‘Rick and Morty’ Accidentally Coined Gen Z’s New Favorite Phrase for Hot Older Guys

How in the multiverse is Jerry an icon for middle-aged masculinity?
‘Rick and Morty’ Accidentally Coined Gen Z’s New Favorite Phrase for Hot Older Guys

One week ago, if I heard that Rick and Morty was responsible for TikTokers sexualizing men old enough to be their dads, I would have assumed that someone had leaked more of Justin Roiland’s DMs.

Thankfully, the “Beekeeping Age” craze that is, apparently, pervasive among young women on the internet has nothing to do with Roiland or his history with online teenagers. No, the latest cultural phenomenon in which the uncomfortable laws of attraction between younger women and older men are examined through memes and TikToks stems from the Season Four episode of Rick and Morty titled “Promortyus.” The episode ends with a memorable post-credits scene in which the kinky side character Tricia observes Jerry engaging in his latest hobby of beekeeping, making remarks to Summer such as, “How old is your dad? He’s obviously beekeeping age,” before ending with the equally obvious statement, “Summer, I want to fuck your dad.”

Well, it turns out Tricia isn’t the only teenager who lusts after older men with interesting hobbies — in the past year, the phrase “Beekeeping Age” has replaced traditional terms like “silver fox” or the more modern “zaddy” to describe a strata of middle-aged men deemed bangable by terminally online youth. On an unrelated note, if I ever found myself in possession of Rick’s portal gun, I’d relocate to a dimension where we never made the mistake of inventing the internet.

Last month, USA Today published an exposé on “Beekeeping Age,” choosing to focus on the possibility that teenagers commenting on each other’s TikToks when their friend’s f–able dad enters the frame with “#beekeepingage” might entrench the idea that beekeeping is an exclusively masculine hobby and subconsciously discourage women from entering the field. 

While these culture wars may be as mindless as they are exhausting and our planet will continue to die while we fight over sexist bees, USA Today did raise exactly one single salient point, quoting psychologist  Maryanne Fisher, who said, “To be a good beekeeper, one must also be somewhat intelligent and calm and patient. … This man is not keeping bees to get attention from others, which could be argued from other activities like riding a noisy motorcycle or working out in front of others; he's engaged in a meditative calmness. That in itself can be attractive and signal confidence and true independence because he’s not trying to signal anything to anyone.”

To earn the label “Beekeeping Age,” an older man doesn’t just have to be visually attractive — if he did, the phrase would never have been used to describe Jerry — it’s about the productive, protective and nurturing qualities it implicitly represents in a partner. Hobbies like carpentry, baking or building model ships inside bottles are “beekeeping” activities, not just because they attract men who know how to balance a checkbook or who listen to Steely Dan, but because they are reflective, individualistic and (arguably) interesting. 

In short, if you’re an older guy who watches Rick and Morty or has a TikTok account, you are probably not of “Beekeeping Age.” 

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