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Way back when, during a time that wasn’t 2017, before Tinder and Bumble and online dating, romantic relationships were a sacred thing.Not that I would personally know, considering I’ve only been alive 20-something years. I learned about Word Press and Hootsuite and Gawker and Wii from twenty-ish friends. Millennial hipsters (who don’t dress hip—their hipsters are dorks) are militant nostalgists. They watch go-go dancers (feminist radical lesbian ones.) They grow beards— not hippie beards, but retro-sexual Civil War ones, paired with handlebar mustaches. Prose novels about nothing, printed preciously and packaged beautifully, thanks to the influential Mc Sweeney’s empire. Boomers’ countless faults aside, let’s give them this: they knew what they wanted. These things simply are (if you believe, many do not). The old were reserved, quiet and conservative, even reactionary. Neil Howe and William Strauss’ landmark book “Generations,” which traces the identities of American generations through popular culture and politics back to the colonial era, depicts dozens of epic clashes between old codgers vs. Millennials are old and naive and earnest and retro. Opening concert greeting: “Hey.” Graphic novels where it takes six pages for a leaf to fall off a tree. After decades of warnings, the planet is finally, really, irreversibly, ruined. One problem with writing about generational politics is that it requires sweeping generalizations. And of course there’s absolutely nothing anyone can do about it. Gen Xers get along well with people in their twenties and thirties—certainly a lot better than those in their forties did with us when we were young. To be clear, we Xers think you Millennials are awesome. We don’t chafe, for example, at working under a younger boss. They’ve revived the ancient traditions of our grandparents: martinis, old-fashioned cocktails like grasshoppers and mint juleps and, well, old fashioneds. They open restaurants— really good restaurants—whose menus and aesthetics harken back to the 19th century, staffed by waiters who take everything very seriously. Gentle, chatty movies and TV shows, not a series of scenes, but rather riffs of tone and mood. Another is that you risk pissing people off—people you like. ) Maybe the Millennials secretly hate us—you’d have to ask them—but if they do, they’re doing an excellent job of hiding it. The young were loud, obnoxious, demanding and politically radical. We voted Green Party and never looked back, or for Obama but never expected much. Millennial pop culture is about flat affect: mumblecore movies and all-attitude-no-plot TV shows like “Arrested Development,” emo-influenced music, giant dollops of special nostalgia sauce everywhere, every member of every band dressed like they’re showing up to roof your house (but with Taliban beards). Which was one of the things Xers hated about Boomers (Xers hate a lot): they came so close to revolution and they friggin’ gave up. They’ve been horribly screwed—even more than us Gen Xers, and make no mistake, we were hosed big time. They will never make much money or get any government benefits or get much of anything out of the system. They devote their free time to movies about comic-book heroes, to video games and to fantasy football. But perhaps what we really need to do is put on suits and take our wives out for expensive dinners, like our dads before us.” That burns. My fogey parents proselytized about Benny Goodman and Benny Hill and the Four Tops, and guess what, it didn’t take. Sometimes, though—it’s not like it comes up a lot, just now and then—my Gen Xer cohorts let slip a complaint about our younger friends and colleagues: Why are Millennials, um, well, there’s no other way to say it: kind of boring? Though decried at the time as sad and alienating, the dynamic of that demographic divide was as natural as could be. The old get older and quieter, the young mature and gain influence and replace them. Just as their parents looked down on them, Boomers looked down on us Xers. We’re middle-aged and cynical and our tastes run to smart and sarcastic and anti-PC and antiauthoritarian, Tarantino/postpunk. Millennials didn’t just expect real Hope and Change. When they got radical, they came up with the blink-and-you-missed it Occupy Movement, which had as its centerpiece calls to reenact the Glass-Steagal Act. That, I think, gets close to the mystery of the Millennials. We’re too busy holding down four jobs.) Parents, they say, shouldn’t have to bury their own children. That it’s our (X’s) fault that Y hasn’t made its own mark: “The old generational identities that once defined us have broken down, and the net result is a messy temporal mash-up in which fortysomethings act like skateboarders, twentysomethings dress like the grandfather from My Three Sons, tweens attend rock concerts with their parents and toddlers are exposed to the ethos of hardcore punk.” And it’s up to Gen X to fix it (like everything else, apparently): “I know guys whose style of dress and off-duty interests haven’t changed a lick since college. Anyway, I don’t buy Hyman’s argument that passing the torch of our old cool (the Ramones, Beastie Boys) to the young “shortchanges” the young and makes us oldsters infantile.
No matter which way you spin it, landing yourself in a committed relationship seems to be, by millennial standards, “the wrong idea.” I want to believe that selected only their most salacious interviewees to quote, but I know that’s not true. Millennials go along to get along in corporate America. Gen Xers, a self-deprecating generation from the beginning (what do you expect?would have you believe, is evolving into an elaborate charade of deception: Everybody is petrified of giving someone the “wrong idea.” Men are impolite to the point of viciousness to ensure that the women they just hooked up with understand they don’t want a relationship.So, you wouldn't necessarily expect the sex to be that great, because you're just kind of trying people out,” Wade concludes.Every 20 years, Time magazine depicts people in their 20s as “lazy, entitled, selfish and shallow.” This time the target is the Millennial generation (Americans born between roughly 19, with Baby Boomer parents).
There have never been more advantages to relationships with older men, precisely because Tinder and its ilk have made dating feel impossible to those of us who don’t want to participate in the battle of who-cares-less.