Pedro Pans

Recently I was advised to detach myself from the issues and dramas of this reality and focus on my higher self in order to evolve.
Ok what does that mean?
Don’t sweat the little stuff? What is the little stuff? Is paying my bills little stuff?
Is being responsible with my time and making sure my mind is not always on my money and my money doesn’t take over my mind, or something like that?

Then the other day I was riding with a homegirl and she started telling me about a friend who is not responsible at all. He is into his 40s, keeps getting younger and dumber girlfriends that last less time than the last one, and basically doesn’t give a f@#$. She called him a PETER PAN.  Funny thing is two years ago I began writing a piece about Peter Pans in my life.

Peter Pans or PEDRO PANS, as I titled my piece (and yes I know about the Cuban kids who were called this, but anyways), are men who refuse to grow up. They live at home with parents or in dorm like situations, don’t have no bills, kids, cares or credit. They live day by day. Sometimes they may have a part time job, most times money comes in through alternative economies. They usually party everyday and can sleep in most days. Some work out to stay in shape for the partying, others struggle with weight issues and do little about them. Most believe they have a higher purpose or are sitting/working on a project that they just need ‘this’ to happen in order for it to all come together. They are a jolly bunch, usually the life of the party. They view the typical responsibilities everyone else has as beneath them. They believe they are beyond caring for job, work, relationships with the opposite sex (even though most are lotharios), and see themselves as serving a higher purpose.

Obviously this is not limited to Latino men, most of the recent guy films are about men who need to grow up, step up and get their act together because they got “Knocked Up” and a “Hangover” on “The Pineapple Express” and need to stop being “Funny People” or they may end up being a “40 Year Old Virgin” of life.

I recently had several conversations with other men about this issue of responsibility, standing on your own two feet, being able to support yourself, finding your purpose, keeping a focus and overall being a man in this day and age. Some of these conversations went well, others not so much. I know men with the house, cars, wife, three-four kids, jobs, hobbies, and they love it. I know Pedro Pans and they love it. I kind of fall in the middle of the two and I love my life.

So my dilemma is how do I detach, in order to evolve more, without becoming more of a Pedro Pan?

25 thoughts on “Pedro Pans

  1. bell hooks talks about the peter pan syndrome as being a result, in part, of men who had really bad father role models growing up. In the context of not wanting to commit, or get involved in meaningful relationships with their partners, or start their own families and have kids, hooks makes the point that part of what’s going on is a fear of doing things the same way they saw their dad do it, in part out of a sense of not knowing how to do things differently, and also, not knowing how to address this negative stuff that they learned growing up even if they want to change it. It’s an avoidance way of dealing with the problem. If I avoid conducting long-term, meaningful relationships, getting married, having kids, etc., then I can’t possible be the same irresponsible, abusive, jerk partner and dad that MY dad was, the logic goes, because I don’t even allow for the possibility to arise in the first place.

    It’s no doubt a cop-out, and you could just be like, “Man up! Don’t blame daddy issues!” or something like that, but at the same time, it is a very real fear, based on a sense of a lack of alternatives, and hooks gives a reading of it that’s both compassionate and honest. If there are no other positive male role models to mentor and provide examples in the face of negative, unhealthy father/son experiences (which, let’s face it, quite a few of us seem to have had these days), then where are these guys supposed to learn how to do this sort of stuff in a healthy, positive way?

    hooks’ feminist reading complicates what it means to “grow up” and “evolve” and “be a man,” and what all of that involves for men. Maybe the main thing to keep in mind is that it all always happens in community, and that’s another problem with peter pan mentality–it’s individualistic. After all, isn’t neverland an island? Self evolves and is defined in relation to others, always, even when in spiritual detachment mode. Men learn how to be men in relation to other men, and women, and vice versa. So, if we’re trying to figure out how to unlearn negative lessons and relearn new ones (delearn), then the same logic of social relationality applies.

    check out hooks’ book, The Will to Change: Men, Masculinity, and Love.

  2. He is into his 40s, keeps getting younger and dumber girlfriends that last less time than the last one, and basically doesn’t give a f@#$. She called him a PETER PAN.


    And why is a problem?

  3. The first question I ask is what defines a “man” and who’s definition is it ? I know for a fact, because I’ve had family tell me this, that you aren’t a “man” until you have x,y and z. Basically it’s the Tony Montana syndrome, “First you get the money, then you get the power, then you get the women.” In my family I’m viewed as a black sheep because I don’t have x,y and z at age 25. Yet, I’m the first in my family to graduate from high school, go to college and as of fall of 2010, attend a university. They’re priorities lie in material possessions while mine is on education and success, which will eventually allow me to live a comfortable life full of meaningless things.

    In my case, I’ve learned to detach out of growth for not needing “things,” yet our lives require us to have certain things to function and continue growing. I see you as an educator of young minds. You open the door in students that has been closed of by an institutionalized system that oppress and subjugates them. If I had teachers like that in high school, rather than now in my later years, I would have been better off for it and more aware of things than I am now, at least I’d like to think that. These kids see you up there lecturing and they see a role model, someone from the hood who is now up there, a Chicano teaching Chicano studies, more or less and that to me is inspirational, even now.

    That’s what I see as your higher purpose because through that teaching position, your able to have that pedro pan life style. Grading all those papers takes it toll, even though I can’t relate to it that much because I’m on the opposite end of it, but if you were to focus on that aspect of your life, shaping young minds, more so than you do now, some of those issues and dramas would dissolve. You’ve already done this with me and my drama and it makes a difference, even if it’s not noticeable at first. Helping others will only result in helping yourself, a lesson I have lived time and time again.

  4. Maybe the detachment advice means to start a new pattern in your daily/weekly routine? a new hobby, some daily exercise that’s more challenging than what you’re used to. I went to a lecture a few years ago given by a spry 100-year old Japanese man traveling around the world talking about his recipe to living a long and healthy life: chew your food 30 times, learn languages, and dance/exercise.
    I think there is a perfect balance somewhere between Pedro Pans and the breadwinning dad.

  5. It is obvious the sentiments shared in your post are gender based. Also important to note is the fact that the original conversation was initiated by a “girlfriend”. You end your piece with a need for suggestions on how exactly to evolve. To develop gradually by a process of growth and change. However, the idea of detachment and growth , may seem a bit contradictory at glance, but if the cultural expectation is for self-accountability, then it makes perfect sense.

    Let us put some of this into perspective, cultural perspective or more specifically “American Culture” specific. First, let us define what culture is so as to be on the same page. Culture is the ideas, customs, skills, arts, and roles of a people or group, that are transferred, communicated, or passed along, as in or to succeeding generations.

    Now let us focus on woman and their cultural revolution, incited in the mid 1960\’s, and how it has effected and affected our current discussion. The first aim in this movement was to erase the symbolic differences between gender. The second was to rid the identity of women being passive and gentle. This in turn led to women dressing like men, cutting their hair like men, and taking on professions only available to males. In turn, the male role inevitably changed as well.

    This idea of “Peter Pan” is basically the male version of a pre-cultural revolution female, minus the responsibilities of birthing and nurturing babies, which is the dilemma faced by men. What Pachuco 3000 describes as a “focus on my higher self in order to evolve”. This connection that woman have with their offspring essentially has been replaced by that “project” to men, that Pachuco 3000 addresses. Accordingly, woman are more in line to what the male role “used” to be. Women less and less site family as a goal in life, kids and family have been replaced by careers, traveling, and taking charge without the limitations they once suffered.

    Relationships usually need a passive player and an active player, a leader and a follower. Before the cultural revolution, it was obvious that the male figure was the leader and the female was to follow his lead. Hence, the reason post-cultural revolution, less and less relationships last. However, woman by nature need an active/leader counterpart, regardless if they can do for themselves. Herein lies the problem. As I mentioned, it is almost impossible to have two leaders in a relationship, as it is destined to fail because sooner or later one will have to take charge and the other will have to follow. In our current cultural state, males have become less confrontational and more willing to follow, but this appeasement will fail in the end because women need a man to take charge. I have devoted enough time to this so….

    Now to the question:

    “how do I detach, in order to evolve more, without becoming more of a Pedro Pan?”

    Move to a Muslim country 🙂

  6. Donate some helping others less fortunate. I’ve always been able to step back and gain a better focus on my life after I volunteer helping others. Sometimes it’s nothing more than going to the local food bank and helping unload boxes or pass out food. The personal things you gain for yourself in life, like possessions, cars, TVs, boats, houses…ALL of these things die with you. The things you do helping others lives on forever. You are much more than the sum of your monthly payments, donate a little of your time to helping others – just a few hours a week, it will clear your head.


  7. Wait, back up a minute. Not having kids is part of the criteria you use for a Peter Pan? It’s not enough that I live on my own and support myself? I have to have a couple of little shit machines running around in order to be considered a man? I will admit, though. I do avoid having kids to duck the responsibility and dedication that goes along with it. But I have to say, from what I’ve seen, merely having kids doesn’t make anyone more mature or responsible, either.

  8. Rob you live at home with your mom, i am sure she makes you pay some rent from you part time bag boy job but still your not really out on your own and yes having kids makes you more of a man makes you grow up alot. but in your case please don’t have any.

  9. Hector, you know what else makes you grow up a lot? Not being a troll and disrupting blogs. Try it.

  10. I don’t disrupt blogs, Hector. I make comments that are on topic. You personally attack people because for whatever reason you’re incapable of forming any kind of argument to address theirs. I’m glad having kids made you grow up some. I only wish it were enough to make you stop trolling blogs and personally attacking people as a sole means of expressing your point of view. Maybe you should have more kids. I mean, according to your logic, each kid should make you more grown up, right? Perfect examples would be Jon Gosselin and the Octomom, oh, and of course, you.

  11. ^^^^^
    LOL, you don’t disrupt blogs? What about witness la,, and numerous others. People here will catch on soon enough, you can’t help it.

  12. Grow up boys. the topic is Peter Pan. Oops maybe “growing up” isn’t part of the plan. Or maybe it is., it’s confusing. Tinker Bell, what do you think?

  13. Pablo (Hector, I’m sure, considering the timing…), I have never disrupted any blog I’ve commented on. Ever. And just what is it I “can’t help”? People can read my comments here and see that I make every effort to stay on topic. Neither you or Hector, assuming you’re two different people, are capable of doing that. Why? Why can’t you guys just leave a comment based on Pachuco 3000’s blog entry? It’s not that hard. If you have a point of view, express it. The topic is not me. It’s “Peter Pans”, lazy men who won’t face responsibility. And no, I’m not one! Participate. Why be so hateful and hostile toward other commenters?

  14. El Chavo we gay dudes call it “punch and delete”

    a term used to extract something or someone from one’s life 🙂

    Its all about choices..we ALL have free will.
    You have to find your passion and purpose in life.
    What is your contribution, what will your legacy be?

    My straight friends and family tell me..”your so lucky your gay with no kids, all that disposable income”

    And my reply is always- “You could of squirted her on the face or used a condom.”
    But the straight and even bisexual latino men have this thing about being macho and spreading that seed.

    Not everyone is meant to be a parent or homeowner for that matter.
    And regarding that peter pan syndrome- see some men are afraid of aging,getting old, not just women.
    But the reality is life is full of changes and nothing lasts forever 🙁

    Life is simple..its people that complicate it…live drama free 🙂

  15. And my reply is always- “You could of squirted her on the face or used a condom.”


    My abuelita would burn my tounge with a hot cuchara if I used those words.

  16. Pachuco, when considering your options vis a vis the single life or starting a familia, and the consequences, such as responsibility, limitations on most self serving enjoyments such as travel, more available money, time, and all those perks single people enjoy unencumbered by the needs of children,
    then recall your own parents or grandparents and the joy, pride, laughter, love they gave and received from their kids and grandkids.
    Sure, along with the good things there is also heartbreak, disapointment, stress, and sleepless nights, but the good things far outweigh the negatives.
    Recently you wrote so eloquently about your own Mom and her selflessness even when sick and dying. You and your fathers sadness at her passing and the love in your family for each other was beautiful and moving and showed what family and children is all about.
    I understand that commitment and children and family isn’t for everyone, but as an old veterano family man myself I sometimes feel sorry for my friends (straight and gay), who as middle aged people reflect a lonliness and underlying sadness even while enjoying their material rich’s and ability to travel unencumbered by the responsibilities of children, grandchildren, and the drama that seems always to hover around a family.
    But IMHO the Familia is everything in the long run.

    The great author Henry Miller on family,

    “The one thing we can never get enough of is love. And the one thing we never give enough of is love.”

    “The only artists for whom I would make way are – children. For me the paintings of children belong side by side with the works of the masters.”

    “Sex is one of the nine reasons for reincarnation. The other eight are unimportant.”

  17. I agree with Rob and Hector. ROb makes a good point, you dont necessarily have to have kids to grow up, but having kids will definitely give you a different perspective in life. Its beyond words and i could spend all day trying to explain how a kid changes your life and how great it is, but you just wouldnt understand. I know this because they used to tell me and i had an idea, but once you have your own, thats when you understand.

    The delete button would be a good alternative, i dont pick sides but people really need to stop their shit and just stay focused on the damn topic.

    “life is not short, its just that you are dead for so long”

  18. How about Courtney Love and Brittney Spears, Rolo? Jon Gosselin? The Octomom? The several people I know who haven’t changed one bit since having kids, except for that they’ve seemed to get more childish themselves? What is this lazy, x box playing Peter Pan “not seeing” in regards to their “change” since having children? Because you’re right. I just can’t see it. And whatever change it is you’re referring to that new parents go through, from what I’ve seen, it doesn’t seem to have any influence over their personal behavior. They just look more tired. My personal, arm chair scientist view is that age changes people, falling apart, becoming physically weak yourself, rather you have kids or not. Maturity really begins when you see a gray hair in a place where you always feared you’d see a gray hair. Procreation? Nah. Just a natural aspect of life that all living creatures have in common, no matter how special people think their own little ones are.

    As far as off topic flaming, I’d like to apologize for responding to the first person who was off topic, as I only did so because they called me out directly and said some things that I wouldn’t consider to be too friendly. One of the consequences of responding to trolls is that when the mod comes in with the big stick, you get lumped in with them. Looking back at it, that was probably the goal of the little fruit fly. From here on out, they’re on ignore.

  19. DQ, just as you feel sorry for older, single people, I feel sorry for parents. The pity’s mutual.

  20. Gee P3—she got you good. A whole blog, because SHE called you a child.

    Although RM & Fidel Castropan are very eloquent and well versed, I am a little tired of everyone having to play some gender role. Maybe the Pedros are too—they rebel by not doing what is expected. It’s evolution, babee. That’s why I just hang around with gay people–because most of them don’t have those “bestowed-upon-by-some-twisted-society” roles they have to cling to. I don’t want to order someone around to prove I am my own person, I don’t want someone ordering me around either. I wish I lived in Tibet, and fed the monks hand-fulls of rice in their little begging bowls, washed their feet with sweet smelling soap and dried them with my Mary Magdalene hair—I would never call them loosers, either.

  21. I guess if they are living at home and taking care of their parents, that’s cool too. Not every person needs to be in a nuclear family. Someone needs to care for the older folks and if they have a little fun on the side, good for them. I know there are women that won’t like it though but it’s usually those women that need to be examining their own lives first.

  22. I know several cats like this – 30+, still living at the crib, mom cooks and does their laundry, have never held a steady job, no goals, no ambition, couple of kids that he ain’t taking care of, been building a lowrider/chopper/hot rod in moms garage for the past 15 years…

    Same cat is usually the first one complaining about materialistic “bitches” too focused on a dude with cash…

    At some point you’ve got to grow up.

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