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....This concept is spiraling out of control. Is this a phenomenon or a cascade of impressions and a label? Anyway, whatever it is, it's supposedly a reaction to those terrible Boomers -- I mean, us terrible Boomers. And Lord knows, we deserve it.
Down in the West Village, we have Liv Tyler, barely 30, the daughter of Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler and legendary rock-star muse Bebe Buell, who’s now contented wife to Royston Langdon and mother of 2-year-old Milo. “I’ve always been super-responsible and hardworking and kind of a worrier,” she recently told Allure. Even former rebel Angelina Jolie has turned somewhat New Vic on us, what with her adopted brood and her causes and empathetic emaciation. Yes, the wasting disease!
“Maybe this is also fallout from the sort of these boomer ideas about what sexual freedom is,” [says a 26-year-old New Vic in Brooklyn]. This theory is a popular one among New Vic observers, just as it was popular to blame the priggishness and probity of the Old Victorians on the ill example of their Georgian predecessors. In this case, the reaction isn’t against specific syphilitic laxity and moral decay, but is rather a vague fear of too much sex (hello, STDs!) as well as the pressure for procreative sex (even men have biological clocks these days!) and the attendant nightmare of becoming—pardon the phrase—an aging spinster, lurching around New York sloshing cosmos and wearing age-inappropriate Capri pants, as in the TV version of Sex and the City and its many spinoffs....There have always been slightly older women like that, I say, being a much older woman. And there are usually also older women to tell you not to sew things up too quickly. Your fantasy of rescue and permanence may lead you back to the single life, this time with children and little or no career.
In fact, just a few months ago, [that 26-year-old New Vic] was out with friends when a pair of slightly older women launched into a jeremiad of dating and despair, imploring her to hold tight to her boyfriend, lest she wind up single and, gasp, 30-something, just like them. “It’s like I was being terrorized by these older women who were like, ‘Don’t let him go, there’s nobody out there!’” she recalled with an alarmed laugh. “I was really scared.”
And then there are the moments of revelation, the ones when a New Victorian stumbles, say, into a book party at a bar celebrating a gay-interest anthology, as [that 26-year-old New Vic] recently did. “I felt really, really straight, and really, really normative,” she said. “Because there were all these gay men who were obviously trying to get with each other, and I was like, ‘Oh, my God, this is New York, and I’m living some weird other place that’s not New York, but I don’t know what that place is!So.... what do you think: New Vics as the new phenomenon or lifestyles writer who talked to one or two people she already knew?
“You have to confront this question of, ‘Am I a deeply conventional person?’ she said. “It kind of throws the idea of who you thought you would be into question.”