about what maturity really is and whether they can or want to achieve it. They refuse to leave the nest for fear of missing out of mother’s home-cooked meals and already washed and folded laundry. These guys can party into all hours of the night and sleep the day away, until they have to ‘bulk up’ at the gym of course. These guys have completely changed society and the urgency reaching adulthood among males.
According to Michael Kimmel, author of “Guyland,” the traditional indicators of manhood such as leaving home, getting an education, starting a family and starting work, have moved to downfield as the passage from adolescence to adulthood has evolved. For instance, in 1960, almost 70 percent of men had reached these milestones by the age of 30; today, less than a third of males can say the same.
From the outside, pre-adult men often seem like children, filling their leisure time with video games, Adam Sandler movies, indie bands, beer pong, and the company of inebriated women. But on the inside these men are following no clear life script, these men don’t know what is expected of them either as men or as adults. In the past, dating in the early adult years was largely a means to an end—marriage and fatherhood. No more. Today dating can mean a decade or more of miscues, bad breakups, and Match.com dead ends.
These guys are already deep in their 20s or even 30s and are still living at home. At that age their parents would have already been married with children, homeowners and held a steady job. The concept of being single has completely changed from being alone, to being free. A common query among most women is will these men ever grow up? Which is implying that today’s men look and are expected to be grown-ups but continue to act and think like teenagers.
Young people are delaying marriage. They leave home around 17-18 and getting married a decade later. What is happening within that decade? Video games, sports obsession, binge drinking. After graduation they drift from one dead end job to another, and often move back home with mom and dad, known as the boomerang generation.
Maybe this rupture in society is not completely the male’s fault. Maybe this has a lot more to do with the women then it does with the change in men. According to Kay Hymowitz, from her new book “Manning Up: How the Rise of Women Has Turned Men Into Boys,” men aren’t sure, given a lot of the cultural messages, how they’re supposed to express their masculinity. Some of the men have found that if they open the door for a woman they get a dirty look. What I want to know is, who are these women and is chivalry dead?