By Matt Collins
During today’s show Tina posed a question about what men in our 20s need in life. The question stemmed from a Buzzfeed article on the same topic, which ranged from common items like a real bed, or health insurance, to more obscure items like a brass knuckle meat tenderizer or a bropener. While I found it easy to blow this article off as a comedic piece, the conversation led me to think about what men in our 20s REALLY need.
I should preface my opinions with several disclaimers. First off, I’m closer to 30 than I am to 20, and I far from have my life figured out. I don’t need to exhaust you with details about my finances, or the activities I choose to engage in during my free time (spoiler alert: video games are involved), but let me just say that I am far from the Messiah of 20-somethings. Secondly, everyone’s living situation is different, and these ideas might not be 100% universal. Finally, I understand that many of us in our 20s are still undergrads in college, and this list really applies for those of us in grad school or beyond.
With that being said, here’s my list of what I think every man in his 20s needs:
– A real bed: Probably the thing I agree with the most from the Buzzfeed article. Seriously, you’re an adult with responsibilities now, and that 1/3 of your life you spend sleeping will become much more precious as you get older. A decent bed doesn’t have to break the bank, and your sleep quality will improve immensely. Plus, when you do bring someone over to your place, that person will probably appreciate this!
– The ability to live alone: I’m not saying you NEED to live alone in your 20s, but I definitely think it’s something you should be prepared to do. Roommates can be a great way to save money, but eventually you will grow tired of Jack yelling at a 12-year-old while playing Call of Duty until 4am! Sure, living alone is more expensive…but after an exhausting day at work, being able to come home a kick back in silence until you’re ready to watch some Netflix is totally worth it!
– A plan: This doesn’t mean you have to have your life and finances all sorted out in to a neat little spreadsheet, and hit the panic button if something doesn’t go according to plan! All I’m saying is that “I have NO idea what I want to do with my life” doesn’t fly anymore. By your 20s, you should at least work toward some kind of career goal. Also, do you want kids? Marriage? A house? Expensive things? A life of travel? Have some clue as to what you want out of life. And it’s okay to change your mind! This will be especially important if/when you find yourself getting serious with someone. Which brings me to…
– The ability to date: I get it…dating isn’t easy! Whether the person is a complete stranger, or someone you’ve known since elementary school, whenever you start looking at someone in that way, things can get complicated. But when it comes down to it, far too many guys in our 20s don’t have the first clue of how to date. The first thing you need to remember is that this person agreed to go on a date with you, so clearly they find you desirable enough to at least consider some kind of future contact, so knock off the “what if I’m not good enough” talk! Secondly, the person you’re spending time with is a human being, JUST LIKE YOU. Whether you spend $80 a plate, or go to Applebee’s for BOGO appetizers (NOTE: Not a great first date idea), good conversation usually = a good date. Prepare some questions for this person beforehand. If the person you’re on a date with is shy, be prepared to carry the conversation. And, please, LISTEN!!! It’s important to be able to talk, but people who listen get future dates, and don’t usually suck as people.
– Respect for others: This one segues well from the ability to date. I understand that many of us made mistakes in college and high school. Bullying happened. Drunken nights at the club happened too. You’re in your 20s now, and you can atone for a lot of that crap by learning to respect people. No one is an object, and no one should be treated as such! Never expect anyone to do anything with you or for you. These concepts aren’t difficult. You’re old enough now to know that when you do go to the club, ask someone to dance instead of grinding right up on that person. And if you meet someone who is clearly drunk, the only picking up you should be doing is helping to get that person in to the cab home.
– Laundry skills: No one wants to smell your dirty clothes, and Mom and Dad aren’t here anymore. Please, learn how to do laundry. This is absolutely crucial. And if you say that’s Women’s work, I swear…….
– The ability to seek employment: I understand that the world we 20-somethings live in is very different from the one our parents lived in. Many of us still work at or near minimum wage levels, and we’ve gathered up thousands of dollars in student loan debt. Because of these factors, I’m not going to sit here and preach that you should have a full-time job with full benefits. Sure, this would be great, but I’m a realist sometimes too. What we need is the ability to search for career-oriented positions. If you’re in your 20s and don’t know how to write a resume or cover letter, don’t understand that those Facebook photos from college CAN come back to haunt you, or you don’t get the fact that answering a text during a job interview is a sure-fire way to not get that job, please enroll in a career planning seminar IMMEDIATELY!
– Kitchen skills: No one needs to be able win Iron Chef, but we can’t rely on McDonalds to supply our daily nutrition.
– Reliable transportation: Before you jump all over me for this one, please read! Do you live a mile from work? Have a decent pair of walking shoes? Great! Live in Chicago? Glad to see you got your CTA pass renewed for December! Live in the country? I’m glad you bought that decent used car. The point here is that you’re at the age where it’s completely impractical to rely on your friends for rides. We all get busy, we all have commitments, and we all need to be able to take care of our own transportation needs.
– Friends: Being in your 20s is a challenge! It’s good to have a support system to help you through it. The responsibilities increase. The budgets grow tighter. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t enjoy some downtime hanging out with your buddies when you can.
Again, I’m no expert here, and I’m sure this is an incomplete list to meet everyone’s needs. I can just tell you that, in my experience, these are the critical things guys in our 20s need to function efficiently in this society.
What do you think? Feel free to give your list here.