Manchildren: Hong Kong is full of them.
Meaning “an immature man,” the term ‘manchild’ was said to have been invented by Nobel Prize laureate William Faulkner, a celebrated writer of the first half of the 20th century. Or, as an Urban Dictionary entry explains: “a male who is ‘of age’ but still has the emotional/mental capacity of a child.”
So exactly how do Hong Kong’s manchildren manifest their immature actions? Let me count the ways.
There are grown men who rely on their mothers to make them breakfast, pick up their mail, and pay their bills.
I know more than one guy who would stumble home and leave their key inside their front door after entering through it. (Come on! You guys were all close to 30 when this happened!)
Even N, a good friend of mine who helped me navigate moving out on my own, needs me to call him on certain days to ensure he shows up to places on time (once, the wake-up call was at 5pm — he was having a “sleep day”). While on vacation together, we had a heated discussion stemming from the fact that he chose not to bring any of his credit cards on a month-long trip for fear of “uncontrollable spending urges.”
And just last week, I met a man in his late 20s who doesn’t make his bed.
Oh, and my friend was seeing a guy who refuses to eat vegetables. He’s middle-aged.
You might say that these manchild tendencies are somewhat bearable. On a more serious note, however, I wonder if there is something in the air that brings it out in them: the homegrown boys never quite grow up, and those who move here somehow regress to a childlike state.
Last month, I wrote about the shock of finding myself moving to a different pace to my friends abroad. People my age seem to be buying property, getting married and having kids at breakneck speed. But not here in Hong Kong.
Think about all the men you know who stay out until 4am drinking every weekend. Whom you have to pick up after. Who string you along because they can’t bring themselves to tell you that they can’t commit. Who hurt your feelings but claim it’s because they don’t know any better.
What do they have in common? They seem to be lurking around Hong Kong — and there are so very many of them.
A while ago, I was on a sad phone call with my friend C about a guy who, you know, made me sad. She told me that she noticed when this person was out of Hong Kong, he was nothing like how he acted while he was there.
“It’s just Hong Kong, you know…it’s like a playground for them.”
So what do you think it is about Hong Kong that makes grown men manchildren?
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