A New York Observer piece on the so-called New Victorians is garnering a lot of chatter. I didn’t think the subjects sounded THAT Victorian (it starts off with a couple living together and planning to get married).
But here are some tidbits:
“But recent years have seen a breed of ambitious, twentysomething nesters settling in the city, embracing the comforts of hearth and home with all the fervor of characters in Middlemarch. This prudish pack-call them the New Victorians-appears to have little interest in the prolonged puberty of earlier generations. While their forbears flitted away their 20’s in a haze of booze, Bolivian marching powder, and bed-hopping, New Vics throw dinner parties, tend to pedigreed pets, practice earnest monogamy, and affect an air of complacent careerism. Indeed, at the tender age of 28, 26, even 24, the New Vics have developed such fierce commitments, be they romantic or professional, that angst-ridden cultural productions like the 1994 movie Reality Bites, or Benjamin Kunkel’s 2005 novel Indecision, simply wouldn’t make sense to them….
“‘There is definitely this return to tradition,’ said a 27-year-old Upper West Sider named Olivia, who works for a theater nonprofit and, while not one herself, has many friends who fit the New Victorian description. ‘My sense of things is that the marriage phenomenon is part and parcel of a larger phenomenon, which is that young people are trying to grow up faster …. We’re trying to figure out what success means and achieve it.’
“Olivia has had ample time to study this phenomenon. In the past two years, from the ages of 24 to 26, Olivia and her beau, an MBA candidate, have attended some 10 weddings-grand, traditional affairs with blushing brides and small armies of froth-draped bridesmaids. This was hardly the kind of 20’s she had imagined as a young graduate of Dalton and Skidmore, but somehow, her life has become dominated by invitations to dinner parties, kibitzing about careers (“people are really driven,” she said), discussions of real estate, and visiting the occasional friend’s country manse in the Hudson Valley or the Hamptons. Along the way, she has come to the realization that for a certain tribe of New Yorker, the whole “rebellious 20’s” phase experienced by the baby boomers (for some, well into their 50’s) is simply not part of the Plan anymore: Sure, a New Vic can be a feminist and even a committed world-changer, but she also has to have a great job, superior husband, kids, and try to save society all at once.”