I think it’s time I began talking about older men.
I realized just a short time ago that I am now an expert. I have finally reached that honourable stage. It’s not an honour I wanted or one that I sought. However, as the man said, considering the alternative, it’s one that I accept, although not graciously.
Who knows more about older men than an older man? OK, maybe an older woman. But I interviewed a couple of them about their feelings on the matter and discovered that their knowledge of this age group is painfully lacking.
Perhaps lacking is the wrong word. Skewed, warped, prejudiced, sexist and highly subjective might be better terms to describe what they think they know. Anyone who depends on an older woman’s view of older men for insight into this age group is in for an unpleasant surprise.
They don’t know nuttin’.
What do we know about them? Everyt’ing.
Let’s begin at the beginning, which, as Julie Andrews pointed out in “Sound of Music,” is a very good place to start. Older men are the supreme opposite of older women. Older men are from Fogo Island; older women are from, well, somewhere else. Anywhere else in the known universe would be the opposite of Fogo. Out there, men are men and women are glad of it.
Let’s look at some popular myths regarding men who have reached their golden years.
The first is that we are older. Older, as everyone knows, is a relative term. I am older than I was a year ago, true, but I am younger than I will be next year this time. This fact is often overlooked. I am older than someone 50 and will probably remain so. I am younger than someone 75, but I still get my seniors discount.
When I attended my last reunion of something or other, I was astounded to see that people who were about my age a half century ago or more were now many years older than me.
The same was true for some of the girls, although not all. Boys who used to bully me back then were now so feeble they could hardly shuffle one foot ahead of the other. I cannot tell you how much this pleased me.
I asked some of them what they had been ill with, but none could remember being sick at all.
I’ve often thought of saying to younger lads who are being bullied now by bigger boys to wait until your 30th class reunion. Those bullies will have gotten so much more decrepit than you by then that you can take them all out behind the school en masse and beat the tar (or anything else you like) out of them.
I don’t like to be promoting violence this way, but fair is fair.
I could only guess how disappointed in their husbands their wives must be, especially when they see how I have not changed at all. You see, “older” doesn’t treat us all the same way.
A particularly insidious myth is that younger women are not interested in older men. I don’t speak from experience, of course, but I can tell you this isn’t true.
Hugh Hefner, the founder of Playboy Magazine, at 86, just married a young thing of 26. A friend of mine maintains that she wants his money, but I can see her love for him shining in her eyes.
Director Steven Spielberg just married someone several decades younger than he is. I know another lady who’s happily married to a man more than 30 years her senior, and he’s poorer than a Tim Hortons franchise owner. Right.
Far as I’m concerned, this myth is spread mainly by older women who want to cut down on the competition. You are aware, I know, that older women outnumber older men by roughly 16-1. At certain retirement centres, these women can be rather aggressive, thus making life somewhat difficult for the poor men who have to put up with their overactive hormones and unwelcome attentions.
There is another myth that needs to be dispelled, and that is the myth of the dirty old man. It is not older men who are chasing after older women. There are so many dirty old women around that older men need to be pretty fast on the hoof to escape their clutches. I’ve seen older men actually hiding in clothes closets in seniors homes. Worse still, I’ve seen women following them in there and locking the door behind them. I’ve seen older men come out weak in the knees. That’s real fear.
Older men are into various kinds of sexual practices, although regrettably few women of their generation know anything about such things. I’d happily name a few except I’d be called a pervert. But they include pin the tail on the arse and general practitioner doctor.
Older men are generally reliable (they’ve gotten this far without being disemboweled by their wives), well-to-do (they’ve been saving up those cheques for a long time), tough and resilient (while their brothers have dropped like flies, they’ve outlasted their women and don’t mind taking on a few more — if they have to).
When you are only one of a very few roosters in a crowded henhouse, you have to exercise caution, discretion and the ability to make good choices. Older men are capable of all three.
One last thing. Older men do not get the respect they deserve. While I was writing this (as God is my witness) an email came in from a lady of my acquaintance explaining what (Prime Minister Stephen) Harper’s latest budget cut involved.
According to her, he’s going to start deporting healthy seniors, oldest first, to cut down on old age pensions. The last line of her email read this way:
“Run, You Old Bugger, Run!”
Ed Smith is an author who lives in Springdale.
His email address is email@example.com.