Grow Up

I've read a lot of dire stuff written about the dudebro misogycom The Hangover, not least of which reports of its box office receipts (sob), but this piece by Marc Hirsh may well take the cake:
The Hangover, you see, is a raunchy, R-rated boy comedy that ends at a wedding. So was I Love You, Man. And Wedding Crashers. And The 40-Year-Old Virgin. And American Wedding (the third movie in the venerable American Pie franchise.)

That should be surprising, considering that weddings are, in moviethink, the exclusive province of women. That's how you get 27 Dresses, Made Of Honor and Bride Wars.
No, how you get 27 Dresses, Made of Honor, and Bride Wars is a bunch of lazy, misogynist execs who run the lazy, misogynist film studios in the lazy, misogynist town called Hollywood that's the epicenter of our lazy, misogynist mainstream pop culture in which substituting eleventy million lazy, misogynist variations on the princess-finds-her-prince tale for real stories about women is considered the best possibly strategy to try to attract that consternating Woman demographic which—inexplicably!—doesn't spend as much at the movies as their (straight, white) male counterpart, whose lives have been told on film in every infinitesimal aspect from the Earth to the Moon and back again.

But I digress. We were talking about The Hangover.

Hirsh's piece essentially boils down to his contention that "raunchy, R-rated boy comedies" can't be all bad if they end in a wedding!
[T]here's something to the fact that all the debauchery, all of the bad behavior, all of the boys-will-be-boys-ness ultimately leads to simple connubial bliss in the end.

…As much as their experiences in the movie change [the dudez of The Hangover], it turns them into better husbands and fathers. It's the same message that can be gleaned from the conclusions of so many other raunchy, R-rated boy comedies. They might as well be saying, "See? Give us enough time and we'll still do the right thing! What are you so worried about, ladies?" As it turns out, The Hangover isn't about men gone wild, it's about their domestication.
And once again, here's where a little dose of feminism might be useful for the blokes: Consenting to one's "domestication"—obligingly, reluctantly—is a terrible idea. It's a commitment to a concept, rather than a person, from which only a slow erosion of one's personhood and ambition will result, a betrayal of self. And it's no gift to your partner, or your kid, either.

We are meant to grow up before we promise ourselves to anyone else, instead of expecting marriage, or parenthood, to magically turn us into adults who want those things, after the fact. We are not meant to ask our partners and kids to patiently wait for us (or, worse yet, help us) to grow into the person we promised them we already were—someone ready, someone who wanted them.

That is not an argument against marriage, nor parenting. It is an argument against axiomatically regarding marriage and/or parenting as the best choice(s) for everyone. It isn't "doing the right thing" to agree to become a husband, or a father, if you don't want it, deeply and unequivocally.

This is also not a treatise that leaves no room for making mistakes, for the follies of youth and the unintentional pain we all have the capacity to inflict on others, for unavoidable broken hearts. Sometimes what starts out right, goes wrong.

But if you're still a selfish, immature asshole who thinks blackout bachelor parties in Vegas are awesome, and you treat getting married or being a father like it's doing someone else a favor, just being a stand-up guy, then you're not doing the right thing. Not even close. You're doing the expected thing.

And there is a vast chasm of difference.

No one benefits, no one, from talking about entering marriage, or taking on parenthood, as getting domesticated and doing the right thing. Marriage and parenthood entail obligations, but we are not obliged to embark on either journey in the first place.

We have choices. Watching arrested adolescents make the wrong ones like some rite of passage into an adulthood they aren't even sure they want is sorrowful, and hardly cause for huzzahs.

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