The male sex has long been synonymous with immaturity in popular culture. Starting with J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan, the story revolved around a boy who escaped to Neverland in order to avoid the realities of imminent maturity. Eventually, in the 1990's, this theme degenerated into Fox's television show Get A Life, which told the story of a 30-year-old paper boy who still lived with his parents in order to escape the impending realities of adulthood. Today, the “Peter Pan” theme is still relevant, featured in such films as Old School, Failure to Launch, and Step Brothers.
In genres of entertainment, the stifled, unevolving male never goes out of style. It's like the little black dress for women. However, just because Will Ferrell does it and gets a laugh, doesn't make it right (or always funny). There are some things every grown adult male (and female) should know how to do or be doing in order to keep their adult card from being revoked.
1. Doing Your Own Taxes
It used to be a long and complicated process 30 or 40 years ago. Nowadays, you can do it online and be done within 30 minutes. Not only does doing your taxes make you feel independent and smart, but it also makes you aware of your finances. Some web sites where you can do your taxes online include turbotax.com and taxACT.com.
2. Resisting the Temptation of Online Chain Letters
At one point in time (before the advent of the Internet), chain-letter writing was an art. You had to make copies (sometimes hand-written) and mail them to all of your friends (the short cut would have been writing the letters and then tossing them in the garbage yourself). The Internet allows dozens of chain letter forwards to be sent out at the click of a mouse. Adult logic should tell you that no one is going to die if you don't send this letter, nor is the cutie you met at the bar last night going to magically remove his or herself from the lame significant other they were lugging around and pledge their love to you instead. However, adults give in to this temptation because it's something to believe in. If the whole church and God thing isn't doing it for you, you've at least got a chain letter to rely on. It even says at the bottom usually, “Don't break this. It really works!” — which in a sense, seems to be the message of almost every religion.
3. Knowing How to Sew a Button
It can be debilitating for someone to put away a coat, never to use it again, simply because he or she can't fasten a button to a piece of fabric. Here's all you need: a sewing needle, some thread, and the button. Then, type “how to sew a button” into a search engine and you get all the help you need — even videos. It only takes a few minutes to learn. In fact, let me google that for you.
Now, instead of waiting around for your mother to do it the next time you see her, you suddenly have the control to wear that favorite button-down shirt that's been tossed aside for weeks. To quote Captain Planet, “The Power is Yours!” (Little known fact, the sixth power after Earth, Fire, Wind, Water, and Heart was “Sewing”.)
4. Reacting to Your Friend's Pregnancy with “Congratulations” Rather than an Expletive
Somewhere in the middle of adulthood, pregnancy becomes okay. It seems crazy at first. Doesn't everyone spend their high school and college years avoiding pregnancies? Suddenly, your wild and crazy lush of a roommate who hooked up with all the Thetas is toting a camcorder and trading in his two-door coupe for a four-door with a car seat.
Since the dawn of pimples, teenagers and young adults have been trained by everyone from Seventeen Magazine to a few select episodes of Blossom to avoid pregnancy like an oncoming ghost in a Pac Man game. “Run the other way and eat those cherries instead!” Then, suddenly, it's “okay?” “Let the ghost eat me?” When did this happen?
Think of it this way. You don't have to be ready for or want your friend's life, but you can still update your reaction and get on board with the idea that you are growing older. Realize that your counterparts are going to get bored and procreate (this is all before they realize a kid won't save their marriage and they divorce, of course).
5. Cleaning the Tub or Toilet.
Jerry Seinfeld once said to George Costanza (on women): “When she comes over, you're cleaning up a lot? You do the tub? On your knees, Ajax, scrubbing? Tub is love.” Not only is tub “love,” but it's one step closer to adulthood. The bathroom is a room long neglected by young adults. In college, the bathroom was a shared area that everyone acknowledged as grody and gross. Even when you thought you upgraded with college housing, the bathroom was still neglected, only to be cleaned after out-of-control Christmas parties and keggers.
However, neglecting the tub and toilet results in dirt rings — the same dirt rings you left in your dorm for the incoming freshman, the same rings you were left as an incoming freshman. While scrubbing the tub and toilet might not be something cool and anecdotal you'll want to bring up at your next get-together, it will certainly catch the eye of your next date when he or she goes to use the restroom. “Hmmm. A clean bathroom. What a catch!”