September 3, 2008

Welcome to Guyland, a Nation of Peter Pans

A friend Ben, this great guy who was once my housemate, sent me this really interesting Newsweek article about the overwhelming trend of young men delaying acceptance of traditional roles in favor of prolonging a testosterone-filled guyfest of singledom for as long as possible.

The article details how the "new normal" for 20-something guys involves a desperate quest to fend off adult life and the commitments of settling down.  Marriage and responsibility, now seen as a substantial loss, are rejected in favor of partying, womanizing, and boy-bonding.   

Why is it that males are so desperately trying to hold on to their adolescence?  As the article suggests, does it all come down to our generation's sense of entitlement?  Have guys been so groomed to want it all that they panic at the thought of settling down, making choices and sticking to them?  

All I can say is best of luck to the ladies...

A few highlights:
  • "... the traditional markers of manhood—leaving home, getting an education, finding a partner, starting work and becoming a father—have moved downfield as the passage from adolescence to adulthood has evolved from 'a transitional moment to a whole new stage of life.' In 1960, almost 70 percent of men had reached these milestones by the age of 30. Today, less than a third of males that age can say the same.
  • "Since 1971, annual salaries for males 25 to 34 with full-time jobs have plummeted almost 20 percent, according to the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University. At the same time, women have crashed just about all the old male haunts, and are showing some signs of outpacing their husbands and boyfriends as breadwinners and heads of family, at least in urban centers. Last year, researchers at Queens College in New York determined that women between 21 and 30 in at least five major cities, including Dallas, Chicago and New York, have not only made up the wage gap since 1970—they now earn upwards of 15 percent more than their male counterparts."
  • "...saddled with an average of $20,000 in student debt and reared with a sense of entitlement that stops them from taking any old job, the percentage of 26-year-olds living with their parents has nearly doubled since 1970, from 11 to 20 percent..."
  • "According to a study released last month by the Parents Television Council, prime-time broadcast audiences are three times more likely to hear about people having sex with pets, corpses or two other people simultaneously than they are to see a blissed-out married couple between the sheets."
  • "College guys believe that 80 percent of their friends are getting laid each weekend, says Kimmel, whose survey of 13,000 kids, mostly 18 to 22 years old, puts the actual figure at closer to 10 percent."
  • "A raft of recent studies suggest that married men are happier, more sexually satisfied and less likely to end up in the emergency room than their unmarried counterparts. They also earn more, are promoted ahead of their single counterparts and are more likely to own a home."

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