Women don’t want to date Peter Pan and it’s easy to understand why men get stuck with the Peter Pan label.
What little kid wasn’t inspired by the story of Peter Pan.
He never grows up (nor does he want to), he spends most of his time hanging out with his friends (the Lost Boys), he flirts shamelessly with Tinker Bell, he is an adventurer – if not an adrenaline junkie sparring with Hook, and he completely charms sweet Wendy and her brothers.
J.M Barrie was writing a children’s story not a dating archetype, but today’s lifestyle has turned the idyllic childhood character into a dating nightmare.
Look at the character of Ray on “Girls.” He admits to being a 31-year old loser that works at a coffee shop and has absolutely no career aspirations.
He secretly starts living with his much younger girlfriend (by staying there every night until she realizes he is completely living with her… rent free).
Ray is an honest, smart, charming guy, but totally a Peter Pan type of guy and does nothing to change it.
Guys, stop it!
Why Women Don’t Want to Date Peter Pan
Staying childish and responsibility-free is not only unsexy, it’s unmasculine. For every Peter Pan type of guy, remember Wendy does grow up, leaving Neverland and Peter behind.
Back in 2011 Wall Street Journal ran an article “Where Have the Good Men Gone?” discussing this very issue. It described how, “Today, most men in their 20s hang out in a novel sort of limbo, a hybrid state of semi-hormonal adolescence and responsible self-reliance.”
Most women can recount dating a Peter Pan guy that didn’t have a car, a job, and lived with four other guys in a house that always smelled like wet dog and dirty socks.
Most women don’t live like this.
According to that Wall Street Journal article women, ”graduate from college in greater numbers… and they have higher GPAs. As most professors tell it, they also have more confidence and drive. These strengths carry women through their 20s, when they are more likely than men to be in grad school and making strides in the workplace. In a number of cities, they are even out-earning their brothers and boyfriends.”
No one is saying you can’t take your twenties to figure yourself out, change career goals, continue your education, travel, etc. However, women seem to be better at the figuring it out part.
The Peter Pan guy is a fun boyfriend in college, but he’ll pale in comparison to a hard-working, determined guy in the real world. And fellas, it’s not about the money.
Women want and do earn their own living these days. Don’t confuse women wanting a sugar daddy, for women wanting a real MAN. It’s not fair or attractive to be in a relationship with only one functioning adult.
However, young men can’t get all of the blame.
Hollywood embraces the Peter Pan stereotype. Remember Seth Rogan and Katherine Heigl in Knocked Up? He is the lovable slacker while she is the ambitious career woman.
Millions of dollars have been made from overgrown Peter Pan type actors: Adam Sandler, Will Ferrell, Steve Carell, Seth Rogen, Jason Segel, Ashton Kutcher, etc. However, in real life these actors are hardworking guys. They run production companies, writing and produce films, and are creating a brand for themselves.
Young men are foolish to believe what they portray on film is who they are in real life. They should remember that this Peter Pan lifestyle is the joke of their films. It’s played for laughs.
Guys, you don’t want your life to be a joke, so don’t act like the butt of one. This type of immaturity is acceptable in those growing years. Wanting to spend time with your friends is awesome. Living in a feral environment – not so awesome. It turns from scrappy and charming to pathetic and lame really quickly.
And guys, don’t forget what J.M. Barrie wrote about Wendy, “She was one of the kind that likes to grow up.”
Claudia Maittlen-Harris is a writer and stand-up comedian. She is a regular contributor to The Huffington Post, The Frisky and numerous online publications. Some of her articles on dating and relationships have sparked heated debate on The Today Show with Kathie Lee and Hoda and Good Afternoon America. (Katie Lee agreed with Claudia but Lara Spencer did not!) As a comedian, her sketches have been seen on MTV and CMT, and she’s performed at The Groundlings and Upright Citizens Brigade. Claudia has performed stand-up at The World Famous Comedy Store, The Laugh Factory, The Improv, New York City’s Gotham Comedy Club, in clubs across the country, and has been showcased at the New York Comedy Underground Festival and The Edinburgh Fringe Festival. She currently hosts and produces the comedy pop culture podcast That’s Debatable! Follow her on Twitter and be sure to like her Facebook page.