By Lynn Ruth Miller
What I look forward to is continued immaturity followed by death.
Dave Barry
What has happened to the All-American Man? You know: the tough, hard-hitting, straight-shooting hero, the family breadwinner? He protected his Little Woman, fought the enemy, drank hard liquor and never cried. Remember him?

He was tall with bulging pectoral muscles and a mighty attitude. When he went out into the business world he dressed in a gray flannel suit, a starched white shirt with a proper four-in-hand tie and a clean handkerchief in the lapel pocket. He wore garters to hold up his socks and his shoes were polished every morning. He shaved with a straight-edge and never cut his chin (much).

During the week, he went bowling with his buddies and when the weather was nice, he grabbed his rifle took the dog into the woods and shot things (just like the English). He gutted his kill himself (man’s work) his wife fricasseed it (women’s work) and the taxidermist stuffed what was left and hung it above the fireplace.

If a real man worked outside, he wore heavy trousers, a flannel shirt and boots to keep his feet dry and a cap with ear flaps. When he relaxed he wore a soft collar sport shirt, slacks and loafers. Once a guy reached maturity NO ONE saw his chest or his knees in public. Sometimes when he forgot to turn off the light, his wife got a glimpse of a hairy thigh or a furry nipple, but she was far too worried about the perfume she was wearing and the provocative qualities of the nightie she hoped he would tear to pieces to notice her significant other’s nether parts.

When I was a little girl, I never ever saw my father dressed in anything that exposed any part of his body but his face and hands. He was the man of the house and he covered up the hairy bits. That was The American Way.

These days, I cannot walk out of my house without being accosted by uncut hair, misshapen calves and bulging ankles. (Socks are out.) American men like being a boy. “I am sick to death of looking at men’s hairy shins,” says Glenn Havlan a father who likes being an adult. “I see men pick up their kids from school who look more like children than their children. They think cargo shorts and a baseball cap is cool.”
Columnist, George Will agrees. ”We live in a culture of immaturity where many young men are reluctant to grow up,” he observed. He quotes Gary Cross, a Penn State University historian, who wonders, "Where have all the men gone?" Cross argues that "the culture of the boy-men today is less a life stage than a lifestyle."
Havlan blames TV shows like Everyone Loves Raymond that perpetuate the image of the helpless male and the bitchy wife who clucks her tongue and rolls her eyes at her guy’s infantile behavior. “All those guys think of is golf and their dick,” said Havlan. “Programs like that make the American male think he is exempt from adult concerns.”
Cross blames the huge increase of women in the modern work force. He says men don’t know how they are supposed to act anymore, especially if they are the ones who stay at home and watch the kids. Fathers think they should be their children’s buddies instead of respected authority figures. Indeed, our new cultural imperatives have locked men into a perpetual refuge from adulthood.
Perhaps feminism reduced men to children, but wives and partners are doing their part, too. American women love to mother their guys. We say we are liberated, but we still do the grocery shopping on our way home from the office, vacuum the floor and do the dishes. The truth is that these days, men cannot even dress themselves. The website Style Pilot reports that the wives of two thirds of the men they surveyed select their guy’s clothes and more than half actually help them button up and get zipped. Of course, men are still very good at undressing their gals. Getting yourself back together and hiding the evidence is definitely a girl thing.
What is worse, when men try to do housework, they are so inept that their overworked female partners have to do the job all over again. No wonder we think they are stupid. Author Kay Hymowitz says that these days young men shun former masculine responsibilities and prefer to stay home with their parents. They while away the hours watching TV, dressing like school boys with goatees and expanding their middles on Mother’s apple pie (it is an American thing). “With women moving ahead in our advanced economy, husbands and fathers are now optional, and the qualities of character men once needed to play their roles – fortitude, stoicism, courage, fidelity – are obsolete, even a little embarrassing,” writes Hymowitz.
Her conclusion? American men just don’t know what they are supposed to be anymore.
And that is why I love Brighton. Everyone there knows exactly what they are supposed to be. The men who hanker after women, open doors for them, pay for their drinks and bed them as often as possible. (Women like that, by the way) The men who prefer men, dress in colorful shirts and stock up on free condoms and pick up guys in gay bars because that’s where they are, and the men who want to be women wear designer gowns and sing Karaoke. Any male who wants to be a boy is sent off to public school where he eventually figures out that the only way to feel human is to get the hell out of there and grow up. No doubt about it. In Brighton, you can tell what’s what and who’s who. In America, it’s a crapshoot.
You can only be young once. But you can always be immature.
Dave Barry (again)