Baby Boomers Rule in Kalamazoo
Updated: Sep 27, 2019
People have been making all kinds of assumptions about baby boomers for decades. This generation is often characterized as privileged, hard-working, optimistic, resourceful, self-assured, competitive and disciplined. They were the first generation to be described with buzzwords because newspapers started reporting on the “boom” of babies born post World War II, and these babies have been analyzed as a group ever since. Now that baby boomers are retirement age, the types of statistics the media are relaying about them are changing: how many are retired, are they keeping up with modern technology, how many are divorced... You know, really fun and positive facts like that.
Sarcasm aside, what’s actually fun about baby boomers is that they’re changing the way we think about aging. This generation is keeping up with societal changes faster than any other before them. So, while kids might be thinking that their grandparents are retired, bored, single and lonely, that’s often not the case!
Although, according to Factinate, the number of singles in the 55 to 64 age range has more than doubled in the last few years, dating site eHarmony says this demographic is one of its fastest growing segments. There are even multiple sites dedicated specifically to people who are 50 or older, such as OurTime.com, which has a user base of 8.9 million! Considering there are around 50 million people using online dating sites and mobile apps across the globe, that saying “there are plenty of fish in the sea” has never been more accurate, whether you’re a baby boomer or not.
This is exactly what Peg and Irv come to find out in the play “Kalamazoo.” These two quirky but endearing baby boomers find themselves in the middle of an “opposites attract” style relationship after their adult children push them into the online dating world. (What’s funny is that these very same children share some not so positive opinions after their parents actually find companions out in cyberspace. Typical kids.)
This is a great example of an assumption about baby boomers that the characters in “Kalamazoo” have to face, which is that as long as they’re “brave” enough to enter the modern dating scene, it will be much easier for them than it is for younger people. The thought process here is that they have more years of experience and past relationships informing their decisions, and that they are more aware of their own identity as well as what they would want from a partner. This may be true to a certain point but Peg and Irv learn the hard way that love isn’t any easier the second time around.
There are some human experiences that are universal, regardless of demographics, and love is one of them. The negatives and positives of interpersonal relationships are experienced across all generations. “Kalamazoo” expresses this in a beautiful and funny way that’s relatable to people of any age who know how twisty the path to finding love can be.