Evan Levey doesn't look like the kind of guy who has his mom on speed dial, but he calls her up to five times a day, sometimes late at night on the way home from a date. "I think I like this one," he'll say. He strides into a coffee shop on New York's Upper East Side and sets his BlackBerry on the table. Six feet tall and tan from golfing, he's dressed in a starched light-blue checked shirt. At age 27, he has four entrepreneurial projects in the works. Between meetings, he serves as the operations director for 74th St. MAGIC, a children's activity center. It just so happens that his mom runs the school that houses it. She has a hand in his home life, too. He has sheets and towels that she selected in his apartment, which is only a few blocks from her own. And yes, Mom also picked out the pictures on his walls—frames and all. But he doesn't see anything wrong with this arrangement. "My mom is concerned about my life in a really good way," he says.
When Wendy Levey arrives at the coffee shop, her son orders for her (decaf iced latte with skim milk), and later, after she has told the story about dressing him up as Tinkerbell for Halloween when he was 10 months old, he wipes a smudge of makeup off her face.
Evan in no way resembles Psycho's Norman Bates or even the stereotypical bathrobe-clad loser still bunking in his childhood room well into adulthood, but he's a mama's boy just the same. In today's world, guys like him are hardworking, happy, and unabashed about their mother love. Alexander Bie, 24, who works in public relations in San Francisco, lives 10 houses away from his mom. He often skips happy hour with his coworkers to go grocery shopping with her. "I say, 'I'm sorry, guys. Mom comes first,'" he says. "They're like, 'What's wrong with you?'"
According to Jeffrey Arnett, the author of Emerging Adulthood, the answer is . . . well, nothing. Adult men cling to their moms these days because they're in no hurry to settle down, he says. "Since people begin new families around age 30, they have this longer period where they don't have anyone."
This makes Mom their steady date. Sage Harrison, 30, who works for careerbuilder .com in Dallas, took his mother on a company trip to Cabo San Lucas. She was the only woman he trusted not to embarrass him. "At the parties, she was working for me," he says. "She was talking about me and building relationships with the executives. No date would have done that."
But, Arnett says, today's moms are just as responsible as their sons for the delay in cord cutting. From the start, these women wanted a less hierarchical relationship with their offspring—they were pals rather than taskmasters—and they had fewer children than their own parents, which gave them more time with each kid.