She passed you on the down stair. Erection.
Each time bullies made you cry she consoled
you, brought you close, held your boyish bottom
closer. The one adult who would not scold
you, loved you in gym shorts cut high, showing
thigh and the hint of cock and balls. Widows
hungry for flesh are either a blessing
or a curse. The way she stripped off your clothes
and took you to the bath. The way she gave
herself to you; you who were far too young
to know why, just how. You must have pleased her,
until you grew up and started to shave.
Even now you recall her hips, her tongue,
her voice crying, “like that! harder! harder!”
The Peter Pan Syndrome refers to a man’s unwillingness to grow up and take on adult responsibilities. There is an entire trope of man-boy characters in literature and popular culture; in Psychology Jung called it, Puer aeternus, Latin for the eternal boy. I’m curious what the female version of the Peter Pan Syndrome might be. Not Wendy, since she spent her whole time acting as a surrogate mother, but a female archetype that optimizes Pan’s cockiness and corresponding immature behavior. The nearest that I can find is from Jung as well, puella aeterna, the eternal girl, but there aren’t any corresponding female characters that I can find in literature as example. There is such a trope in Japanese popular culture that I thought, at first, might work: the alcoholic, single, lustful office lady who is shown living in a filthy apartment, drinking herself blind every night. However, it is a poor comparison since, unlike Pan who has agency not to take on adult responsibilities if he wants, the Office Lady is the way she is due to the misogynistic atmosphere of the Japanese business industry; regardless of education or background her role in most manga and anime is to fetch coffee, fend off sexual harassment and forever cling to the bottom rung of the office ladder. Perhaps one day I’ll find who I am looking for; until then I will keep on reading.