The Disappearance of Men
Kay S. Hymowitz, in a recent article in the City Journal and the Wall Street Journal suggests there’s a new stage men go through in growing up. This stage is after adolescence and before marriage and inflicts men between the ages of 20 and 40. It’s a stage earmarked by many hours of video games and movies. Fewer are getting married. But that’s not how it used to be. Witness the rise of what she calls the “man-child.” Contrast her two scenarios:
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 twenty-first-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. They come from everywhere: California, Tokyo, Alaska, Australia. Wife? Kids? House? Are you kidding?
She goes on to describe cultural factors that encourage men to not grow up: Slacker movies with the likes of Adam Sandler, men’s magazine like Maxim that encourage men to avoid responsibility, entire TV networks devoted to the perpetual man-child ( Comedy Central, Cartoon Network and Spike TV), and video games (18-34-year-olds spend more time a day playing video games than 12-17-year-olds: 2 hours and 43 minutes a day!), websites that cater to immaturity in men (she lists several sites. I’ll refrain.).
Her take on cohabitation agrees with the kind of things you will read this blog (see here for other blogs on cohabitation). Look what she writes on this topic:
For the problem with child-men is that they’re not very promising husbands and fathers. They suffer from a proverbial “fear of commitment,” another way of saying that they can’t stand to think of themselves as permanently attached to one woman. Sure, they have girlfriends; many are even willing to move in with them. But cohabiting can be just another Peter Pan delaying tactic. Women tend to see cohabiting as a potential path to marriage; men view it as another place to hang out or, as Barbara Dafoe Whitehead observes in Why There Are No Good Men Left, a way to “get the benefits of a wife without shouldering the reciprocal obligations of a husband.”
She’s got that right. This cohabiting thing is hurting both young women and young men. Women need security and cohabitation is anything but. They have NO SAY in these young men they are living with, because, really, all they are is roommates. It gets pretty old picking up after a guy that won’t lift his finger to help, and soon, instead of this sweet gal, she’s become nasty. It’s enough to make you psychotic after awhile. It hurts young men, because they can have unlimited sex and there is NO PRICE TO PAY. It’s all good. He doesn’t have to grow up and they can party-hardy and keep the fun going. Marriage? That’d take our fun away.
And so cohabitation encourages his immaturity and her insecurity. Marriage, instead, encourages men to “man-up” and be responsible and provides a safe place where women can feel secure and not have to worry about the future. Cohabitation brings out the worst in both genders while marriage brings out the best.
Surprisingly, she doesn’t mention (Maybe she mentions it in her book, Manning Up) another social factor in the dumbing down of men: pornography. That stuff just rots your soul and stunts your growth and keeps you from being able to lift your head and look women in the eye. It also makes the woman in your life feel like crap and gives her a reason NOT to respect you. Hey, this isn’t the way to go.
But enough on this sad subject.
Here’s a word on great single men: Some of our greatest men never married: Jesus and the apostle Paul to name a few. If you are a single guy I hope you have more to live for than beer and busts and entertaining yourself and looking for constant diversions. God created you to use your gifts to be a blessing to others. While you are single, for however long, may these times find you busy developing your talents and finding ways to invest them for the good of others. Worshiping your navel won’t get you far.
If you are a married guy and chaffing at the notion of growing up (I envision some fathers playing video games more than their middle school sons! AHHHH!), maybe it’s like, you know, time to put childish things away. Stop drinking beer like it’s water, burn the X-rated DVD’s, treat your wife as your wife instead of a sex object, don’t just talk to her when you want sex (PLEASE!), and clean up after your frickin’ self, fold the laundry without being asked. Quit spending every dime and build up your savings and get rid of your debt and pay cash. In short, become the kind of person your wife could actually respect! Imagine that! Don’t complain to me about your wife nagging you if you are living the life of a sloth.
You’d be amazed how your wife’s attitude will change toward you if you actually lived like an adult.
You’d be amazed.