There’s no denying that we live in an extremely youth orientated culture; we’re saturated with it, from an early age we learn that to be young and a is best, but also that Men who attempt to hold onto their youth for too long end up being ridiculed.
I suppose it has a lot to do with marketing; every corporation wants to hit the lucrative 18-to-35-year-old straight white male demographic, so we get aggressively pandered to. After a while I guess you can get used to that kind of treatment. To the point where it often seems to me that men aren’t even supposed to conceive of a time when we might not be as young as we are now. One minute we’re being encouraged to act like eternal teenagers. the next it’s drop that Xbox controller, man child, and find a wife. (A shaming tactic beloved of social conservatives)
I don’t want this peace to be misconstrued as an attack on male (or female) self-indulgence; I often find that the most staunch critics of so called “infantalisation” seem to be the most self-seriously smug people on the planet, who will often prefix their little rants against people having the wrong kind of fun with the usual “Don’t get me wrong, I’m a fun person, all my friends say so, but you people sicken me.” No, I dearly do not want to come off sounding like one of them.
It was commonly thought at one time that men would need to retain some of their youthful energy and imagination in order for them to cope with the stress of living and working in the modern world. While women… well, youthful exuberance isn’t going to be of much help with raising children and keeping a neat and tidy house now is it?
This also leads into that wretched stereotype that Noah illustrated in his piece about men being unrepentant slobs and it being women’s responsibility to civilise them and rein in their youthful excesses. In that scenario, women have maturity forced on them.
Yes it sucks, but things have gotten better now, or they are getting better precisely because women have won the right to have more freedom and with that comes more fun, and when I look at the dire state of the world at the moment I think we could all be having a lot more of it.
Yet it bothers me, and while I’m happy that society no longer expects a man to be settled by the time they’re 25 and that marriage and children are no longer the benchmarks for maturity (no seriously, thanks for that feminism) although if that’s what you want, then more power to you.
I guess what I’m trying to say in my roundabout way is I’m looking for a middle ground between wanting to stay young in spirit without making a fool out of myself, is that even possible?