The Peter Pan Man

Standup Comic John Powers NYC Dear Jp Comedian Advice Sex Column Relationship Dating Love Advisor Counsel
John Powers

A friend of mine recently broke up with his girlfriend. She’s been his girlfriend for years but that is all. I’m sure there was a good reason. There’s always a good reason.

…but it led me to reflection. Looking at the boys in the hood, the guys who were teens and 20s the same time I was, I start to get very sad. A majority of them are not married yet. I’d put a guess at 75% unwed. Some of them are dating, but some have all but given up on finding someone.

I’m not sad because my friends are not married. I’m sad because my generation is not doing it right. When I look for something to do on the weekend, in my 30s, in my quiet part of town… I am no longer looking to get shit-faced. I am no longer interested in doing things that could get me arrested. 30-something John wants to have 1 or 2 beers, cook something on the grill, and watch people I love splash around in the pool.


I hear the same stories over and over. The entitled millennial men are looking for Barbie. Not just the beauty beyond belief, they are also looking for the girl with the dream house and the convertible and whatever career her outfit comes with. Their Moms did too much for them and made them feel a bit too special. They think that by being alive, they are entitled to a gorgeous woman who will take care of them in every way as long as they don’t beat her or sleep with anyone else.

Guess what guys… those rules no longer apply. A generation or two ago a man could get by with little to no effort. We are not so lucky. This generation of men is required to chip in. Our women read a lot of articles and have a lot of expectations. You should know how to do your own laundry and how to cook.

We are the product of the divorce boom. We saw our parents split up and we noticed how much happier Mom was after 3 glasses of wine. We saw how Dad’s second wife whipped him into shape better than Mom ever did. We saw our friends’ and cousins’ parents split.

…and realized we don’t have to sacrifice. We don’t need to take no shit. Nothing lasts forever, most marriages fail, and if I can’t be totally head over heels every day, then fuck it.

We are the “fuck it” generation. If something is hard it’s not worth doing. If a relationship becomes work we reactivate our profile. We are not willing to sacrifice or compromise or put someone else’s needs before our own.

I call guys like this the “Peter Pan Man.” They never want to grow up. They want to pretend they are still young, and have fun, and run when a relationship starts to get serious. Their “Mental Age” is not the same as their actual age. They want to be free and play games and stay a kid forever… but that’s just not how it works. If you don’t grow and mature, everything around you does and leaves you in the same place wondering where everyone went.

That, my friends, is why my friends are still dating in their mid- to late-30s. Not because they haven’t met anyone good enough for them, but because they have not been good enough for anyone else. I’m hoping a few of them grow up. I’m getting tired of having strange women in my pool.

– John Powers

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