Thursday, January 5, 2012


I'm familiar with the phrase "man-child."

I say it often in my relationship -- half out of humor, and half out of genuine concern. I don't know if my boyfriend's obsession with computer games and mac and cheese is endearing or alarming.

Which is why I clicked on this essay: "Dealbreaker: He's a man-child." An excerpt:

In movies, the man-child has Looney Tunes bedsheets, an action figure collection, and gets haircuts from his mom; a slightly more advanced version smokes a lot of weed and snickers at the word “nipples.”

In films, the solution to the man-child problem is to pair him with an uptight wet blanket who nags him until he “mans up,” gets a makeover, and marries her. I wasn’t interested in being that type of female lead.

The stance is fine, assuming you're able to differentiate between qualities that define a man-child and qualities that simply define a man. Does an obsession with video games alone mean someone's unprepared for fatherhood? Not necessarily.

Trust me, I probably wouldn't lose any sleep if my boyfriend abandoned his fascination with "Skyrim." (That's a game.)

Yet I worry that in throwing around terms like "man-child," we're seeking a level of maturity that's not only unattainable, but also kind of boring.