The Advent Of The Overly-Eloquent Man-Boy

Tis a tale as old as time: boy meets girl, boy and girl partake in heavily inebriated coitus, girl falls victim to “bonding hormone” oxytocin and as a result sprouts feelings in the formerly desolate core of her soul cage. Thus she abandons all sense of social propriety in order to snag the man of her occasionally wet dreams, morphs into the beastly “needy girl” and is publicly shamed for her unfortunate devolution. Jay-Z said it best when he said “it’s a hard knock life”. Why we allow ourselves to stumble like an open wound into the path of hurt and battered feelings is beyond the comprehension of any of us. However, in the unfolding and unspooling of this tale there is a culprit upon which I lay a considerable amount of blame – the words. The sickly sweet and loved up words that pepper the cultivation of any quasi-relationship or pseudo-sex-friendship. There’s a heavy element of persuasion involved in the art of wooing. Wooing with touch, with gestures, with looks and with words. A tenderness and ability to manipulate the words of the world and carve them into sentences that leave many a woman melting and malleable in the arms of her conqueror – her man. So with that in mind it was inevitable that men would seize such an opportunity to further cultivate the art of seduction and thus comes the advent of the over-eloquent man-boy.

Over-eloquent man-boy (n): a “not a boy, not yet a man” with a particular knack for words of the wooing variety.

The over-eloquent man-boy is an enigma. With the rise of the hipster within our society, so too has the population of over-eloquent man-boys flourished. It is now an epidemic. The men of this particular breed are a collective of dissatisfied but not disillusioned youths. They thrive in dimly lit cafe/bars that use hollowed out books as menus. They’re lurking in every corner of your independent art museums. They flit through the aisles of your local second-hand book store and they’re coming for you. If you’ve ever spied a guy in jacquard knitwear, sockless and reading Neruda on a park bench, you’ve encountered an OEMB. If you’ve ever sat through a film only to be lectured extensively afterwards about the superiority of Oliver Stone over Quentin Tarantino, you’ve been “enlightened” by an OEMB. An acquaintance of mine recently played a small gig at an intimate cafe-bar obviously down a hipster-laden laneway. I wasn’t shocked to learn he was to be releasing a self-funded EP shortly. I was even less shocked when he opted to sing a cover of The Smiths ‘There Is A Light That Never Goes Out’. Morrissey would glide solemnly into incoming traffic if he knew his particular brand of sartorial nonchalance, heartfelt and verbose anthems for the youthful and depressed masses were being covered so dispassionately. Or he’d just roll over into a massive pile of money and gladioli and think “fuck it”. Boom! Another OEMB.

My point is that this situation has been a long time coming. The OEMB’s are now amongst us and education is the key to preventing the crumbling of women at the hands of them. The allure of the OEMB is that “he’s not like most guys”. Okay, so he’s not what we would classify as a Type A or alpha male. His athletic ability is probably on par with that of a blind ferret and has not once in his life committed to a gym membership and he will not likely commit to you. Sorry, but I’m not the bad guy. It’s the guy with the words of Keats and Yeats priming you for heartbreak. The OEMB is by his own admission a Romantic and a revolutionary. He’s Che Guevara and Lord Byron rolled into a pair of chinos and a cardigan. He’s probably dreamt of moving to Paris/London/New York to become an artist/musician/poet and his life will be glorious, apparently. But you won’t be in it. He may be desperately popping bubbles of affection in his chest because you and those feelings don’t fit into that life plan of finding oneself on a night of debauchery and epiphany, in which he probably drops an acid tab, makes the sex with a foreign stranger and self-actualizes while gazing whimsically into a European sunrise. I call BS.

I’m calling out the fact that these guys aren’t so different from the garden variety man. They’ve still got that high premium placed on bedding women rather than wedding them and that vision of success being so intrinsically tied to their all-important number. The difference lies in the fact that these are men that aren’t charming you with their bulging muscles, but with their bulging vocabularies and seemingly infinite intellect. They’re thriving because we allow ourselves to be swept up by these man-boys that want to educate us on the finer nuances of the arts and of culture. Because they cannot teach us how to change a tire, build a wardrobe or wrestle a crocodile they will teach us about postmodern film, 1980s post-punk goth rock and 13th century Persian poets. As we live in a society that forbids the ownership of women, or any human being for that matter, men seek to own small parts of us that we inadvertently hand over all too readily. They can own the fact that we can change the oil in our cars, that we love Ernest Hemingway. They own the memories that we have of places, of songs and of feelings we may occasionally come across long after they’ve left. They move through us “like water through wine, and alter the colour of my mind”. (thanks, Emily Bronte). The over-eloquent man-boy will fill you up because he’s aware of all the ways in which he can, and because of that we often undeservingly pedestal them due to their cleverness and that elusive “connection”. He may make you feel like the Kimmy K to his Kanye while he treats you like the Rihanna to his Chris Brown. Ain’t nobody got time for that. You deserve better than the wordsmith with the emotional maturity of a kindergartner. The over-eloquent man-boy is like many things – a trend. He is popular because for a twenty-something year old woman he signifies the transitional period of not-a-girl-not-yet-a-woman. We don’t want the empty and flippant trysts of our teenage years, nor do we want the familiarity and comfort of fully-blossomed commitment. They’re young and seemingly fun and endlessly interesting. The OEMB fills the holes we’ve carved out for them with our wants and needs and our unfortunate lack of genuine fulfilment. So for now I sound an emphatic “nay” to falling into the clutches of an OEMB and opt in favour of singledom, Girls marathons and finally learning to drive…maybe. TC mark

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