Recent studies have shown that middle-class American parents are basically the most permissive and indulgent parents in the world: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304450004577277482565674646.html#
I'm tempted to advance an academic argument here: the idea of childhood has always been imaginatively created and curated by adults, and the current Western conception of childhood as a privileged time of innocence, freedom, and exploration (rather than sinfulness, vulnerability to disease, and dependency/labor source) is only a couple of hundred years old, and really came into its own during the Victorian era/late modern period. "Childhood" emerges as a relative category, a foil to help us understand adulthood. We expect childhood to be the opposite of adulthood, a time to indulge in all the things we are subsequently expected to reject and leave behind. So basically, parents who themselves feel constrained by their choices, burdened with unfulfilling work, and constantly policed/judged by social expectations to be clean, orderly, and respectful will permit their children to do the opposite in order to vicariously live through them.
Also there's always the terrifying possibility that your child will grow up and write one of those tell-all memoirs describing the torturous way you made them pick up their own toys. Give them whatever they want!
@RNL Ehhh, I disagree that hygiene is a nitpicky or "shallow" thing to be gotten over. I mean, yes, we're all faking being competent humans super hard all the time, but the reason why we jump on first impressions is that you can infer a lot of significant data from those first impressions. Somebody who doesn't brush their teeth seems like someone who can't take care of themselves. I look at a guy with nasty teeth and I think (a.) Do not want to make out with and (b.) Am I going to have to schedule all his doctor's appointments for him, like I'm his mother? (Teeth are also one of America's subtle/not-so-subtle reference points for determining social class, which I would say is a shameful thing to care about, but not a "shallow" one.)
A completed dissertation, scones, AND amazing fingernails? You win at life!
@PistolPackinMama Oh my god I would love texts between Lord Peter and Harriet Vane SO HARD.
@collier My dad just got a smartphone, and we showed him how to do voice to text. He loves it to death, but we now receive daily updates in a slightly garbled robot translation. Also sometimes he forgets to turn it off and there's just a lot of random nonsense bits of conversations he is having. He signs them all "Dad," despite the fact that it is a text.
LW5, clearly this Dude and Lady are kind of terrible and that is not useful advice. Seriously, I'm also perpetually single and I sympathize with most of your list. You are probably awesome! I think the reason why you are alone is probably just Standards. Like, do you really want to date someone on Intervention, really? I would be willing to bet there are people hovering in the peripheries of your life ("Friendzone," kind of a horrible word/concept) who would be your boyfriend, but you are not into them, and that's fine. If the choice is "lower your standards" or "hang out by yourself, be generally happy," I prefer the latter. I find that, while I like the *idea* of having a boyfriend, the day-to-day practicalities of arranging your life around another person are irritating, so that person better be Worth It.
@themegnapkin Oh man, Gaudy Night! I read the whole Wimsey-Vane arc my first year of college in one gulp, and I didn't have a car at the time, so when the library didn't have Busman's Honeymoon I took two buses to get to the Barnes and Noble at 10 o'clock at night.
I suspect I should Eternal Sunshine it, because it ruined me for normal human relationships where people don't propose in Latin.
When I was 13 or 14, I went to a fortune teller with a couple of friends. She looked at my palm and told me, "True Love, I see, is not for you." Even though I do not legitimately believe in psychics, that obviously made an impression on my fragile, teenage-outcast self. She also told me that (True Love not withstanding) I would get married, have a couple of kids, get divorced, and then (weirdly) get a hysterectomy in late middle age. Somehow I both believed the no-true-love thing, and disregarded all the rest of that, mainly because I came from a family of Making It Work, and I KNEW I would never get divorced.
Depressing footnote: 15 years later, I've never been in love with anybody.
@frigwiggin Ahahah I briefly dated a guy I referred to to friends as "that guy who might be a serial killer." I told him he had a Patrick-Bateman-style-vibe and he was like, "Why does everybody keep saying that?!"
He was not, to my knowledge, a serial killer, but he does still occasionally send me crazy texts.
@Hammitt Ahhh I just posted the same above!