There’s a certain prototype of male that is portrayed in movies - the adorable slacker. This under-employed guy with the quick wit and the high score on Wii bowling marks the passage of time by how long it takes him to go through a bag of weed. With his happy-to-be-exactly-where-I’m-at attitude and complete lack of ambition, we’re led to believe that this guy has it all – well, except for clean clothes, a girlfriend, a healthy body type, a second towel, access to a vegetable and a checking account.
This slacker guy also exists in real life. My colleague, Matthew DiGirolamo, has cleverly branded this breed of male -- “Back Unit Guy.” He’s the late 20s/early 30s dude who lives in someone’s guest house and spends his unshowered days scouring the Internet for funny cat videos, and, ahem, other provocative entertainment. The real life version of the slacker, however, is not as lovable as his movie counterpart. We all know this guy and none of us wants to date him (for long), hire him, or admit we’re related to him. He’s given up on being a contributing member of society and as long as he’s not hurting anyone, or in need of a clean pair of matching socks, he’s free to be as he is.
Back Unit Guy’s free pass to slack got me wondering two things. Is there an equivalent Back Unit Gal? And if there is, would she be given the same leeway to exist as her male counterpart?
I’ve known women in their late 20s and early 30s who don’t fully have their acts together. They can’t keep a steady job or commit to a meaningful relationship. They make bad decisions. But the one thing these women do have is ambition. They aspire to own furniture that didn’t come from their parents’ house, find a partner in life, and have a career oriented job that allows them to pay their bills and buy a vacuum cleaner. Sure some of them are lazy, but none of these women has accepted this lifestyle as their fate and is willing to live like this for the long run (unlike the Back Unit Guy who has cultivated this way of living on purpose).
Is it because women are caretakers by nature that they have goals and aspirations? Or is it because women simply aren’t allowed to be this way?
From an early age, our subconscious is stimulated by images of petite, physically attractive women. Rarely do you see a woman who is 15 pounds overweight on TV (reality shows exempted), let alone a woman who hasn’t showered in days and has a ketchup stain on her shirt (Britney Spears doesn’t count – that’s a whole other post). But for men, such deficiencies are just part of the "charm" of being a Back Unit Guy.
Are there fewer Back Unit Gals because women hold hygiene in a higher regard? Would we find ourselves simply grossed out by living that way of life? Why is it not acceptable or charming for women to be Back Unit Gals? What do you think?
Ande Dagan is the web producer for The Women's Conference.