Created By: grinch on January 25, 2013 Last Edited By: grinch on February 20, 2013
Troped

Men Are Childish

Men in general, or a specific man, are compared to little boys who never grew up.

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"The only difference between men and boys is the price of their toys."

Men in general, or a specific man, are called out (often by their wives or lovers, and almost always by a woman) as still behaving like a little boy. The woman in question does not have to be someone who Does Not Like Men, but can see herself as someone who loves and tolerates a man or men despite their supposed immaturity.

Involves an interpretation of some masculine attributes as involving an immature lack of restraint etc.

An example of a gender-related double standard, as the reverse occurs less frequently (and/or is difficult to pull off effectively due to women's history as the non-dominant gender).

See also Parenting the Husband and Man Child.

Examples:

Advertising:
  • In a commercial for McDonald's a man about to embark on a honeymoon with his new wife gets an important text: the Mc Rib is back!
    Husband: I'm gonna miss it.
    Wife: I married a 14 year old.

Film:
Marylin Rexroth: "I though he'd outgrown trains."
Gus Petch: "They never grow up, they just get tubby."

Literature:
Vorzheva: Men! You are all just little boys...

Live Action TV:
  • This occurs at least twice in Granada's production of Sherlock Holmes starring Jeremy Brett:

    • From the episode "The Man with the Twisted Lip", Mrs Whitney refers to her cocaine-addicted husband:
Mrs Whitney: I sometimes wonder, if men really truly grow up; it seems they remain little boys forever. Do you wonder about that Mrs Hudson?
Mrs Hudson: No Mrs Whitney, I don’t wonder about it. I know it! And they always need us to kiss them better afterwards! In a manner of speaking of course.

    • The episode based on "The Dying Detective" involved a dinner party where several distinguished gentlemen were trying out the latest fad from one of their clubs, namely running and sliding across a polished wooden floor on a rug.
Woman 1: Do you think the men will be mortified if we don't cheer them on at their silly game?
Woman 2: I daresay they will. It's almost a reason for not doing it. But for the sake of harmony, we indulge little boys.

  • Long-running comedy Last of the Summer Wine embodies this trope - the three central characters, and the cast of occasional characters around them, are all men in their sixties and seventies regressing to adolescence, fourteen year old minds in senior bodies. Freed from the need to work, the cast of retirees get into scrapes more appropriate to teenage boys. Compo is the worst, especially in his unquenchable pursuit of battleaxe Norah Batty. who, along with the women of the town, treats the men as a childish nuisance.

  • In the Doctor Who serial The Time Warrior, Sarah is told by a medieval scullery overseer that "men are like children, fond of noise and roaring".

Theatre:
  • In the musical of Pendragon, the following occurs:
King Arthur: "I command you..."
Queen Guinevere: "A petulant little boy!"

Western Animation:

Real Life:
  • German author Erich Kästner (nowadays mostly known for his children's books like The Parent Trap or Emil Und Die Detektive, although he also did more serious stuff) stated: "Most people throw away their childhood like an old hat. They forget it like an invalid phone number. Only those who grow up and still stay children are humans."
Community Feedback Replies: 15
  • January 25, 2013
    Chabal2
    Marylin Rexroth: "I though he'd outgrown trains."
    Gus Petch: "They never grow up, they just get tubby."
    • Sherlock Holmes (it might have been the Granada series): one episode (expanded from "The Dying Detective") had a dinner party where several distinguished gentlemen were trying out the latest fad from one of their clubs, namely running and sliding across a polished wooden floor on a rug. In another room, their wives were discussing how similar their husbands were to little boys, they must be indulged from time to time in order to have some peace and quiet.
  • January 25, 2013
    StarSword
    In its current form this violates No New Stock Phrases. I do think there's a trope here, but it requires a rewrite and we may already have it anyway.
  • January 25, 2013
    Koveras
    A quote:

    "The only difference between men and boys is the price of their toys."
  • January 25, 2013
    Antigone3
    ^^ I've seen a few cases where some form of the phrase "men who didn't grow up" is potholed to Mommas Boy, but that isn't actually in the Momma's Boy trope description.
  • January 25, 2013
    Cassis
    In pop culture this is called the Peter Pan Syndrome. (The codifying book: http://www.amazon.com/Peter-Pan-Syndrome-Never-Grown/dp/0380688905/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1359139042&sr=1-1&keywords=peter+pan+syndrome ) I'm not exactly sure what your rules are on tropes named after specific characters though.
  • January 27, 2013
    grinch
    Peter Pan Syndrome sounds fine - certainly gets around the No Stock Phrases rule. I've edited it now, and also added the examples provided by Chabal2 and the quote from Koveras.
  • January 29, 2013
    Frank75
    Some thoughts (that may rather fit to Analysis):

    German author Erich Kästner [[note]]nowadays mostly known for his children's books like The Parent Trap or Emil Und Die Detektive, although He Also Did more serious stuff[[/note]] stated: "Most people throw away their childhood like an old hat. They forget it like an invalid phone number. [...] Only those who grow up and still stay children are humans."

    One could see this as a more positive spin. Although it is true he was a Mommas Boy.

    Before I write more, I would like to hear your thoughts.

    Also, are there some works that deal with men who have this changing? If yes, which ones, and how does it work? If not, why not?
  • January 29, 2013
    randomsurfer
    In a commercial for McDonalds a man about to embark on a honeymoon with his new wife gets an important text: the McRib is back!
    Husband: I'm gonna miss it.
    Wife: I married a 14 year old.
  • January 29, 2013
    Treblain
    I think this is a bad name. Peter Pan Complex or Syndrome is an existing term, though it's not recognized psychology and there's a fancier Latin name for the idea.

    The real problem is that this trope isn't about adult men who don't want to grow up, but about people scorning adult men when they act immature in some respect. Peter Pan Syndrome would have to actually be about the character trait, or else it's going to be misused.
  • January 29, 2013
    McKathlin
    Man Child and Parenting The Husband are this trope applied to an individual man. I don't think we have a generalized Men Are Childish trope; we could use one. Women Are Wiser and Men Are Uncultured are related, but they don't quite hit the nail on the head.
  • January 30, 2013
    grinch
    Renamed, and added examples. Thoughts, additions and other changes welcome.
  • January 30, 2013
    McKathlin
    I'd like to see the description include a "see also" paragraph for related tropes. The tropes mentioned ^^above may be a good starting point.
  • January 30, 2013
    AgProv
    Television: long-running comedy Last of the Summer Wine embodies this trope - the three central characters, and the cast of occassional characters around them, are all men in their sixties and seventies regressing to adolescence, fourteen year old minds in senior bodies. Freed from the need to work, the cast of retirees get into scrapes more appropriate to teenage boys. Compo is the worst, especially in his unquenchable pursuit of battleaxe Norah Batty. who, along with the women of the town, treats the men as a childish nuisance.
  • January 30, 2013
    NESBoy
  • February 7, 2013
    grinch
    Examples added. I have tagged it Up For Grabs too, so anyone is welcome to edit.
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