The Man-Child has two moods: indecision, and entitlement to this indecisiveness.
The Man-Child tells a racist joke. It is not funny. It is the fact that the Man-Child said something racist that is.
The Man-Child wants you to know that you should not take him too seriously, except when you should. At any given moment, he wants to you to take him only as seriously as he wants to be taken. When he offends you, he was kidding. When he means it, he means it. What he says goes.
The Man-Child thinks the meaning of his statement inheres in his intentions, not in the effects of his language. He knows that speech-act theory is passé.
The Man-Child’s irony may be a part of a generational aversion to political risk: he would not call out a sexist or racist joke, for fear of sounding too earnest. Ironically, the Man-Child lives up to a stereotype about the men from the rom-coms he holds in contempt: he has a fear of commitment.
The Man-Child won’t break up with you, but will simply stop calling. He doesn’t want to seem like an asshole.
He tells you he would break up with his girlfriend, but they share a lease.
The Man-Child breaks up with you even though the two of you are not in a relationship. He cites his fear of settling down. You don’t want marriage, at least not with him, but he never thought to ask you.
The Man-Child can’t even commit to saying no.
Why are you crying? The Man-Child is just trying to be reasonable. This is his calm voice.
The Man-Child isn’t a player. Many a Man-Child lacks throw-down. He puts on a movie and never makes a move.
Is Hamlet the original Man-Child? No: the Romantics made him one.
Just as not all men are Man-Children, neither are all Man-Children men.
Lena Dunham may be living proof that the Man-Child is now equal opportunity. That is, the character she plays on Girls is. A real man-child would never get it together to get an HBO show. As we watch Hannah Horvath pull a splinter out of her ass, we wonder: Is this second-wave feminism? Or fourth? It is no accident that Judd Apatow wrote the scene. The mesh tank Dunham wears over bare tits is isomorphic with the dick joke.
The hipster and the douchebag may be subspecies of the genus Man-Child.
If the Man-Child could use his ironic sexism to build a new world, would you want to live in it? Would anyone?”