New York Magazine recently ran an article about the 30-somethings of the early 2000s, men and women who prefer jeans to dockers, tennis shoes to loafers, messenger bags to briefcases or purses, Urban Outfitters or Diesel to Sears and rock concerts to not being tired at work the next day and are listening to music their children turned them on to or are introducing their children to new and interesting bands. Enter the Grup.
Grup (pronounced groop) is short for "grownup" and is apparently a term pulled from an ancient episode of Star Trek in which the crew lands on a planet inhabited entirely by people who, as children, lived through a virus that killed off all the adults leaving them to fend for themselves and create a world in which they want to live. They called the Starship Enterprise crew "Grups." In 2006, the word means hipsters with money they spend on expensive strollers and technology and $600 jeans. In Star Trek, the parentless ones, as adults, were simply Peter Pans, every single last one of them. And why shouldn't they have been?
Whose idea was it, anyway, to define "adult" as some cardboard-cutout creature who is married with children, who owns a sordid tangle of pleated shorts and penny loafers, who tucks shirts into jeans and uses corny braided belts to accessorize said jean/tucked-shirt combos, who carries purses, who sports a blushered face and polished nails, who loves the 9 to 5 and suits and high heels and ties and budget meetings and workplace facades and "playing the game," who keeps up with the Joneses and who lets a Lexus SUV, Celine Dion album and once-a-year cruise or trip to Vegas define oneself?
But enough about my parents, the models for my idea of "adult" as well. In many ways, I still feel like a kid. But does it really matter...
That I'd come to work in my pajamas if I could?
That most of the music composed by many of the bands I listen to is created using computers and not "real" instruments?
That I own and sometimes play video games including one titled "Redneck Rampage" where your character eats pork rinds and drinks beer for nourishment, urinates and slays people, farm animals and invading aliens with shotguns, axes and chainsaws?
That I would travel hours and hours to see a favorite band in concert - and have?
That I take spontaneous road trips ALL BY MYSELF despite the fact that I don't have every detail planned out and the supposed fact that a stranger is just DYING to murder and/or rape me?
That I still have convictions that don't include cleaning the entire house once a week and making sure my "slacks" and "blouses" are crisply ironed for work?
That I think it's cool when I see babies in combat boots?
That I think it's cool when I see myself in combat boots?
That my hair is frequently a luxurious shade of reddish purple?
That I collect postcards and kooky refrigerator magnets?
That I own tons of T-shirts? And WEAR them?
That I still read? Books? Entire books? Entire books written by people whose last names aren't Crichton, Steel, Cussler, Collins, Roberts, Koontz or Grisham?
That I don't subscribe to Golf Digest , Martha Stewart Living or O, The Oprah Magazine?
I have been supporting myself since I was 16. I pay my taxes. I hold down a (nontraditional) job. I put myself through college. I have credit cards. I pay my bills on time. I have an outstanding credit score. I eat well and exercise (now). I vote.
What makes one an "adult" these days? Do I really want to be one?