We start off by talking about Things that Look Cool at 25 that Don’t Look Good at 45. Among the easy targets: smoking, excessive drink, raucous behaviour and being obnoxious. But what about people who try to “grow up” too fast, and are “prematurely mature?” Does their juvenile side come out later in life? Paul expresses deep gratitude that his biology at forty-one is well-aligned with his current station in life, as a committed, focused man. The tradeoffs of marriage would have been too difficult for him ten years ago. Some men aren’t necessarily heading in the direction of a monogamous, pair-bonded reality: Pete knows some accomplished, charming men who’ve chosen to cohabitate with like-minded heterosexual men rather than move in with girlfriends. Paul questions the sustainability of that model and wonders how it looks at 50 or 60, a bunch of ageing men running around a house share. Do men who get love, support and community from their buddies really have a need for women? Pete brings up the case of ladies in Japan who frequent “host bars” where they engage in deep conversation with attractive and intelligent men. Once the women have been vocally stimulated, they pay the bill and leave – no need for a real man and his awkward needs. Is this the direction of Western society? Returning to Things that Look Cool at 25, Pete regales us with stories of his 20s spent at York House, a fraternity-style living situation in central London. For his part, Paul shares that all the unpredictability and casualness of that situation would never fly now, when as a couple he and his wife are focused on security and, inevitably, private property. To end the episode, the guys touch on shame and judgement. Paul asks the question, “Where does shame come from?” His conclusion is that it comes from judgement, both of ourselves and by others. When we don’t meet our standards for ourselves in any area of life, we feel shameful. Pete’s insight is that for ambitious folks, shame and guilt are ever-present companions: standards are so impossibly high that individual efforts routinely and continually fall short. Finally, Pete asserts that the concept of guilt factors heavily into all Abrahamic faiths: “Catholic guilt comes from God; Jewish guilt comes from your mother.”

Diapers Off! © 2017.

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