Men: They aren’t thrilling adventurous members of the species forever. In fact, they reach peak boringness at age 39, according to a new survey. By contrast, they’re most exciting at age 27.
But what exactly happens to a man between 27 and 39 to radically transform him from an adventure junkie into a senior citizen?
The survey, conducted by Airbnb Experiences, polled 2,000 people to figure out when men and women are most adventurous. The result, Metro U.K. reported, is that the following experiences are things 27-year-olds are very excellent at, but that 39-year-olds stop doing altogether because they’re too tired and lame:
- Staying out until the early hours on a weekday
- Trying a new hobby
- Going out of the way to make a new friend
- Booking a spontaneous holiday
- Learning a new skill
- Visiting a friend unannounced
- Changing jobs
- Going on a spontaneous shopping trip
- Asking someone out
- Trying a new sport
As you can see from this study, responsibility and excitement are directly connected, at least in our minds. Or: The more responsible someone is, the less fun they are to be around. Based on these stated values and assumptions, after work, a 39-year-old probably can’t wait to get home to clean his baseboards with a Q-tip and re-lubricate his model train engine, while a 27-year-old is headed out to host a VR sex party in his carpeted apartment with no posters on the wall and only a single Domino’s Pizza to split among 16 people.
None of this is too surprising, though: Being young usually means being unencumbered, less set in your ways and more likely to do fun, spontaneous things for the pure thrill of it. And the other stuff is real, too: It’s a helluva lot easier to change jobs when your overhead is low, because you’re only supporting yourself and aren’t carting a family around along with you.
It’s also a helluva lot easier to try new things and make new friends when you’re younger, because you’re out more, meeting more like-minded people in more novel settings and aren’t planning your week around, like, a colonoscopy appointment. Or to put it another way, most 27-year-olds are worried about getting enough lube and cat litter for the weekend, and most 39-year-olds are worried they are going to be overcharged by their insurance for that skin cancer scan.
It’s just a different life, and that’s okay.
But even though in their late twenties is when men are likely to have the most sex and the most “fun,” this is also when they start pairing off. The average age of marriage in the U.S. is about 28, which is when all that spontaneity is going to start taking a dive. Being married will put a damper on late nights and learning how to whittle. After marriage comes baby (maybe) — a one-way ticket to Boringsville — and if you’re lucky, home ownership. Now you’ve got a mortgage to cover, a kid to feed and a partner to care about. But hey, if that doesn’t automatically outweigh doing some body shots at the bar tonight, you’re doing it wrong.
And yet, in spite of all this, consider that some studies find that peak happiness in men isn’t at 27, but at age 37. That’s because being boring doesn’t necessarily mean being unhappy. Settling down isn’t for everyone, but excitement isn’t the same thing as happiness, either. And freedom isn’t the same thing as being adventurous. Besides, an exciting career, even if it’s the same one you’ve had for a decade, beats a new hobby any day. Not to mention, staying up late at 27 could just mean binge-watching Lost alone eating Hot Cheetos until 3 a.m.
That’s not to say 39 is all chill evenings at home with a nice bottle of wine. A survey from 2014 found that 52 percent of women said this age is when men begin to lose their sex appeal. Men surveyed also agreed that’s when they stop getting chatted up in bars as much and start to feel totally invisible.
The good news? It doesn’t last forever — though peak attractiveness in men is typically in their 20s, men have renewed sex appeal as they get older. The next best looking decade for a dude is in his 50s. Coincidentally, the Airbnb survey found that men start showing interest in new experiences again after age 50, too. That’s probably because the 50s are when men hit peak career-earning power. If they have kids, they’re either grown by now or have teenagers who want nothing to do with them, which at least gives them more free time to travel and do literally anything else.
One last thought: I get that everyone wants to seem “cool” at all ages. Young people are amazing at coming up with new music, cool new fashions and new slang you could’ve never thought up on the best drugs. But never take your cues from the least experienced people on earth about how to actually live. Never visit anyone unannounced; it isn’t cool at any age. Trying sports doesn’t make you automatically awesome in any universe, and hobbies are completely optional. No matter how old you are, or how thrilling or boring your life is, whatever you do, do not let Airbnb, much less the sort of people who would take a survey from them, them tell you how to conduct yourself.
That’s not boring or exciting; it’s just stupid.