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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

National Wild ‘n Crazy Guys Grow Up Day

If you watched Saturday Night Live during the late 70s, then you remember the “Two Wild and Crazy Guys” skit that Steve Martin (who played Georg Festrunk) and Dan Aykroyd (who played Yortuk Festrunk) used to perform.

They played two middle-age brothers from Czechoslovakia who wore tight pants and polyester shirts that were unbuttoned down to their navels. Oh, and of course, they lived in a bachelor pad. You can read a couple of transcripts here and here. They hit on every woman possible; believed they were cool—even though they were far from it; and in general, simply refused to grow up.

Their shtick was funny because it held an element of truth. And I suspect it’s more true today than it was then. If you wonder where I’m going with all of this, then wonder no more. According to this website, today is National Wild ‘n Crazy Guys Grow Up Day. 

I stumbled across an article on the City Journal website recently called “Child-Man in the Promised Land: Today’s single young men hang out in a hormonal limbo between adolescence and adulthood” written by Kay S. Hymowitz. In the article she says this:

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?

No doubt about it, single men are putting off marriage and children much longer than we have in the past and it’s largely because we have little desire for domestic life. Too many responsibilities.

Hymowitz goes on to point out that 48.2 percent of American males between the ages of 18 and 34 spend two hours and forty three minutes per day playing video games—which, as she points out, is thirteen minutes longer than boys who are in the 12 to 17 age range.

As a forty-something year old single male, I hear what Hymowitz is saying and I think her points are completely valid. Does that mean I believe that marriage, children, buying a house, and not playing video games is the mark of a true man? Certainly not always, as evidenced by the men who do all of these things but still put their own needs and desires first, but by and large, it’s a pretty good checklist for adulthood.

So, am I indicting myself and others like me? I can only speak for myself when I saw yes—at least partially. I do believe that some people are supposed to remain single for life, but I also believe those people to be far and few between. I wish I could tell you why I haven’t found a spouse, had children, and bought a house. I don’t know for sure. I do know that I’ve spent a large amount of my life care-giving in one form or another and to be honest, as I look back on it, the time I spent doing so feels right. But I’ve always seen it as seasonal work and I believe the seasons are about to change.

I don’t want to spend a lot of time justifying my actions, or lack thereof. I just want to be honest with you. I don’t know if I’ll marry any time soon, but I know I want to. Maybe that is evidence of growth; maybe it just a simple recognition that one chapter of my life is over and another is about to begin. I don’t know.

But I do know this: I like the idea of having a National Wild n’ Crazy Guys Grow Up Day because it prompted me to think about where I am and where I want to be.


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