Karen is a nice sweet buddy of mine. Bit brash, bit loud mouthed, but those are the flaws that make her all the more endearing to me. From an upper middle income family, she has visited Europe several times whereas I've never been. Also from an upper middle income family, she was afforded the opportunity to go party in her 20's and even to this day goes to the Boom-Chicka-Boom bars that I usually eschew.
However, though very different, we get along swimmingly because she works hard, she is self-supporting and she hates communism. Also in talking with with her I get a glimpse into a world I have never been in, and she gets a glimpse into a world she's never been in. But one of the more interesting observations, if not, addictions she has is "Spanish Men" or "Italian Men."
Not too long ago she went to Spain and hung out for a week. She absolutely loved it, particularly the laid back attitude and culture of the Spaniards. She said,
"Oh, Captain, you would just not fit in there. Everything is relaxed and laid back. You're supposed to take siestas during the day and have some wine. And they're always critical of American's attitudes. "Oh, you Americans. You are so tight and anxious. You work too hard. You need to relax and learn to enjoy life." They go out dancing every night and party and then wake up at 10AM and go to work. They know how to live."
Interestingly enough, it is the same with the Italians (or so I'm told by the ladies who have been there). The Italians are laid back, they know how to enjoy life. They drink their vino and drive their Vespas, they love life, blah blah blah.
Of course Karen and the varied female friends of mine are also fans of the Spanish and Italian men. Accents, olive skin, charming, they know how to have a good time. Oh yes, the Ladies of America love the Men of the Mediterranean. But there was a another funny observation she had. When I asked her,
"Well, how do they afford all this vino and dancing? How can they afford a lifestyle of just lying around and getting to work at 10AM if rents are so high in Madrid?"
"Well, all these Spanish guys all live at home with their parents. A lot of them work for their moms or fathers as well. They absolutely love their families, it's wonderful."
And that's when the epiphany hit me, as it should be hitting you right now.
It is well known and documented that the charming Men of the Mediterranean live at home in higher numbers. So much so it affects the birth rates of come countries because you can't be making babies when mom is sleeping upstairs. However, this is NOT a criticism of those men, as I do not believe it is because these men lack ambition, drive or work ethic. It is the direct consequence of having a government so large and invasive that it crowds out the private sector. This not only makes finding a job difficult, but also provides great financial incentive to not work as hard or leave home. Free health care, free education, free food, free this, free that. Why go to school, become a doctor, and buy a house when you can live at home and enjoy 4 siestas a day during a 4 hour work week?
But what is truly great, what is truly juicy is the utter hypocrisy the young women of America display. Not consciously of course, because I don't think they connect the dots. Additionally, I don't think they're contemplating the socio-economic reasons why tall, dark, handsome and charming Rafael lives at home with mom as they salsa dance with him in Barcelona tipsy on vino. But there is a hypocrisy. Anybody see it yet?
Well, let me connect the dots.
"Fernando" 30 year old accented hot Italian/Spanish guy with olive colored skin, is a great cook, rides a Vespa, drinks vino, knows how to dance and "live life" and loves his mother. Oh Fernando, take me away!
"Jon Jones" 27 year old stupid lazy American who doesn't have a job, can't find one, doesn't have a degree, plays video games all day, drinks beer, watches sports AND STILL LIVES WITH HIS MOTHER! Jon Jones, you need to man up you slacker!!!
What the ladies fail to see is that Fernando and Jon are the exact same guys, just an ocean apart. Oh sure Fernando has an accent, olive skin and speaks Italian, but they both "live life" (Jon plays video games, Fernando seduces naive female tourists), they both drink (Jon prefers Budweiser, Fernando red wine), they both live at home (though we interpret this as and applaud Fernando for "loving his mother"), and I guaran-freaking-tee you they BOTH play video games. Probably MW3 online, they're probably doing a co-op mission right now.
Laugh as we might, there are several economic lessons or observations to be gleaned.
One, is how Italy and Spain are down the road further than the US when it comes to the state replacing men. Men are no longer the primary bread winner of the family. That is the state. Men are no longer the kernel of the household. That is the state. So with the state replacing the primary roles men used to play in Italy and Spain, AND with the financial largess they provide to people, is it any wonder these guys "live life" and bang on their drums all day?
Two, is it any surprise Italy and Spain are part of the PIIGS suffering from imminent financial collapse? Yes, what a wonderful life it must be to drink vino all day, work 20 hours a week, have free health care and be able to retire at 57 AND have everything paid for. You don't need to be a PhD in economics to understand why they have such HUGE debts - because the countries come nowhere NEAR producing what is necessary to pay for all the crap they've promised themselves under the Tuscan sun.
Three, how women (in a very admitted and general brush) generally are unable to see how voting for socialism drives men to the couch, video games, beer and their parents' basement. If you keep voting for socialism you do two things to make men perpetual Peter Pan's who will never grow up. One, you will essentially pay them with a bevy of government benefits so they don't HAVE TO WORK. Two, even if they wanted to work, THERE ARE NO JOBS BECAUSE YOU'VE DRIVEN AWAY THE PRIVATE SECTOR AND INVESTORS WHO WOULD NORMALLY LIKE TO INVEST, BUT NOT IF 50% OF THEIR PROFITS ARE GOING TO BE CONFISCATED!
Four, boys, this is an important one. If you want to impress girls here but live at home, all you have to do is keep doing what you're doing now, but fake an accent, take some tanning pills and instead of saying, "I live at home with mother because I can't afford rent," say, "I live at home with mother because I love her and want to take care of her." Then POOF! You've magically gone from a "Grade A American Loser" to an "Exotic Foreigner Who Loves His Mother."