The ‘man-child’ has been on my mind a lot during my dalliances with Tattoo Guy. He is, by definition, a man-child – and he knows it. He is 36 years old, has two roommates, his phone sometimes gets shut off because he can’t afford to pay his bill, he’s content to drink too much, bang any woman he can, then be hungover the next day. This is his lifestyle, and although I’m younger than him, but not by much, my lifestyle isn’t very different. I’m technically a woman-child, and one who has loved too many man-children, but I am now ready to convert.

With this all in the forefront of my mind and my having already made the decision to write about it for this week, I was confronted with Hot Neighbor last week and his questioning of me about wanting to settle down. Despite it being close to 6am and having been up all night with him and my neighbor Alex, who is a deviant and brings out the deviant in me, I realized as I watched Hot Neighbor pack for his weekend trip to the beach in his underwear, that to him I really am a woman-child. I may be able to pay my rent on my own, I live alone, I pay my bills on time (sometimes), but that Peter Pan complex in me runs deep, far too deep for a woman my age. I blame New York City, of course. New York City allows us all to be kids far too long; it caters to a society of people who aren’t in a rush to grow up, who work hard to pursue their dreams for minimal money (or in some cases, a lot of money), then play even harder thanks to bars being open until 4am. We really do not sleep here, because if we did, we’d probably miss out on some fun. We’ll sleep when we’re dead, thank you very much.

However, for some reason I really let what Hot Neighbor said get to me. The majority of my friends who are my age, even the ones here in the city, (I’m in my early 30’s, OK?) have settled down, they have married, and had kids while I’m standing around trying to figure out why that is still not an attractive way to live in my mind. I’m here trying to understand why I relate better to a 24-year-old than a woman in her 30’s. Granted, I’m lucky enough that I can easily pass for someone in their mid-20’s, but that doesn’t change the fact that I’m no longer 25. Age may be just a number, but sometimes it’s a number that counts when you realize that you’re not only late to the party, but you’ve had the directions wrong most of the way there.

I still turn my head when I hear the sound of a skateboard against the asphalt, just as I did when I was 12. I’m more than happy to buy dinner for some struggling artist I’m dating because he’s yet to “arrive.” I’m also willing to overlook the fact that a hot 36-year-old tattoo artist shares his apartment with a man in his 40’s and a woman in her late 30’s who calls herself the “Zombie Queen.” I forgive this, because I feel I have no right not to do so. But I’ve changed, or rather, to quote Daisy Buchanan: “Tell ’em all Daisy’s change’ her mine. Say: ‘Daisy’s change’ her mine!’” Amanda has changed her “mine!”

My next birthday will probably be the last one I’ll celebrate in an obnoxious over-the-top way as I always have. I plan to remember ever bit of the night, and not end up on a sidewalk in my $1200 dress, barefoot and crying to my sister that I’m old like I did when I turned 30. Nor will the evening be followed by a three or four day bender like the ones I used to share with Swede because I needed him to feel young; I needed proof that I still had “it,” that I could drink and dance and party for days and come out the other side still in tact. But as I look at the concept of the man-child, I’ve realized I don’t need to date one or even be one to never lose the fact that I was and will always be a bit of a party girl. It will always be there in me, but it just needs to be tamed a bit. I need to learn to stop after a couple drinks, I need to start facing things head-on with the gumption of an adult and not the fear of a child, and realize it’s time to grow the fuck up.

Why am I giving up the man-child and you should, too? Well, let’s cover the pros and cons, shall we?

Pro: They’re fun as fuck!

Con: They’re unreliable – not just emotionally and mentally, but when you lend them $40 so they can pay their electricity bill but blow it on whisky and end up at your house until they can afford to have it turned back on because you refuse to lend them more money, you’ll see that you’re not only a sucker, but they just can’t get their shit together.

Pro: They’re fun as fuck! Yes, no truer statement has ever been written.

Con: You will have to pay for everything. I don’t need some fella to buy me dinner or flowers; I can do that myself. But when you realize you’re always paying, because they’re always broke, because they’re either “waiting to be discovered” or spent their money on, oh I don’t know, whisky again! You’ll realize that it’s not a partnership; it’s more like mothering.

Pro: They’re fun as fuck? Is this actually a true statement, or is it rather exhausting?

Con: They’re still trying to find themselves. “Seriously, it’s not you; it’s me. I just can’t settle down because I need to find myself.” Really? You’re fucking 38. If you’re not going to find yourself tomorrow, then it’s not happening.

Pro: They’re fun as fuck. (Yawn.)

Con: They tend to love with one foot out the door. I actually don’t knock this thought process as much as I should because you never know who’s around the corner or whom you may meet in your life that is more your match, than you ever thought possible. However, if you’re looking for commitment and he’s looking for the next hot thing, then you’re wasting each other’s time. In other words, you could find yourself standing on a corner with your life in both shambles and suitcases somewhere wondering what the hell happened.

Pro: They’re fun as fuck… I feel like I’m repeating myself here if only to convince myself of something. I’m having some sort of inner struggle. I may need a cupcake.

Con: They’ll probably be 50 and still fun as fuck, but it won’t be cool anymore. No one wants to be the oldest one at the bar, or the person hitting on someone half their age. It may be fun, but it’s more sad than not. You can’t be The Fonz forever. Have you seen Fonzie lately? Exactly.

Honestly, nothing is more fun than being wrapped up in a world without responsibility or consequences. Believe me, I keep hanging on to this way of living with everything I have, but I fear I’m trying so hard that my palms are sweating and it’s forcing me to slip even faster. I can’t stop sliding from my place in Woman Child World!

Eventually it gets old; it really does. But the problem with the man-child is that they’re not only late to the party, but they’ve been partying too hard all this time to have noticed otherwise. I don’t fault them for it, if anything I love them more, but I’ve realized they’re just no longer the type of fellas for me. Granted, this will take some getting used to and hanging around places where “grown-ups” go, but I’m going to give it a real shot — although I’m not quite sure how to go about it. I’m thinking the Chase bank on my block is good beginning, because someone with a checking account would be a great start.


Photo: Someecards