I was chatting it up with one of my gorgeous guy friends when he revealed an interesting tidbit about himself: he had lived with his parents until he was 29 years, only for the last 2 years had he been in his own apartment.
Mainly this information was surprising because I knew that he had been working in a full-time professional career ever since graduating from college in his early twenties. His undergraduate major was in engineering. Basically, this guy had the skills to command a high-paying salary, high enough to have a bachelor pad. So if he could afford it, why didn’t he go for it?
Turns out that I was about to be given both a lesson in culture and a lesson in economics. My friend is from a South American nation–and had lived there all of his life until coming to the US–that has experienced it’s share of inflationary periods. His home country is a developing nation where the cities are extremely dense, and the only people who can afford to live alone are the rich or those who don’t mind spending the bulk of their income on housing. Middle-class young adults who graduate from college do not move out of their parents’ homes because the only apartments that are affordable are located in poorer areas, and for college graduates who grew up middle-class with Mommie and Daddy in the home there is little desire to move into a slum-like area just to get a taste of independence.
If you combine the dual reasons of economics and love of family life together you can easily understand why many people of South American heritage and those who reside in Southern Europe–Greece, Portugal, Spain–are in no rush to leave the place my amigo and his age cohort jokingly refer to as ‘Hotel Mama’.
After having that conversation I realized that the stereotype of Latin American being unwilling to grow up was untrue–these men are often at home for financial reasons rather than any lack of desire to be independent.
So, ladies, if you met a man and he told you that he lived in Hotel Mama would you still be willing to date him?
Jamila Akil is a Senior Editor at Beyond Black and White. Follow her on Twitter @jamilaakil