Friday, October 05, 2007

You don't want to talk to me? That's fine, I'll talk to myself.

I found an interesting term, while looking up information about generational classifications. (I'm never quite sure where I stand on the whole "generation label" gig. I'm too young to be Gen-X, but not young enough to be whatever the next group is. Some stupid name that I forget.)

I've heard the term "adultescent," which refers to singles in their late twenties or early thirties, predominantly male, who still live with their parents and seem to be enjoying an extended adolescence. These are the guys who blow hundreds or even thousands of dollars on intricate electronic and gaming equipment, yet can't seem to make their own rent and have to live with the folks.

[Disclaimer/disclosure for the easily excitable: Stop right there before you think that I'm dismissively labelling all twentysomethings who live with their parents. I'm not doing that, Sensitive Sally, so quit being such a baby and grow a thicker hide. I'm talking about the people who are perfectly capable of making their way in the world and refuse to because it's too "hard" or "scary" or "boring and un-fun." Heck, I lived with my parents for about a year after college myself, until I made enough money to strike out on my own. Granted, "on my own" started out just a mile down the road from my parents. Look, if it's good enough for Thoreau in "Walden," it's good enough for me.]

We all back now? Good. Yes, the adultescent. The subject of books and movies and blogs and commentary.

(Here's a fun term I just made up: the Xangadult. The mopey young adult who can't seem to grow up past the whiny self-centered emo-ness of youth. And yes, I know, I'm sometimes like this, too. Yeah, I'm claiming that one before anyone else does. Xangadult. Mine.)

Well, during my web research, I found out that the Japanese culture has a different term for this type of creature. Are you ready for this?

"Parasite single."

Wow. Doesn't that just smack ya in the chops? Parasite single. A single person, living off of others and contributing nothing.

I suppose you could posit that the reason the same phenomenon is so differently named is because our culture is more about feelings and non-offensiveness and psychoanalysis, while Japanese culture (at least the segment that gets to name stuff) is about production and results.

So now, gentle and easily bored reader, the question: which culture has a more realistic and healthy approach to this lost group of young adults? I'm torn, personally. Because while I can empathize, being somewhat lost and confused post-college, I have to say that there is a brutal poetry to pinpointing the parasitic nature of such a person as we are describing. Granted, it's not as clever as Xangadult, but it's something.

What do you think? Is "parasite single" too harsh? Is "adultescent" too soft? Isn't "Xangadult" the awesomest thing you've heard in weeks?

Lemme know with a comment below. Go on, I dare ya.

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