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In Madagascar, the cultural and economic changes that have accompanied economic liberalization have also seen the emergence of the jaombilo, a young man supported by the money that a woman earns from sex work. In this article, I explore the structural forces that have contributed to the emergence of the jaombilo as well as the more subjective process through which young men become jaombilo. I argue that the category of the jaombilo emerged because of the particular ways in which global economic change articulates with local conceptions of youth, gender and economy. I further suggest that the case of the jaombilo challenges the assumption that youth is a normative phase on the way to adulthood. Instead, I argue that for young men in Madagascar, youth is a phase that they cannot escape. Much as savages were figured as "children" in the 19th century evolutionary discourse, many contemporary Malagasy young men have become perpetual youth, and perpetually poor, thereby challenging normative models of human development that emerged in the context of modernity.