Dating can be cool (I guess?) but it can also be worse than ISIS, Bill Cosby, and the McRib combined. I went on a first date a few weeks ago and was counting the seconds until the painful interview ended and I could get home to clip my toenails because that would have been about 2937492347 times more exciting. And it doesn’t make it any easier for women in their late twenties-thirties that there are attractive, (seemingly) cool dudes running around town appearing to be adults but they are LITERALLY CHILDREN. Boys in grownup designer suits. Wolves in sheep’s clothing. Shia Labeoufs disguised as Ryan Goslings. GOOD GOD SAVE US ALL. But sometimes you don’t know you’re dating a manchild right away because they can be real slick and sneaky like that, so my new Internet friend (soon to be IRL friend) Jenny Jones and I put together this list so you can easily crack the code.
But before we begin, let’s be clear we’re not man haters here. Sure, we’ve had our fill of atrocious guys in our lives, but we love the male species. I basically hang out with all dudes these days. Jenny does, too. She put me on a group text with two of her dude friends from Austin and I haven’t even met them but we already talked about masturbation. What? Like, I think people forget I’m a girl sometimes. But I digress. And while we’re recognizing the manchild in this article, we know there are a fuck ton of painfully immature, unstable, terrible females running the singles streets as well but this article isn’t about them (maybe there will be a sequel…).
Get your mental pen out for this humdinger of a checklist. How to figure out if you’re dating Shia or Ryan…
1. Does he follow through/communicate?
Really ask yourself if you feel confident he’s going to call you, text you first, text you BACK (for the love of God), make plans to see you, show up when you plan something. If you have a gut feeling he could totally just disappear and not speak to you for a week, a month, or ever again, that sucks big balls and you deserve better. Does he call when he says he’s going to call? Do you know when you make plans that they’re actually going to happen? Because that’s how adults roll–they follow through with shit. Listen, we know life is unpredictable and stuff happens, but when plans fall apart, men offer an explanation and make it up to you. Manchilds say “It’s not a big deal.” If a dude is not making an effort to see you or is constantly bailing, he’s either not that into you (READ THE BOOK AGAIN) or is a kid. Sorry.
2. Is he open-minded?
It’s not cute that he thinks sushi is gross, wine is for snobs, and won’t come to your spin/yoga/whatever class ONCE because it’s “gay.” Sure Boyfriend, I’ll just be over here sipping Pinot Noir at this nice restaurant, but feel free to ask if they have PBR in a can (TRUE STORY THAT HAPPENED). Guys who aren’t willing to try new things because they’re sheltered/unadventurous/worried about what people think are the worst. Find a guy who won’t order the chicken tenders off the kids menu the next time you go out to dinner and thank us later.
3. Can he be away from his friends on a Saturday night without having FOMO?
Listen, we’re all about partying here. We can rage like Miley at a Fashion Week afterparty (pasties and all, what?). But we’re also about Netflix-and-wine-on-the-couch, not waking up with a hangover on the occasional Sunday, and meaningful conversations and quality time with the person we’re dating. There should come a point in every guy’s life when the whole getting-wasted-and-staying-out-til-4-every-weekend gets stale and he’s fine not doing it all the time. If you finally lock down your beau for a low-key evening and he’s checking his phone every 20 minutes and seems antsy/distracted, you have a manchild on your hands. If you’re looking for something more serious, send him to the bar (where he’d rather be anyway) and move on.
4. Does he have a grown-up bed?
NEWSFLASH. Adult beds should not be: A mattress on the floor, a futon, a racecar. (Ok, maybe a racecar bed could be cool if it was a king….). We spend a third of our damn lives sleeping. He is a grownup with a job (hopefully) and financial independence (ish?) so if he’s serious about having a girlfriend to have sex with, he needs to get serious about his bedroom. Get a bed frame, get a headboard, get sheets over 60 thread-count, get it together. And if his room is large enough for a queen or a king, why the hell is there a double bed in there? You know what happens when two adult bodies squeeze into anything smaller than a queen? Literally hell.
And if his place is always a disgusting mess, remove yourself from that caveman disaster. If he doesn’t know how to work a damn Swiffer, they have Groupons for cleaning services. You should not have to hover over his piss-stained toilet and your feet should not be black when you leave his apartment.
4. Can he fix shit (or pay someone to do it)?
Things shouldn’t be broken. When we were younger and something broke, our parents fixed it or we just walked around with a pink Razr phone duct taped together because who cares we were 21 and ballin’ was a habit. If he shatters his cell phone, he should get a new one instead of texting you through No Doubt Spiderwebs for 6 months. You can’t put anything down his garbage disposal because it’s been broken (SINCE 2013)? Fuck that, even I can fix a garbage disposal because I’m not a lazy asshole and I have Google. It’s not cute to be useless and/or look like you can’t be trusted to hold a baby (or an iPhone 6).
6. DOES HE HAVE A JOB (or ambition)?
It was fine to date the hot waiter/funny stoner with no life goals at 22, but not now. You need a guy with a legit career or the drive/ambition to make a legit career happen. I once dated a guy who was broke AF, but he was starting a business he had put a lot of time and work into and I didn’t care that he had no money because I knew he was pursuing his dream and would be successful (spoiler alert: he is now). And keep on high alert about guys who are always “working on something” and talk a big game but nothing ever comes to fruition. And let’s be clear this isn’t about money. Date a teacher, date a sous chef, date a standup comedian–just make sure they either have passion for what they’re currently doing or the ambition/drive/HUSTLE to make a career.
7. Does he take care of himself?
Is he active/concerned about health in the slightest or does he eat Taco Bell every night in front of the TV then smoke a pack of Camels? As we grow up, we should WANT to take care of our bodies and feel good about ourselves; if he’s still in fast-food-every-night land, snorting coke every weekend, and saying he’ll hit the gym/take up a physical activity next year, he might just be a manchild.
8. Does he own a nice suit?
A guy doesn’t need to own a three-piece suit Tom Ford custom designed for him with his bare hands, but GROWN MEN should own nice suits. AT LEAST one. My ex never knew what to wear for nice occasions because he literally did not own the things he needed to wear for nice occasions. Asking us if you should wear the black or the navy suit is one thing (and super cute, we love it), but asking us if your busted khakis and ill-fitting sport coat will work for our friend’s fancy ass wedding is another. And any guy calling us shallow over this one is not an adult (hence proving our point) and needs to get his ass to Suit Supply right now because adulthood, BYE.
9. Does he have a manchild reputation?
Listen, guys can change, and they can change in an instant when the right girl comes along if the timing is right. (I think…or is that just in the movies?) You should never rely completely on hearsay (duh), but don’t ignore a bad reputation either. And especially don’t ignore people you trust when they’re telling you your “boyfriend” is running around sleeping with every 22-year-old in town while you’re at home making him some sentimental love craft you found on Pinterest.
10. Does he bro out on social media?
Is he over-the-top on social media about hitting the club, hot chicks, ALL SPORTS EVERYTHING, etc.? Real men don’t have time for that shit. Guys posting on social media too much is weird anyway (unless they’re legitimately hilarious and have hilarious stuff to say all day long, then it’s ok and please never stop). And if he is constantly sharing stuff from The Chive, RUN GIRL RUN.
In closing, we just want to say not all these things are BAD; they’re simply signs of maturity and readiness for an adult relationship. Guys and girls are always in different stages in their lives and Jenny and I have times we don’t fall into the “grownup” female category, but this is for the lady who want a serious relationship with a mature MAN but is wasting her precious time with a manchild. Best of luck, y’all. It’s a
jungle playpen out there.
Hess + Jenny
Feature image from Mommy Shorts