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Monday, July 23, 2007

Failure to Launch

I was watching Matthew McConaughey’s and Sarah Jessica Parker’s romantic comedy Failure to Launch, and I was highly entertained by the idea of working as an “interventionist”. I would kill to get that job! Come on … look at it my way … it will get me to date regularly and …. I will get paid for it. The plot was built around Tripp, a 35 year old dude, whose parents were trying to get him to move out of the house. He had a nice job and a passion for sailing. His mother still made his bed, vacuumed his room, picked up his dirty clothes and left his clean laundry for him. She also made him pancakes, eggs, and bacon for breakfast. Sounds familiar?

At first I did not get the point of the movie – so what?! A single adult living with his parents – there is no law against that! Then I realized that in real life, with a subconscious twist, I selectively date men who live on their own. I also noticed that my resentment for guys who still lived with their parents erupts in sarcastic comments, sudden mood swings, unjustified aggression, or implicit punishment sentences. Deep down I would automatically consider him as less mature, less responsible, less reliable, and less worthy when compared to me. In that sense, I would be more experienced and more exposed than he ever was. I know this sounds awfully judgmental but this is how I weigh it.

It took a lot of strength and courage for a single girl like me to move out at the age of 28. Society, family, friends, men, and people who did not even know me frowned upon my decision. In the eyes of some, I was an outcast, for others I was insane, and for the majority I was a question mark. Five years later people still cannot understand my quest for independence and my need for growing into a whole person instead of becoming another female invalid who needs to lean on male crutches. I admit that leaving the nest has its pros and cons; the best thing about it is a sense of pride that only achievers can relate to. The worst thing about it is an utter lack of freedom. Yes! No freedom … responsibilities and bills govern almost every decision I take.

“To leave the nest, some men just need a little push” but what kind of push are we talking about when it comes to our men? How can we push a man away from his mommy’s arms? How can we plant any seeds of responsibility in the soul of men who are so spoilt beyond reconciliation? Unlike parents here, in the movie, the parents were upset that their baby would not leave the nest; they felt that they did something wrong in the way they brought him up because he failed to claim his independence. They hired Paula to motivate their son to move out. Her strategy was basically to meet him by coincidence, get him to ask her out, involve him in a trauma, meet his friends and get their approval of her, delay sex, have him teach her something, and finally launch him. She believed that men still living at home lacked self-esteem so she would establish a relationship with the man, build his confidence up and then move him out of his parents' house.

Let’s assume that I got Paula’s job. Let’s assume that I am on a mission to throw men off the terrace – set them free in my sick metaphorical way – and that I will follow Paula’s plan for launching a man. I would expect the following scenario: We meet by coincidence, he plays Mr. So-Big-So-Hard-To-Get, then after several maneuvers from his side and some well-aimed blows from my side, he finally gets attached. I declare that our relationship will not progress until I know that he is an independent person who can survive on his own. Like other guys who are trapped in the comfort zone of their parent’s house, he throws one excuse after the other at me and I brilliantly fail at my mission.

Excuses? Yes! Plenty! “My parents are too old. I have to take care of them and their needs. They will be heartbroken.” Or “when I got married” or “people do not respect men who live alone, they automatically think that this man is a womanizer.” Some are more honest and they just say that they are comfortable and well taken care of. Some say that the only thing they would miss about living on their own would be the ability to come and go as they pleased, and with whom ever they pleased. One guy told me honestly that he could not afford it.

On the other hand, parents panic when their grown up little boy asks for his right to blossom into manhood. Somehow they interpret it as treason and ingratitude. They feel that they raised up an ungrateful little monster who walked away on their old age. Of course I will not start a girls-living-alone movement here; I am still fighting the battles of self-esteem with my fellow women. But men, our men, our macho men, our male prima donnas – why are they seeking refuge in the sheltered nest of mother goose? In nurturing societies like ours, independence is translated into aloofness and people living on their own are automatically categorized as trouble makers. Good boys and good girls never leave the nest unless they are dead, married, or forced to work abroad. Failure to launch … this is the one failure that families celebrate rather than lament!


shaymaa said...

wow..what a nice topic.
i am a 26 year-old female.i am living alone in cairo while my parents are living else where outside cairo.they were completely resisting the idea in the very begining.when they found that the job i had in cairo is good they agreed.
what i want to say living alone made me appreciating what my parents were doing for me through over the years.i knew how much effort they made for me.
i became more self-independant.i am always thinking of my budget.how much should i spend and how much should i save?
i made a curfew for my self(10 p.m) coz still the society is watching you. i believe that girls should not stay late out side the home.
one of the most important things i learnt..is to be near from God.when i ve a problem i sometimes feel afraid of teeling my parents in order not to make them wooried.i found myself going to pray talking to God. asking him for his support.
i think it is a wonderfull experience that we all should go through even if it was just for a try..

د /إياد حرفوش said...

Dear Marwa,
You know what, now after my parents died one after the other in less than 1 year, I regrit one thing, that I was independent too early, so I did not give the passion of having their son with them as much as possible, and I did not enjoy the ONLY source of true unpaid purposeless love in this life

Mo'men said...

As a member of your "foe" population, here are THE reasons for NOT moving out of my parents' residence:
1- I simply can't afford it, even simple rent will engulf 1/2 - 2/3 of my monthly income, so what is a man to do... Wait until he gets married "on the big roaster dime off course" or god grant him a job opportunity "preferably in a gulf country" which pays housing allowance or takes care of the accommodation., other than that I don't think the economy helps young men to take extreme choices like .. moving out
2- My mother is hypertensive, diabetic and suffers from severe neuritis, I'm not a saint to claim that I can't leave her alone and that I'm fully taking care of her needs or that I have an obligation that actually dictates me to look after my mother. But the guilt of abandoning the "goose" will linger even if you moved out for the intent of marriage or career endeavors.

I hardly think my mother or my future wife, fixing me lunch is any kind of spoiling, Granted that men are spoiled but not on such bombastic scales you seem to incline, the problem with men "and I'm one of them" is that we seem to take some things for granted, things like mother love, boundary free freedom .. etc.

The Godfather said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Miss Egyptiana "Trapped Soul" said...

i have tried to live alone, and as much as it was fun at the beginning, the brightness of the experience fades away, and i found myself missing my family ...

for men it may be necessary, but not anyone can afford that, considering life expenses that were tripled in the past 5 years...

as you said, there is no freedom in living alone, where is the fun while you have to attend for every single detail in your life

moreover, i agree with eyad .. life is too short to spend it away from our beloved one ... i am not against living alone, but i am too passionate and attached to my family to do it ...

Marwa Rakha said...

Hello Shaymaa ... I am sorry it took me forever to thank you for your comment .. I was so busy.

I agree with you ... I used to spend my Fridays and any day off on the pool and my free evenings out with friends .. now, being on my own, Friday is the cleaning lady day, evenings are for laundry or grocerry, or cooking, or just taking a break from life. I have to admit that it is hard but it is very very rewarding ... it makes me proud.

Budget of course is another issue ... I was never good with numbers:)

Curfew? Society? Girls should not stay late outside? I disagree .... (read my article about society and shame)

God is in our hearts all the time regardless of who we live with.

You do not runt o your parents because you grew up and can find your way in the maze.

I still run to my parents sometimes .. for emotional support mainly .. I am always happy to know they are there:)

Marwa Rakha said...

Thank you Eyad for your lovely comments on all my posts - so far:)

When I lived at home, I only felt that my family was there to make me miserable, and I never appreciated their presence. I only saw the differences and the gaps.

When I moved out, I began experiencing different feelings and different thoughts; fear of loss - yes the fear of losing them. Now I am more tolerant, more loving, and much more closer than I ever was.

When I see my mom, my eyes shine with a sincere feeling of missing her and being happy to be with her ... when I hug her my heart utters a secret prayer that I will never live to see the day when I can no longer have that hug.

I moved out but in all my decisions, I made sure that I live near her ... I left the nest but I did not leave her heart.

Now I am crying!!!!!!!!!
Dear Marwa,
You know what, now after my parents died one after the other in less than 1 year, I regrit one thing, that I was independent too early, so I did not give the passion of having their son with them as much as possible, and I did not enjoy the ONLY source of true unpaid purposeless love in this life

Marwa Rakha said...

It's been sometime ya Mo'men since I got a comment from you .. welcome back:)

You are not "a member of my "foe" population":) You are just skipping an important part of your mental and emotional development.

As for your reasons, I understand the financial part but what will you do when you are forced to move out in a marriage arrangement .. how will you support a family? Financial burdens increase with time and age ... and it is never increasing at the same pace of our incomes.

Gulf country? For me this is a drastic measure .... I begin to shed hair if I leave Egypt for more than 3 days!!! - I am serious.

As for your mother, moving out does not mean abandoning her! You live nearby, you call, you visit, and you are always there. Will you get married and live with her?

Guilt of leaving the "goose" will come when you feel that the "goose" is holding you back from growing up. On the other hand, if you have your independence and balance them with your duties, you and the "goose" will live happily ever after.

Lunch? emmm .... I really do not want to comment about that one.

Marwa Rakha said...

My dear Miss Egyptiana:)

Living on your own is hard at first but by time it gets better and you get better at budgeting and taking care of house-keeping issues.

When you miss your family, you call, you visit, you spend more time wiht them ... but you do not move back in:)

When I look at foreigners who backpack and come to Egypt, they, with the very little money and the very little free lance salary, manage to live on their own in Egypt. Our men want the comfort and the luxury of the family house .. this is why it is so hard to move out.

When I first moved out, I took my old bedroom with me ... and bought the electric appliances ... everything else came later on ...

I am moving again soon, this time to my own house that I am paying its installments for God knows how many years ... I have been working in its finishing for the past 3 years ... and I will move in with almost no furniture and no kitchen .. still .. I am proud of it and of my sense of responsibility to make it happen.

As for Eyad's comment, read my reply to him above.

Anonymous said...

kalamek dah koloh tahyees fe tahyees.... rabena yeshfeeky fe3lan, i feel coz u lose a man in ur life u lose balance ... rabena yehdeeky...
3ala el3omom ana momken a3mel feeky ma3roof we atgawezek.... 3ala ela2al haraya7 our society men kalamek elfare3' dah...
ana mestanny raddak eza konty mowaf2a..... Mazen (atm0@hotmail.com) 0164276974

Mazen said...

Dear Marwa,

I've got shocked when I see my email address and my mobile number with an impolite comment to your post.

I do not know who can use my contacts in such comments and what is his purpose out of that... anyway...

I hope you delete that comment or at least my number and email address (it's wrong typing already thanks god).

whenever I want to comment I'll do use a polite and constructive words not like that an impolite way and then I'll care of nothing when I want to express what I believe and I've never consider anything when it comes to my freedom....

In the contrary I like most of your opinions not all of course.
Thanks in advance for your response

د /إياد حرفوش said...

This is strange ya Marwa, if u are not filtering the messages like this one of mazen, why you have a filter basically? :)

As you noticed already I am regularly visiting, you might like to visit back here:
for emotional and societal issues

& here:
for political, religious and economic issues

looking forward

Anonymous said...

hahahaaaaaaaaaaaaa.... kont mota2aked ennek hatonshereeha.... yalla kewayes aho forsa bardoh nesa3ed nas 3ala elgawaz..... rabena ma3aky ba2a....

Marwa Rakha said...

Hello Eyad .. I get worst comments than that ... this Mazen guy is a fraud .. I know his real identity, where he lives, and he even tried to contact me by pretending to be a girl.

I had his IP address and servers tracked and I am just waiting for him to cross a line to report him .. on the other hand, his mobile online will get him a lot of creeps like himself.

Thanks again Eyad.

Basim Sultan said...

Ummm, i don't think this means a guy can't depend on him self, this is based on many other factors than this, it's the way things are going with every body, society and every thing. Let me tell you about my self, i'm almost 21 years old, i got a job and i'm getting paid so well that i can move at any time, and it won't be a starnge thing for me, i'm used to this, i spent a whole year alone when i was 17 because of my college wasn't in cairo, so i'm used to it, and i'm not going to say that my mother is hypertensive, diabetic or any other thing, although she is newly diagnosed with a life-threatining disaease, but this is not the main reason of me still staying with them. The main reason is why ? why should i leave and move out althogh i'm happy with them and they are happy with me ? i can't find that reason and that's why i'm not moving out