February 24, 2011 catherinetownsend

Peter Pan Syndrome


I’ve seen a lot of discussion lately about the so-called ‘Peter Pan syndrome’.  There’s even a new book that claims that men spend WAY longer than women stuck in ‘pre-adulthood’, behaving like Seth Rogen’s character in Knocked Up. I live in Los Angeles, and I’ve seen my share of fifty-something men clubbing in customized sneakers, but I don’t think we can put all the blame on them. The real question is, why are women continuing to behave like Wendys and Tinkerbells? Wendy acted like Peter’s mom, and kept waiting for him to grow up even though he didn’t want her to touch him. Tinkerbell was feisty and independent and wanted to be his girlfriend too, but Peter couldn’t handle getting too close.

As a kid I loved this cartoon, but as an adult (and occasional former Tinkerbell) I’ve learned to close the window to man-boys and tell them to f**k off to Never Never Land.

And I remind the real life guys who claim Peter Pan syndrome as an excuse for immaturity that Peter Pan was a fictional character. His lines worked because he didn’t age on the outside.  The most extreme example of a man-boy who tried to stay young forever was Michael Jackson…and look how well that turned out.

Youthful spirit is a wonderful thing, but age should bring maturity, wisdom, and evolution of character–for both sexes. I think it’s ironic that women are portrayed as the ones fixated on Cinderella-style story lines, but the men saying ‘age is just a number’ are the ones who believe in fairy tales.

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