I recently turned thirty and it’s natural at that time to begin reflecting oneself against the shadow of your life. One of the first things to look at is, “Are you married?” In my case, I’m single. But I didn’t think I’d be so persistently single by my age, because I’m a catch. Okay, I’m not like “the most eligible bachelor” material, like a doctor or The Mayor. I realize that I’m a catch like a good buy at the Salvation Army: cheap, not noticeably damaged, and half off on Saturdays.
But I am not unique in that way, my generation is damaged. I’m generation Y; there are more college educated white men around age thirty living single with their parents than ever. Coincidentally, he lives with his stepmother and biological father or vice versa because their generation made divorce acceptable. Their generation refused to stay married, so we take it a step further and refuse to get married.
That wouldn’t make sense to my Mother. Her perspective is from having stayed together and all she ever wanted was a family. It’s a pretty basic point of view. Talking on the phone,
Mom: Do you have any girlfriends?
Me: Take a guess.
Me: No. I mean yes. I mean yes to no. You know what I mean.
Mom: Right now is your time. Women your age, their clock is ticking; they want to mate.
Mom: I’m telling you, there’s nothing to it. Their bodies are telling them to mate and you’re a good-looking boy…
She really evokes this image of prowlers, young cougars of the night in heat. But I don’t know what to do with them so I end up putting a Q-Tip up there.
Mom: You’re a real catch. But you need a career. You have such a good business mind; you should get a degree in business.
That’s really the expectation, even though it was only proven successful for one generation: the Baby Boomers. Their assumption: go to college, get a good job, retire comfortably. That wasn’t expected prior to WWII and it hasn’t carried over. A college education, financially speaking, is one of the worst investments you can make. The only thing worse is buying Ikea Furniture on a credit card. Coincidentally, third on the list is leasing a Kia SUV.
Why we are damaged (my generation) is that we inherited a colossal failure, a trap set by our parents, the baby boomers. We were graduating High School when 9-11 happened but were graduating college when we realized it was an inside job. Just as we lifted our bootstraps from it all, electing Obama—the first Gen X President—as we’re attempting to get ourselves established, the economy collapses right under our feet. I was twenty-six at the time. Then we watched Obama become corrupted. And the youngest of our generation, closer to twenty, are going on shooting sprees! Confusing times breeds confused people. It’s not funny but here we are, damaged.
So when it comes to being single, I’m definitely looking for that weathered t-shirt of a girlfriend that shows up at the Goodwill. Not that Hard Rock Café Orlando shirt, not that Fred’s Bowling Team shirt, but maybe if I’m lucky a good original Iron Maiden shirt. That’s it: I want to be her vintage leather boots to be my Metal For Muthas tour shirt.
But also, we question too much, my generation. We were raised with search engines at our fingertips.
Boomer: “Find a girlfriend, get married!”
Gen Y: “Why?”
Boomer: “Get a job!”
Gen Y: “Why?”
Boomer: “Go to college!”
Gen Y: “There are loans in that, huh? I won’t have to work. Yeah, okay, I’ll do it.”
I’m not saying we’re lazy, I’m just saying we’re a generation that doesn’t like to work. We actually take pride in the fact that we don’t work! At least Gen X has some pride in their job. Not on the surface, you wouldn’t think so, because of your image: the burnout, jaded, irony-loving, sarcastic facial hair stricken character. That is true, but these guys respect their employers. My generation wants to institutionalize that irreverence for work. Because even though that forty-year-old stoner drunk burnout that goes to the bar to say that everything is shit, he makes it to work faithfully and punches that clock. He takes pride in his job, his meager income. To settle an argument or make a case, he’ll say, “I do this for a living.”
A lot of guys and women are turning their back on starting families. Ironically, these are the educated people, the ones we want to breed. They’ll say some bullshit like, “the world is overpopulated and I’m not contributing to it.” To that I say, two people coming together having two kids and committing to that decision will not overpopulate. If you look at the charts, it’s poverty towns that breed too much; uneducated masses spread like wildfires. In this country, it’s only the South that has a positive birth over death ratio going, and the Bible belt. When I was a kid I thought that literally meant a Bible belt for preachers, “Yep, I keep my Bible on my belt, sir.”
Some guys will avoid children like it’s a disease. I met this guy– a Gen X fellow, representing that Gen X irreverence for life—and he told me that he would rather get a disease than have another child. He said that he had a daughter; he loved her, but would rather get AIDS than have another one. His words. He likes to fuck but he doesn’t like to wear protection. His concept of protection is this: a pill. A pill that provides the popper with a beautiful erection, one that lasts exactly as long as you need it for, and simultaneously neutralizes the sperm by removing the tail so they can’t swim anymore. This pill would get a lot of work in Shanghai but would never make Rome.
That’s kind of a torturous image right? These poor little bastards floating around like beach balls in a swimming pool filled with corn syrup. If they manage to float their way to the egg, they’ll just bump in to it like the center ring at bumper cars.
I have to say, I don’t relate to that fellow at all. I’m not seeking children but I respect the inevitability of it. And when it comes to women, I’m timid, and I’ll sacrifice sex if the conversation is at all forced. Because if the conversation is that forced, what is the sex going to be like? And then what will the break up be like? I’m living in a weird generation in weird times. I’m a post-post-modern person living in a post-modern world, governed by modernists.