Peter Pan Syndrome

by Steve, February 9th, 2009

I’ve promised a post on Portland’s collective extended adolescence, but somebody beat me to it (don’t worry, I’ve still got a thing or to to add to the conversation). Adrienne calls it Peter Pan Syndrome (PPS). Here’s a mature 25-year-old’s take on some of the 40-something behavior she observes in Portland.

9 Responses to “Peter Pan Syndrome”

  1. Comment from rose:

    I think Adrienne nailed it, in a very respectful way.

    I’ve had other friends notice this too. Grown adults playing dodgeball. Pillow fights in Pioneer Square. Men who wear bike shorts year-round. Grown women who dress like little girls, right down to the cutesy barrettes at the end of their Heidi braids.

    It used to be you were expected to be a grown-up at 18: Get a job, pay the bills, marry, have some kids, buy a house, buck up and stop making excuses. Then we pushed the age of maturity to the twenties. Then the thirties. And now even those in their forties still haven’t grown up.

    We have a critical mass here of white progressives and they show this awful trend more than others. Poorer and minority folk don’t have the luxury of this endless childhood, and frankly, conservatives are better at instilling in their children a respect for maturity. Or at least not the sense to think bike riding naked is a worthy goal in life.

    Oh, and credit to Kevin Allman, who rightfully termed this hideous condition “Kid-dolts.”

  2. Comment from edison:

    Adrienne’s post is interesting as is your point about “Portland’s collective extended adolescence”. Still, I can’t help but wonder exactly what cultural rules are being broken if someone doesn’t conform to another’s idea of being ‘grown up’.

  3. Comment from Steve:

    Rose, I take issue with ascribing this behavior to “white progressives.” White, yes, but how about middle class instead of progressive?

    All the progressives I know (of any age) are engaged in some kind of social justice work, while one of the salient features of these “kid-dolts” is a failure to give back to society.

    Which, for edison, is the closest thing I can think of to a “cultural rule” being broken. It’s not a crime, but it belies a selfishness and sense of entitlement that I find distasteful.

  4. Comment from BlackFriend:

    Maybe I’m protesting because I’m 40ish and make out on a regular basis.

    I’m neither white nor too much middle class. I disagree with both Rose and Steve. I found the essay kind of annoyingly self-righteous as only a 20-something can be. Something I NEVER am. . .j/k

    And whether someone has a barrette ontheir Heidi braids as they ride a fixie on the Naked Bike Ride doesn’t have any bearing on whether they volunteer as a Big Sister, at the Food Bank, at Sisters of the Road. As many people I know who loosely fit those descriptions do.

    Hate someone for being a hipster. Or having bad fashion sense. Or being a chippie. Or self-identifying as a “cyclist” or a “skater”

    I’m not yet ready to curl up and die by the fireplace(well, I don’t have one) cause some kid wants me to. Does that mean we get to take back craft night and game night from the 20-somethings?

    ANd might I mention that you can’t always tell the age of someone by their looks. jes’ sayin’

  5. Comment from Steve:

    You, my 40ish BlackFriend, are categorically, definitively, not what I’m talking about.

  6. Comment from Kevin:

    You’re either into the forced-whimsy, faux-naïf thing or you’re not. To me, it’s like aluminum foil on my fillings.

    I will say I knew a lot of 30ish and 40ish women in Portland who were put together and secure in themselves and couldn’t find a guy to date because they weren’t interested in playing videogames, skateboarding, “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” marathons, or whatever the kidult male population was into at the moment.

    I think Portland must be a tough town for single women out of their twenties who like men, not men with the interests of your typical teenager.

  7. Comment from BlackFriend:

    As a woman who’s been to recent birthday parties for men nearing on 40 where Guitar Hero was a primary form of entertainment, it’s hard but not impossible.

    Actually, I have found younger men from outta town to be much more “grown” than ones who’ve acclimated to Portland.

    And I’ve even suggested a blind date to Ground Kontrol. But that’s because Tempest is the only video game I can play.

  8. Comment from Kevin:

    “Actually, I have found younger men from outta town to be much more “grown” than ones who’ve acclimated to Portland.”

    I hear you. The worst dinner party I ever attended was in Portland — a housewarming for a buddy’s girlfriend.

    The guys who showed up (professionals, in their 30s) had been out drinking before the dinner and were loud and obnoxious and were arguing about “Star Wars” for some reason.

    The hostess had made two beautiful lasagnas (one with meat, one vegetarian), and when she brought them out, one guy stopped arguing long enough to tell her “HEY, I’M TRYING TO EAT VEGAN,” as if she was a short-order cook. During the meal, they completely ignored her. Not one person said a word about the meal that she’d obviously spent all day preparing; not one had thought to bring her flowers or a bottle of wine or even a pack of microbrews.

    The party busted up early because there was a singalong screening of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” on the other side of town and the guys all wanted to get good seats. Dine and dash. It was like eating with a pack of self-absorbed, arrogant junior high kids who hadn’t mastered the most basic social skills.

    I’d shown up feeling like a schlub with my two dumb bottles of cheap Trader Joe’s wine, and left feeling like Cary Grant. And yet when I sent the hostess (whom I barely knew) a thank-you email, I felt like I should be apologizing for my gender…which was stupid.

  9. Comment from Wacky Mommy:

    Kevin — BASTARD VEGANS! Excellent work on the wine (and a follow-up thank you e to boot, nicely done). When a visitor brings me wine or flowers, I don’t care if they’re carnations or lilies, if it’s cheap wine or fancy French, it is truly the thought that counts.

    And THANK YOU for not being a Star Wars or Buffy buff. Nice work. You should give lessons — come back to Portland, would ya?