It’s one of those scenes that really gets under my skin and seriously makes me question how much jail time is worth intervening. Sitting in a restaurant, not a particularly posh one or anything, there’s a table of a family with young kids. they probably came from church – it’s Sunday around noon and they are all dressed up. The one who appears youngest, maybe 3 or 4, is eating pasta with his fingers and cheerily singing, happy as a pig in poop (ok maybe not the best choice of words while eating) but you know what I’m saying. He is cute as a button on a puppy.
His mom promptly YELLS at him, like not her inside voice yell, and he immediately frowns and slumps in his chair. And then she says it, sit up and finish your food. Will you please GROW UP already?!
We want our men to grow up too. How many times are you sitting around with your girlfriends and they are all complaining about video game time, or football time, or leaving his socks on the floor time, or playing NFL video games with socks on the floor time. He needs to grow up eventually right?
Why do we want this? Why do we want everyone to act their age as if there is a set of behaviors appropriate to a number of times the earth has revolved around the sun? Is it really someone to long for – that someone has felt all the joy and giddyness and energy and ridiculously goofy irrational overexuberant childish glee sucked out of their souls?
And let’s for a moment consider the gender roles in growing up. I often wonder if it’s mostly an inherent trait in most women to want “responsible” men in their lives? That it’s girls who grow up first – often any way – wanting jobs and independence and a place of their own and maybe in recent years the trend toward being a career woman has come into its own alongside being a homemaker. I mean let’s face it, being a homemaker certainly makes you mature quickly and become responsible – and at its worst, boring.
I watched all of Mad Men, the tv show. I can’t say it’s wholesome because it sure is not. It is a great depiction of everything that went wrong with America since the ’60s – the general discontent of women with who they are, what they buy, how they look, how their children behave – as well as this societal tendency to delay growing up, aka growing old. I mean who really wants to grow old? Sure, we like to say mushy things like I want to grow old with so-and-so and we mostly mean it. But truth is we could delay it for as long as possible.
But maturity comes in different shapes and sizes. Way too often maturity looks boring and stuffy and lackluster and joyless. And when someone gets downright giddy we tend to think of them as immature. I will yell at you for thinking that. And I will jump up and down and stamp my foot to make my point.
So to that child, I say, pick up your pasta and stuff it all in your mouth, without choking of course, and sing your little heart out. See if you can sing louder than me.