I have a regular column at SheSaid where I talk about dating, relationships, sex and single life. My current article is all about the man child. And there’s every chance you’ve dated one…
I want to shake some sense into my younger self when I look back on how I enabled the manbaby-like behavior of my ex-boyfriend.
There I was, at 11p.m. at night, driving around town to get the guy I’d just started seeing a chicken enchilada.
Nice girl, I know what you’re thinking, but at this stage, he wasn’t even my boyfriend. I don’t even think we’d had our third date before he called me up and sounded like death on the phone cutely requesting I come and look after him. Oh, and on the way over somehow find a fast-food place that sold Mexican food.
Of course, I wanted him to see how great of a girlfriend I could be, and thinking this request was a one-time thing, I spent the next hour foraging for Mexican food. But little did I know saying “yes” opened the door to frequent fast-food trips, becoming his personal chauffeur, and having one-sided arguments with someone who took zero personal responsibility for their life.
Gradually, I’d become his mother, not his lover; and then it hit me… I wasn’t dating the masculine, brooding guy I originally thought: I was dating a man child.
In simple terms, a man child is an adult male who possesses the psychological traits of a child.
These include, but are not limited to, being selfish in bed, having the same amount of career aspiration as a peanut, expecting their girlfriend to be like their mother (and of course, calling them a nag for it when it suits them) and refusing to take responsibility for almost everything.
I believe to some extent, all men have the ability to turn their man child on. Look at what happens to men and their capacity to actually adult when they develop man flu. But man flu roughly lasts one week, whereas being a man child is a permanent character attribute. Actually, it’s more like a disease.
Man flu can be prevented by hand-washing, proper nutrition and a little help from modern medicine. But there is no prevention or cure for the disease of the modern man child. And the downside is it’s spreading rapidly among male 20 to 30-something year-olds who usually enjoy swiping right on Tinder in their spare time.
But tell me, have you ever been unfortunate enough to date a man child?
Photography by Alex Jack