Our columnist Steve Tucker describes the problems when your grown up children are still at home.
A SHOCKING survey has revealed more than a quarter of young adults in the UK still live with their parents.
Now look, we old gits love our kids, we paid good money down the years to have them puke in our faces and sat through nativity plays so bad you almost wished you were watching an episode of Mrs Brown’s Boys. Almost.
But once they got a hairy chest and moustache I’m sure you expected your children to move out. Particularly if it’s your daughter.
Now the reasons for the rise in adults still living in the family home are varied and complex.
Job insecurity, soaring house prices and the desire to have one’s boiled egg and soldiers done just right, head the list. Enjoying arguing with a deeply racist parent during Question Time is right up there for many Millennials too.
But why, for example, are intelligent young women sitting in a house that smells like the inside of a zip-up slipper on a Saturday night, eating chocolate cake, watching All Together Now and crying?
We know setting up home for the first time on one’s own can be daunting, especially if you are so old when you move in that the main prerequisites of your new ‘bachelor pad’ are a stair-lift and access for your mobility scooter, but an independent lifestyle has its advantages.
At least you can stay out until after 10 o’clock without your mum waiting up in her dressing gown and curlers or calling your mate’s mobile when you are both in a strip club freebasing coke with hookers. Hey, you can even sniff glue without your Dad demanding you put it back in the shed so he can stick two pieces of wood together later for no reason.
But the biggest hassle for young adults when living with their folks is, of course, dating. Trying to hook up with someone whilst still at your Mum and Dad’s can be a nightmare.
Your new girlfriend asks if she can come back to your place, but you have to decline because Tuesdays are when your Mum lances her bunions in the bathroom and the screams can be heard down the other end of the street.
You want to take your latest guy home, but on Saturday nights your father insists on sitting in front of the X-Factor in his underpants telling anyone who’ll listen what he’d do to Nicole Scherzinger if he was 40 years younger and not incontinent.
In the early, fragile stages of a relationship, introducing your new love to someone armed with the information that, “Of course, he pooed the bed till he was 13”, can be fraught with danger. Indeed you’ll find it hard to impress anyone who your mum has told, “Sure, he seems calm, but he gets panic attacks, his ‘episodes’ we call them. He shrieks, have you ever heard a grown man shriek? Awful. Have another slice of cake dear”.
Put it this way, you don’t want to spend the evening with your new sweetheart and your parents looking at photos of you lying naked on a fur rug. Especially if they were taken when you were 25.
Of course you could try the old line: “Listen, I don’t live with my parents, my parents live with me!” But how the hell do you explain the walk-in bath or the box full of Werther’s Originals where the drugs should be?
OK, fine, if you must live with your parents and you want to have sex and you still don’t find the whole thing kind of creepy here’s some advice: If you are a man taking a woman back to your old childhood bedroom on a date there are certain rules to follow. Take that Farrah Fawcett-Majors poster down off the wall. No woman wants to have to compare herself to Farrah Fawcett in her prime. Do the same if you’ve got a Linda Carter as Wonder Woman poster up there too.
If your Sinclair Spectrum is turned on, unplug it man, you won’t be needing it and it’s total crap anyway. Any porno mags should be well hidden. Particularly Big Boob Worshiper or Fabulous 50s. You don’t want to give the wrong impression and there’s plenty of time for porn when you’re married.
A woman taking a bloke back to her childhood bedroom should hide those gymkhana rosettes. You don’t want to look like an overachiever or give off a ‘horsey’ vibe that disappeared overnight when you discovered Robbie Williams aged 13.
Posters staying stuff like, “Don’t wait for the storm to pass, learn to dance in the rain”, should be taken down too. No particular reason, they just make you look stupid.
Out go your Siouxsie Sioux posters too I’m afraid ladies. Actually any remnants of your former ‘Gothdom’ should be exorcised. No guy wants a woman whose monthly eyeliner bill once rivaled the Peruvian national debt or one likely to start weeping during a Fields of the Nephilim song.
But, to hell with the kids, what many don’t consider in this situation is the impact having adult children still living at home has on the parents. You work long and hard to raise your offspring expecting them eventually to move to Australia so you can take a passing interest in them via Facebook and perhaps get a nice holiday every few years when the Ashes are on.
Instead you wake up, go downstairs and there is your 42-year-old old son, hungover, unshaven, sat at the kitchen table with his dressing gown open and his hairy knackers hanging out whilst he eats the last of your Weetabix.
Parents indeed will often send out subtle signals indicating that they believe it is time their children ‘flew the coop.’ For example, you get home and your bed has been dismantled and burned in the garden. Or you return home and a Romanian emigre named Sergei is living in your room and he’s got a better job than you. Indeed HE is writing to the Daily Mail to complain about what a drain on resources YOU are.
Sometimes an elderly parent may make their feelings even clearer by erecting a banner saying something like: “Hey, tit-head, I’m 84. I don’t need this crap!” Or you may come home and find your parents themselves have moved. To Belgium.
If you spot anything like this it may be time to start thinking about selling a kidney to get a deposit for your own house or flat. Think about it young people, you may still be a loser, but, hey, at least you will be a loser with your own place.
And we oldies? Well, we get to watch Tipping Point and plan our funeral in peace. Total bliss.