An old acquaintance is 32. He had a lower to middle class childhood, dad wasn't involved, but his mom was a good mom to her two boys. He was good at a sport, and a college hooked him up with money for school (not a full scholarship). A phony work study, small federal loans and his mom working two jobs covered the rest. He dubbed around and dropped out of school. After he dropped out, he met a cute girl with a great body, knocked her up, got a job as a nurse assistant, and lived with his baby mamma. His employer got a federal grant that would have paid for him to finish schooling and become an RN. He restarted classes, then stopped (all the while encouraged by his college grad baby mamma to finish school). He later reduced hours at his job to go to school, but when he quit school (3rd time), he didn't go back to 40 hrs/week. As his baby mamma got a couple raises, he stopped working at all. After another year, he left their home and moved back in with his mom. He's been there for 5 years now, seeing his daughter every other weekend, never attending dance recitals. He plays a ton of Xbox. He got laid a lot in college, not anymore. His brother lives at home at 27, too. Similar story but no kid.
This is one of those guys accused of not stepping up, manning up or whatever. I like to post on the delusional, modern American women, but American men aren't delusional, they've lost their elan. Captain Capitalism has a fantastic post from 2012 of the American man losing his muse, therefore not working as hard (which I agree with), but it's more than that. This guy had a girlfriend with a good future, good looks, OK personality and a desire to see him succeed, but he still didn't want it. He had a muse. He had the college system and employers throwing money at him, but he didn't want it. He didn't have a dad, but how important is not having a dad if everyone around you coddles you and encourages you to succeed? This example is not the only one as everyone has one friend like this.
I don't think the system is to blame here even if the system does discourage some young men. This is more like an Intervention episode where an individual is just a fuck up. Beat generation losers took to the road and got out of the house. The Lost generation types took to cities or Europe for escape. These guys today are not taking to the road; they are playing Xbox, drinking beer, eating what mom cooks and living at home. "Beat" and "Lost" are not adjectives with positive connotations. A Staycation Beat Generation. I'm not 100 years old, so I don't know how prevalent this no ambition and no adventure slacker type is, and it feels uniquely modern, but it isn't. These men have always existed. It's just now, as civilization is declining, the importance of good men is suddenly apparent. It's as if the number of degenerates is so high that the 'tsk-tsk' ladies need every single man who has the potential to contribute to do so. The system can't admit that openly ("we need you, we're sorry"), and the women definitely aren't inspiring, so it frames the problem as men being children and losers.