Not so long ago, the average American man in his 20s had achieved most of the milestones of adulthood: a high-school diploma, financial independence, marriage and children.
Today, most men in their 20s hang out in a novel sort of limbo, a hybrid state of semi-hormonal adolescence and responsible self-reliance.
This “pre-adulthood” has much to recommend it, especially for the college-educated.
But it’s time to state what has become obvious to legions of frustrated young women: It doesn’t bring out the best in men.
” For most of us, the cultural habitat of pre-adulthood no longer seems noteworthy.
After all, popular culture has been crowded with pre-adults for almost two decades.
Fields that attract ambitious young men and women often require years of moving between school and internships, between internships and jobs, laterally and horizontally between jobs, and between cities in the U. They are looking not just for jobs but for “careers,” work in which they can exercise their talents and express their deepest passions.
Ben lives in a Los Angeles crash pad with a group of grubby friends who spend their days playing videogames, smoking pot and unsuccessfully planning to launch a porn website.For today’s pre-adults, “what you do” is almost synonymous with “who you are,” and starting a family is seldom part of the picture.Pre-adulthood can be compared to adolescence, an idea invented in the mid-20th century as American teenagers were herded away from the fields and the workplace and into that new institution, the high school.It’s no exaggeration to say that having large numbers of single young men and women living independently, while also having enough disposable income to avoid ever messing up their kitchens, is something entirely new in human experience.Yes, at other points in Western history young people have waited well into their 20s to marry, and yes, office girls and bachelor lawyers have been working and finding amusement in cities for more than a century. What also makes pre-adulthood something new is its radical reversal of the sexual hierarchy. They graduate from college in greater numbers (among Americans ages 25 to 34, 34% of women now have a bachelor’s degree but just 27% of men), and they have higher GPAs.For a long time, the poor and recent immigrants were not part of adolescent life; they went straight to work, since their families couldn’t afford the lost labor and income.But the country had grown rich enough to carve out space and time to create a more highly educated citizenry and work force.Klausner means by “guys” is males who are not boys or men but something in between.“Guys talk about ‘Star Wars’ like it’s not a movie made for people half their age; a guy’s idea of a perfect night is a hang around the Play Station with his bandmates, or a trip to Vegas with his college friends….Marketers and culture creators help to promote pre-adulthood as a lifestyle.And like adolescence, pre-adulthood is a class-based social phenomenon, reserved for the relatively well-to-do.