Hello There, Fellow Kids

At an age when his peers are raising children, Jeremy Schrage, 44, doesn’t even do his own dishes.

There’s another post in the pipeline, but this article was too good not to write a quick one on. It’s so tied in to ratfacedman themes, how was I supposed to resist?

The latest hot trend in prolonged adolescence is literally living like an upscale teenager into your forties. It costs a mere $3,000 a month, which, to be fair, isn’t bad for NYC rent. But you only get a room. The rest is common areas. (To be fair, with a lot of other NYC places, you also basically only get a room.) As far as temporary living situations go, that makes sense to me, and if I were a single guy expecting to be in the city for just a few months, it would probably be fine, assuming that something I was doing there was worth paying that kind of money to do.

But the average age of people living in this place is 30, and the whole point of living there is to work on your lifestyle—to free up money for travel and brunch and to let you pretend to be fresh out of college for a decade.

Reminder, these people aren’t 22. They’re probably a decade older than that. It’s just starting to get hard to hide—you’ve got some thickening thighs, a receding hairline, an undeniable case of incipient dadbod. Obviously the next step will be a cool hairdo and some slick square-toed leather shoes. (See first pic.) Better watch out, though. Make sure you’ve got a pocket in those sweet jeans for your heart meds, maybe get a Medic Alert tag for your hemp necklace, etc. And obviously living this way isn’t compatible with family life—not just in the sense that you can’t raise kids in a party pad, but more insidiously, it stops you thinking about family life and life transitions because it focuses you on lifestyle striving and doing things that look slick on Instagram.

I’m not particularly far gone yet, but every rat-faced man must face the prospect of growing older. Unless your retirement plan is to move to Holland and get euthanized, you may well need decades of income saved to fund your retirement. You need to be able to plan for the inevitable transitions in life. Health declines, energy levels decline, people become dependent on familiar places and routines. Stone-age tribal knuckleheads from the back of beyond know this, but we apparently don’t anymore. How feasible is it going to be for these Peter (or Petra) Pans to finally learn how to do their own dishes at 50 when they’re laid off and suffering from a spastic colon? $3,000 a month after tax is kind of a lot, are they otherwise thrifty savers?

It’s framed as pleasure-seeking, and I don’t deny that element exists, but I think this trend is fundamentally about fear and stress. Confronted by the challenges of growing up, some people are being enabled in their choice of refusing to think about it. Saving money and learning how to manage your life is scary and painful. But the party’s got to stop sometime.

So what should we learn from this? Two things: (1) don’t be these people, and (2) be sure to figure out a way to sell them stuff. Artisanal BLTs for $14 and sriracha-flavored beer have natural consumers. They shouldn’t be allowed to have money anyway, so you’re really just restoring the natural state of affairs if you take it. And maybe start thinking about how to brand a desert trailer park for broke retirees living off of social security as “hip,” “happening,” “cool,” because that way you can anticipate their upcoming real estate life choices for a tidy profit. You heard it here first!

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4 thoughts on “Hello There, Fellow Kids

  1. A lot of these Peter Pan types rely on parental subsidy to maintain this lifestyle. Their parents, meanwhile, are hoping to retire and live off soon-to-be-insolvent pension funds which their kids would have been able to pay into if their jobs hadn’t been taken by a horde of migrant workers. What a perverse cycle of dependency.

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  2. In the end, who really cares how they live? If you want to follow their lifestyle, great. If not, don’t. They’re not Peter Pan-types mooching off their moms and dads because immigrants took their jobs.

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    1. In fact, lots of people living in New York are “mooching off their parents”—that was the point. And beyond that, while the people profiled here are probably solvent day-to-day, they aren’t building the personal, career or family resources that would be necessary for a meaningful life or a dignified retirement.

      I don’t really “get” the line about “immigrants took their jobs.” I get the feeling you’re responding to a post I didn’t write.

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