Nora Ephron, in her essay about women’s aging-issues, declared, “I feel bad about my neck,” referring to a body part that can’t be lifted, Botoxed, or anything elsed – in essence, an aging tipoff that you can do nothing about, short of, as Ms. Ephron pointed out, wearing a turtleneck.
Though men may not be quite as neck-obsessed, we still aren’t exactly ecstatic about our size 15½ collars eventually looking like we’re wearing size 16½ – giving us the appearance of recently released prison inmates.
And that’s just for starters. Because, though it may not be a subject that’s as popular as its distaff counterpart, men nevertheless have their own aging issues to deal with.
For example, while the ladies can get a realistic-looking hair dye job (for the most part, anyway), if gray-haired – either partially or, sadly, totally white-haired – men give in to their hair stylists’ suggestions, we wind up looking like third-world dictators. Or south-of-the-border drug kingpins.
And how about that popular expression claiming that men look more distinguished as they get older? Distinguished? Unquestionably, the ultimate euphemism. (Do you think that when Robert Redford sees a picture of himself in his twenties, he feels more distinguished? Or more old?)
Granted that women, like men, can also develop potbelly issues; however, those paunches are statistically more prevalent among the guys – much more. As well as more protruding – much much more. (Admittedly, we guys probably do drink more beer as we get older…and spend more time lying on the couch watching sports. So, to be fair, we can’t put all the blame on Father Time for this one.)
Body hair is more of a pain-in-the-ass (no pun intended) for us men also. It seems to leap from our heads – often, unfortunately, with alarming speed – to our shoulders. And backs. And ears. And nose. And wherever else it’s least welcome. (Who knows, someday it might even defile our palms.)
Of course, it’s understandable for women to feel a bit despondent about not having a bikini body anymore (referring, naturally, to those who had one to begin with)…but how do you think we men feel walking along the beach with legs more befitting a chicken than a once fairly decent tight end?
And speaking of a tight end, the lack of one is something that, alas, is long gone for both older sexes. Our butts have sagged. Have grown. For men, unfortunately, likewise have our prostates. (And nocturnal trips to the bathroom).
Plus, there’s the gradual debilitation of the prostate’s main partner (and best friend): the penis. Thanks to (or, more appropriately, no thanks to) its aged blood vessels, the old adage, the mind is willing but the flesh is weak, takes on an entirely new, and depressing, meaning. (Sure, women have to contend with their own age-related sexual problems, however they’re not as visibly embarrassing.)
Then, for many, there’s the recent “abs” fixation. Yes, we know, even some of today’s women, despite their age, work on improving the definition of their abdominal muscles (for heaven knows why – Bardot and Monroe looked pretty sexy without those bold lines popping out of their near perfect bodies); however, this physical attribute has always been more associated with the opposite sex, where, traditionally, it has a reputation for being physically attractive (thus, the popularity of those firemen calendars). For most aging men, though, the sad fact is, that despite hours and hours and months and months of fierce commitment to recreating those well-defined fibrous bands of one’s youth, all the exercise in the world can’t accomplish that Herculean feat. (Hey, even an aging Hercules would have had a hard time.)
Let’s face it, aging isn’t exactly a picnic. For women and men. As Bette Davis once said, “Getting old isn’t for sissies.” True, but it’s not so great for badasses either.
I’m a big fan of Nora’s, loved her movies and her stories.
I liked you take on aging, we all have to struggle through it.
Just because we have to age doesn’t mean we can’t have a few laughs about it.