Sunday, November 11, 2007

Kidults - refusing to grow up gracefully

This is the text of my That's Men for You column in The Irish Times on Tuesday 6th November:

Are you by any chance, a kidult? A kidult is an adult who has never really grown up and who is in no hurry to do so. Generally speaking, kidults are in no hurry to grow up because they’re having too much fun or they are scared of taking on responsibility, or both.

The kidult has been around for ages. I remember Gay Byrne reading out letters on his radio programme from mothers fed up with sons who refused to grow up but preferred to lie around being fed and watered by their parents. These letters tended to elicit an outraged response from the ‘Give him a good kick up the arse’ brigade.

I wonder what happened to these kidults? Did they run into strong women who took them in hand and made men of them? Did some of them find wives who took up where mother left off? Perhaps some are still sprawled on the sofa preparing to apply for the pension as mother, now in her 80s, keeps them in beer, cigarettes and pizzas.

But today’s kidult, as I understand the concept, does more than lying on the sofa.

Do you, perhaps, put on short trousers and a baseball cap, worn backwards, at the weekends and go skateboarding around the streets of our great cities? If so, you may be a kidult and that may be the kindest thing you’ve been called in a long time.

If you’re in your 30s, 40s or 50s and you go out on the pull (you are not, of course, married) do you ignore women of your own age and head straight for girls in their 20s? If so, you are definitely a kidult.

Do you spend hours with your PlayStation 3? Kidult again.

Perhaps you even jet off to London now and then kit yourself out in a school uniform and dance, drink and snog the night away at the school disco scene? (Let me say straight away, in case there is any confusion about this, that I only know about the school disco scene because I looked it up on Wikipedia. It’s a long time since I’ve been in short pants.)

I may have given the impression here that the kidults of the past were exclusively slobs who lounged around on sofas in their parents’ living rooms. This is not an entirely complete picture.

Many of you may not know that there was a time when there was no such thing as an ATM machine. So if you ran out of cash in the evening or at the weekend you were in trouble, especially if you were a kidult looking to impress the girls. One kidult I knew solved this problem and enhanced his status by opening a bank account in the Dublin Airport branch of the Bank of Ireland which was open outside normal hours. If he ran out of money at the weekend he would simply nip out to the airport in his snippy, jazzy car and make a withdrawal. This sort of thing was just perfect for impressing the sort of girls who were impressed by this sort of thing.

There are, let it be said, female kidults too. You are still a student in your 30s? If so, you may well be a female kidult, a sort of eternal schoolgirl who doesn’t have to face the world for as long as Daddy keeps paying the bills. Does Daddy still pay for your health insurance? Does he take your car for its NCT test? All these may be symptoms of the female kidult. Here’s another sign: has your boyfriend put you on his credit card? If so, you are probably a kidult and he is probably an eejit. Don’t let him get away.

The phenomenon of the kidult goes back even further than the time of Gay Byrne. Bachelors were taxed in ancient Rome. And early in the last century, the Italian government imposed a tax on bachelors unless they had joined a religious order and taken a vow of chastity.

Now there’s an idea for the next kidult you spot skateboarding around the IFSC.


Anonymous said...

Who wants to be a man?

Half the time your wife leaves wyou...with impoverishing support payments. You've got to slog away in the mines your entire life and by the time you retire, you're so brain damaged from work that you die in a few years.
The feminists got it right: no more barefoot and pregrant for them. And no more macho straightjackets and wage slavery for the rest of us. Let soeone else do the heavy lifting for a change!

Anonymous said...

The best solution to a bachelor tax is to get a LESBIAN

Anonymous said...

Study the photograph of Mr oMorain out for yourself what he is.....