yourself or the wife? Male Menopause in action...
Theres a lot of them out
there. Most often male, but not exclusively. Generally over forty and
sometimes remarkably senior - either worried about being made redundant
or already discarded - if they are lucky with a goodbye lump sum.
Theres so many people in their forties approaching fifty who are
technologically beached and no longer economically viable that it is quite
scary. Many of these people could be retrained, reskilled, but the people
who have to do that are in their twenties and they cant see the
potential for it. To them talking to a 40 plus person, let alone training
them, is akin to asking Noah to take over the controls of a Boeing 777.
Let's leave aside all those impending greys who are economically active,
viable, physically active and never intend to give up anything or surrender
anything to age - the fact is, they are not the majority.
The others and theres many of them have been cut loose by their
companies, banks, factories, farms and schools. You name it as downsizing
took its toll and as those who remain in jobs do more and more,
those without are often without the means to hook back up to the system,
or cant actually afford the computer upgrade necessary, or the phone
costs of being on-line. Or may be just plain technologically illiterate
through no fault of their own. Even if they do have excellent computer
skills, these may be skills needed for the early 1990s and those software
packages have long since stopped being used. Retrain? Fine, but what company
has the time to do that, or the inclination? Human Resources is an oxymoron
So thats that out of the way. Just accept it, theres a lot
of people out there who arent part of the brave new media world
and they feel lost and powerless. The women are going through one set
of problems, the men a whole set of others. Women perhaps can get part-time
work more readily and employers are more keen to take them on. Men have
a long way to go before they realise that part-time is normal. Not only
that, but they will be earning half or a quarter of what they used to
get from full time jobs, but actually working harder.
Women, especially married women, may also have to deal with men going
through an early menopause state. That whole, finding the meaning of life
before its too late thing. In fact, the beaches are full of men
and women going through this latent hippy phase. The nearer you get to
fifty, the more urgent it is to start living your dream. Never
mind that only the rich get to live the dream.
Every year hundreds of thousands of men and women go out in search of
love before its gone forever or try to become the artist, photographer,
writer, poet, sex champion they always thought they could be, if they
hadnt taken a job in the post office when they were young. Every
man suddenly wakes up and suddenly wants a younger wife or girlfriend
and every wife or girlfriend wakes up and wants a younger man with more
potential than what they have (and a bit more poke). The kids can go hang.
The trouble is, there is a lot of arriving at the beach realising that
you no longer look good in shorts or anything at all really. Theres
only so many ways to disguise cellulite or a pot belly and baldness is
never cute. The hang dog look you used to use when you were
18, forget it, now it looks pathetic.
This whole thing comes all at once. The thing with being technologically
redundant and longing to be the sexual person you once were. Its
not wonderful and it's all too real. It affects men and women with good
jobs as much as people with bad ones or no job at all.
Quite rational people, women of around 42 or more will quit that senior
job in Creatives at JWT or Saatchi and go live in Greece with a boy of
19. They will paint or start a restaurant. It will not last. They will
regret it. Men of 49 will do the same, move to Florida and set up home
with some Lolita substitute or suddenly decide to come out of the closet
and tear up Miami in the desperate pursuit of pleasure that only men of
49 can know. They will have left behind a wife, two kids, a great job,
the best dog in the world and tell himself that they never really liked
A former partner of mine told me men who cant grow up and
be old are doomed to great unhappiness. But when you
consider the alternative, I do have a lot of sympathy with those suddenly
wanting a life free of responsibility and uniformity. Escaping isnt
entirely stupid. Being unprepared for the new life is. Not having transportable
skills is really dumb.
I recall planning a life by the beach at 25. I wanted a house by the rocks,
to write for a living, have the regulation blonde wife and dog and have
long walks on the beaches in the evenings on the way to having excellent
wine and conversation with good companions . Maybe at 10pm wed watch
the whales go by around the Cape by the light of the moon and Id
get a fax from someone to say theyd pay $25,000 for the latest feature
Id just written.
Well, I ended up by the sea, living in an old converted church, the blonde
thinks I look older than George Burns and just dumped me for a younger
man, the dog died; the teachers salary doesn't stretch to good wine, its
too damn cold, even in July, to walk on the beach and the good companions
live about 6000 miles away. This is a crisis waiting to happen.
Its not just me. I get e-mails from friends all over the world now,
in their forties, all going through the same thing. All of them want to
change their lives, get a life, dump the old one. 'Can you look after
my dog for six months or longer? they ask. You just know what they
mean and two weeks later their partner calls to find out if you have seen
him or her lately...
Well OK. Take a number. We are the late baby boomers. Theres a few
million ahead of us on the same track and its backing up. The other
weekend I was in Bath. Its an old Roman City and still today a splendid
Regency spectacle well worth a visit, even if they have let the Roman
baths go to hell. Bath is where those tired of London go to. They start
publishing companies, websites, teach in the University, start coffee
shops, put their second family into good schools, then half way through
their affair with the au pair, realise that they miss the life they hated
and Bath is a small place that is unrelenting in its uniformity.
They have built a new trap and now they have passed the fifty mark and
this is it, you've got to eat it my friend. Too late.
For every one of you reading this and going through the pause,
stop and think about it a while. You have the good job (if you are lucky).
OK you may not like your partner anymore, but try to remember what it
was you did like about him or her, because I guarantee youll find
someone just like them when you change. You want to go and live in the
place you always wanted to go to. Visit first. Places change. Modern tourism
is killing everything, old cities rebuild or decay. Beaches get crowded
and empty ones probably have a nuclear reactor behind the trees now.
What are you really going to do? You have computer skills - well will
the 20 year old boss want you around his loud rap music workspace? Can
you take it? Or teach a language? Sure, but do you know how soul destroying
teaching can be? Or running that coffee shop you always wanted to run.
Have you calculated how many coffees you have to sell to make enough to
pay staff and just how much paperwork there is to fill out when you hire
other people? Be afraid, be very afraid. Oh yes and that great novel you
wanted to write? What are the chances of a fifty year old man or women
striking it lucky, or finding an agent. Of course you might end up writing
and selling something academic about Male Menopause in Modern Media
Theory, but you werent planning on getting rich were you?
This whole ageing thing can be put in another perspective. Lets
assume that you are not one of the unfortunates with no skills, no future
and no life and you can actually put this dream lifestyle into action.
At fifty, you have another ten years before the heart, hips, lungs, knees,
or that old neck injury from playing tennis, rugby, skiiing, do you in.
Ten years to live with the mistress or the toybo. Ten years to make some
money to live on for the next twenty years after that. Ten years before
Nurse Ratchet straps you down at night and slips ten milligrammes of instant
stun down your throat.
So make those lists. Places to go and live the life. But check they have
hospitals you can afford. Find out now if they have bugs that transmit
killer diseases. Oh yes, the toyboy or mistress, they only materialise
if you have money. You thought it was love? Now that is a fantasy. If
you are really unlucky you meet the blonde.
You need to save money now. Youll have to share. Have you shared
with anyone lately? Do know how slobby people can be? Do you even like
heavy metal? If you dont want to share with someone young, dont
whatever you do share with someone of fifty and in the same crisis mode
as you. Remember why they were called the odd couple?
So where will you go with your dreams. Italy? France? Greece? USA? Will
they let you in? How will you earn a living legally? Have you any idea
of how bureaucratic all those places can be, with hordes of civil servants
just dying to make your life a misery? In the end, begging in Tangiers
isnt nice. Give generously, one male menopause
to support doesnt cut much ice there.
So there you have it. Even if you do have the skills to make yourself
transportable, remember Sams Law : 'The cookie jar will
always be one shelf higher than you can reach'. This is similar to Moores
Second Law which states that improbabilities double in achievability
every two years once you are past fifty.'
Its probable that most women can get through this stage, unless
they happen to be married to the man going through it. Yetit is likely
the man will survive.
Sure, the house in Surrey is gone forever, the kids hate you now and the
wife never did like you much, youd probably crawl back if she asked,
but shed hate you even more for being so weak.
So you dont, you have another cold beer with Ronnie Biggs at the
beach and discuss his prostate problems. You send glowing e-mails back
to pals in the office saying what a great life you are having and they
believe it because they want to. And those friends who visit you to ogle
the Rio girls who wouldnt look at them in a million years remind
you that you went through this stage at thirty, and again at forty, so
fifty wont be any worse...but it will be, it will. This time you
did it, you moved, you live in the shack on the beach in Rio and you know
what, this time you dont have any hair.
© Sam North 14.07. 2000 - approaching the crisis zone with alacrity.
How do you know you are going through male menopause?
1. Hormone-production levels dip.
2. You are happy with less sex - at least with the wife.
3. Ambition seems pointless.
4. Children have graduated.
5. Parents are dying off. You think you are next.
6. Career prospects are going backwards.
7. Your second marriage is breaking up.
8. Friends are contracting incurable diseases or you are attending
funerals than marriages.
9. Physical stamina is
10. Dreams are just dreams and unrealised.
What men think is the cure: Find
a young blonde to get back their self-esteem.
What men should do: Define what makes
them happy, renew connections with the present wife, pace themselves,
stop worrying about the inevitable, learn to enjoy the moment. (See the
blonde on the side).
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