In an age without chivalry, let's look at the root of the cause by examining where we've arrived.
There was once a psychological profile for men who had the “Peter Pan Syndrome” – men who refused to grow up and take on adult responsibilities. Basically, it was a feminist complaint about men who did not want to commit to relationships, who avoided marriage and monogamy.
I have a theory, an observation about a new type of character – a creature I call the “Toddler Man”. This is a modern phenomenon that I theorize is a result of low social standards and the slipshod ideals of what is known as “casual living”.
The Toddler man can be observed at all levels of western society but is most obvious at the middle class level, where he is apparently flourishing.
The most conspicuous attributes of this type are two-fold and encompass a physiology which emerges directly from psychological laziness and ineptitude. This makes an appearance as basic physical slothfulness –most commonly a roly-poly shape, pot belly in evidence, accented by a disheveled or minimalist hairstyle. Posture is minimally vertical, paired with a relaxed, lumbering gait. In winter or summer, there is a growth of five-o’clock facial moss which acts as an inaccurate but perpetual sundial of ingrown masculinity.
The clothing ranges from shabby to neat, but expresses itself from a strict menu of t-shirts (with snide and clever illustrations or geeky retro references on them), jeans, and tennis shoes. This shapeless uniform is the footed pajama set of the Toddler Man. He needs to make no effort to put it on, except perhaps a sniff test if he is especially sensitive, and it is an essential part of the most important thing in his existence – “comfort”.
Thus we arrive at the motivations, or lack there of, for becoming a Toddler Man.
The modern world focuses on life being both convenient and comfortable, thus the cult of casual dressing (God-awful sweat pants and other baggy rags) and a profusion of compulsive behaviors such as over-eating. The infantile personality loves to wrap itself in a comfortable security blanket of entertainment and softness. The Toddler Man generally surrounds himself with games and other entertainment devices, immersing himself in a self made, nursery-like universe. Anyone desiring to converse with him will encounter a wave of vain-glorious stories of triumphs which occurred in cyberspace, role playing games, or on televised sports programs.
Any engagements outside of this small world must involve stimulation of the ego or quick satisfaction; otherwise he cannot bring himself to make the effort to leave his “crib” of submissive self-importance. There is safety in being the only one in the winner’s circle.
When it comes to choosing a mate, the Toddler Man will choose based on two elements, the path of least resistance and his primitive appetites. Although one would think that a lithe, sexy female would most obviously fill this role and indulge his carnal desire for pleasure, we would be mistaken. This man will generally, if obliviously, dig deeply into his deepest desires and find a mother substitute. She will be in charge of the physical logistic sphere and seem to rule most of what they do in the social world from her throne. To the Toddler Man, sex is not as important as being comfortable, so he will choose a “mother-hen” to keep him warm and cozy. A woman who is happy with this arrangement will also be likely to be somewhat slovenly and unkempt, usually taking to being plump like her “ward”. She will be minimally feminine and sociable enough to fulfill his need for both small distractions and an organizing factor to his scattered attention span. Men have a wide variety of wandering, confused women who want to be in charge of someone to choose from in the post-feminism world. Any lady who wanted a real gentleman to associate with would recognize that while a Toddler Man could be forced out into reality, he would remain an infantile personality who would need constant baby sitting.
What was the genesis of this monkey-like creature called the Toddler Man?
If you know of the ideals of Rousseau, of the “Noble Savage”, there is a clear line of social philosophy that led to the conditions under which this sort of humanoid can not just exist, but thrive. This is the idea that humanity is innately good and that even if left un-molded by law and civility will choose what is ultimately best for him self and others. It held that the primitive savage was more likely to be “good” than the man “corrupted” by Western civilization. The complicated manners of society are “false” and should be replaced by “natural” (read: casual) ways of communicating and socializing. So the level of expectation has descended, literally, from this point of social philosophy.
The Toddler Man is the apex of perfection/monstrosity in this philosophy which has warped our basic sense of what is appropriate. He is perfectly natural – does not reach beyond what benefits his base appetites. He does not strive for anything higher, no manners or better style can tempt him from his warm nest. As he grows older he will become even more attached to and crawl further into his little “womb” of coddled protection. Sadly, some of the more crude attributes of “Toddlerism” are now associated with “being a guy”, and are now encouraged and celebrated by men as a whole.