Many of today’s thirtysomething men enjoy lifestyles that accommodate marriage, children, and Batman. They rejoice at having painstakingly precision-engineered an arrangement that includes everything I don’t want from grown-upitude and nothing I do. Part of me envies them; just imagine the elation they felt upon realizing that they could have the wife, the kids, the mortgage, the driveway — and still care deeply about how Hollywood adapts The Silmarillion. Yet I know in my heart of hearts that I don’t belong in their ranks.
I ask of adulthood only that it foist upon me neither marriage nor children nor a house near only other houses, and that it allow me the freedom — nay, the mandate — to worship Yasujirō Ozu. If all those other guys relish legitimately fathering offspring yet still spending hours upon hours getting awesome at Rock Band, I would relish playing it the other way around: if they can meet their adult familial responsibilities and abdicate their adult cultural responsibilities, I can meet my adult cultural responsibilities and abdicate my adult familial ones.
Do these men who drag their unreconstructed childhood fixations into big-monthly-nut domesticity have a label? Try as I might, I can’t think of anything sufficiently catchy; surely some trend piece has beaten me to this. I feel surrounded, at least in a zeitgeist-y sense, by peers laboring under what, in their position, I would personally consider a few too many bills, a few too many mouths to feed, and a few too many serious concerns about the Spider-Man reboot. Amid this way of life’s strikingly wide spread, I do admit to wondering where my fellows are, the ones for whom any given work of Andrei Tarkovsky trumps even the most deluxe package of holy matrimony and reproduction. And who aren’t seventeen. And who shower on the daily.
I have no clear sense of where to find them, yet I do have a hunch that, when I’ve moved to L.A., what I plan to make my constant presence at Cinefamily, American Cinematheque, and LACMA’s film program will bring me closer to the tribe. But would I really make a health move in surrounding myself with totally like minds? Instead of circling the wagons with a bunch of slightly underweight childless dudes and collectively bemoaning the Oulipo’s lack of continued influence, should I instead run with the pack of slightly overweight, semi-bearded “alternadads” even now heatedly trading opinions about Zack Snyder? Lord knows what kind of problems the Godard acolytes have. Better the devil I know?