Do you ever feel bad about your life choices? Getting married? Having children? Taking the office job with benefits? Well, The New York Times would like you to know that not everyone is a hopelessly conventional sell-out. Some people are living the dream in Astoria.
In a lengthy article, the newspaper of record marvels at a bachelor pad in Queens, where four never-married best friends who are approaching 40 live together.
“They have no children, no linear career histories, no readily disposable savings. The four men, all heterosexual, approaching 40 and never married, have lived together for 18 years,” The Times tells us. The self-identified “man children” met at N.Y.U. in 1991, where they lived in neighboring dorm rooms. And no, this is not the set-up for the next Judd Apatow movie.
Inside the men’s apartment, nicknamed “Fortress Astoria” (of course it has a nickname), we are told that children’s toys and adult’s toys are scattered side-by-side: action figures still in their boxes and costumes for Youtube videos alongside art house DVDs, expensive Mac computers, designer Japanese knives and a seltzer-making machine. One of the roommates even tends a backyard garden where he has planted bok choy, brussels sprouts and Thai herbs. But these men also eat take-out pizza whenever they want. Because they are living the dream.
As one of the resident bachelors tells The Times: “The freedom this has allowed me to have—to figure out my own quirks and foibles—has been much more important than investing in things that might have tied me down to something that would have kept me from figuring those other things out.”
In true Times fashion, we are informed that these men are not just bachelors living in an awesome bachelor pad. No, these men are symbols for how we live now. The Times talks to several sociologists who agree that yes, older people are choosing to live with roommates these days and that this can be a happy life free from the conflicts of marriage. One academic notes that living with your friends means that “the vagaries of sexual attraction don’t disrupt your security and stability.”
But the roommates may not be bachelor man-children forever, we are told. They do have girlfriends, who they could conceivably marry now that they have avoided what one roommate refers to as “that first unhappy marriage” that they have watched friends muddle through in their 20s and 30s. Or one of their ex-girlfriends could unceremoniously deposit a baby on their doorstep and all hell, and hilarity, will break loose.