When it comes to men …. does age matter?

There’s a line uttered by Carrie Bradshaw in the now-immortal Sex and the City (immortal, that is, to most women between thirty and fifty) that goes …

“Men in their forties are like the New York Times Sunday crossword puzzle: tricky, complicated, and you’re never really sure you got the right answer.”

People who haven’t been “re-singled” in mid-life possibly won’t relate to this, but it has come to my attention on several occasions that forty is the age at which men dive into the deep, dark cavern of despair when their relationships go belly-up. That’s not to say that they don’t venture out again and sample “what the world has to offer” (if you get my drift …) but, ultimately, they remain long-term patients in emotional intensive care.

Take my initial foray into the dating arena after I found myself single again, for example.

Mr Shifter, 49, was the owner of an international logistics company whose marriage had broken down when his wife of seventeen years told him she had reignited a relationship with her first love whom she had found again through Friends Reunited. It became apparent after a handful of dates that although his ex was not physically present, her memory was not only there … it was ordering seconds. When he started to eye me up and down at our last meeting to support his verbal commentary on how alike she and I were physically, I realised our time together was not going to ultimately be translated into a Hollywood block-buster of a love story.

Friends Reunited. What a hot bed of illicit wrong-doing that turned out to be. I noticed yesterday that the site may be sold by it’s owners ITV for £15 million, this after they bought it for £175 million some three and a half years ago. It did make me wonder if ITV were offloading after having paid out damages (without prejudice) to all the victims of the relationships it had allegedly wrecked unintentionally …. There is something about a first love akin to the metaphorical sleeping dog. It’s best left uninterrupted. There’s a lot to be said for the adage “it didn’t work out for a reason …” but we do still feel the need to go back and poke it, don’t we? And Facebook, there’s another one …

So Mr Shifter and I parted company amicably; he said he needed to see if there was anything he could salvage from his marriage. The last time I spoke to him he told me they had sold the ex-marital home, divided it all up and he was now living in a “sh*t-tip of a shoebox semi-detached”. No bitterness there then.

On the flip-side I did enjoy quite a few dates with my then financial advisor  who was almost ten years younger than me …. I know, I know … business and pleasure should never be bed fellows.

The Mortgage Man had a boyish charm that allowed him to capitalise on my lack of financial awareness. He invested in a couple of nights away for us that sadly happened to fall on the weekend of the most momentous rainfall known to man in July 2007. We ended up staying in a hotel seven miles away from my house as that was as far as my car could swim, and on the last day, marooned by vast expanses of water, I realised that he had to constantly have the TV switched on in our room. He hopped from channel to channel and eventually settled on a thirty year old episode of Top Cat.

Before I allowed myself time to think, the words “you’re just a boy trapped in a man’s body, aren’t you?” had left my lips. There was no way to bundle them back up and swallow them whole.

He stared at me in disbelief. I went to pack my toiletries sensing that my stock price had dropped.

Now I’m plucking these two tales from a bag of similar story-lines, and as I see it there are two recurring themes … “re-single” men over forty struggle to truly move on emotionally but they do make better father figures …. and men under forty don’t allow themselves to become trapped in a relationship’s shipwreck.

I’m generalising. Of course I am. But it does make me wonder if the men I’ve dated really think they are over the wall of their emotional past and running towards freedom …

As for me, well, my jury is still out when it comes to a man’s age. Let’s not let a little number spoil the cornucopia that is life’s rich tapestry ….

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Filed under Carrie Bradshaw, dating, divorce, Facebook, Friends Reunited, Life, love and the universe, Men, middle age, relationships, Sex and the City, Women

10 responses to “When it comes to men …. does age matter?

  1. Can’t speak for anyone else, but the thought of turning 40 is proving to be a nightmare for me, and I still have just under 3 years to go. My friend, suggested to me that I should just get on with it. OK for her to say, she turned 40 a few months back.

    Told me nothing to worry about.


    Posts like this depress me even more, is this what I have to look forward to? Being regarded as a ‘possible decent’ father figure but that’s about it. My life is over… 🙂

    • Make yourself busy and stop worrying about the trivial things in life. I’ve always loved getting older, gaining more experience, thats life, go on and live it 🙂

      As a sidenote I have the same birthday as you Jan 9th and am almost the same year

      Nice site, keep up the good work you are doing here.

      This is a direct reply to Graham.


  2. debsylee

    I can’t speak for everyone Graham (obviously!) but I’ve loved every minute of my forties, and that’s mainly because I let go of all the insecurities that held me back beforehand.

    The “father figure” comment was a dig at me … A male friend told me he thought that was what I was looking for in men my age and/or older.

    I think you have a point though, men do seem to dread the aging process more than a lot of the women I know, and yet you’re supposed to be the ones that “improve with age” 😉

    • LOL. Well yes, Im sure my ‘dashing’ *cough* good looks will further mature. A few more specifically positioned grey and white hairs on my goatee and my sideburns for that ‘distinguished’ yet, scrappy look.

      But, but… im feeling insecure about turning 40. So I will have to live with that until I hit 40?!?! Then presumably, I will wake up on the 9th January, on my 40th Birthday and say, ‘boy, did I overreact to this 40 thing. Spent the last few years worryingly, further adding to my grey hairs.

      So, just have to grin and bear it until then I suppose. I have yet to witness several close friends hitting 40 both this year and next, so I shall observe carefully how they react both prior and after.

      Is their a book on turning 40 for 37 year olds? Thanks.

      • debsylee

        In my humble opinion, the only way to deal with insecurity is to find an external source that disproves it, so that it implodes on itself …

        At the end of the day, it is really only a number 😉 … (I was never this pragmatic before I turned 40!)

        I’m sure there’s a book, but I was never one for manuals so can’t recommend any, I’m afraid …

  3. There is always the book of life. That is, like looking up to a number, purely in your head. Of course I thought is was a big thing (the button my Wife gave me was quite big, actually), but there is nothing left to look up to. It really is a number.

    On the other hand, your self image is, even in front of a mirror, way off, once you pass 40. You think you look cool and know all the latest shizzle, but less and less *really* young people agree.

    As more and more people are guessing your age right, you will discover that you yourself feel like nothing has changed. But some people wil act otherwise.

    I am 41. Still feel 27, get estimated 35+ and yesterday discovered that the grey hairs in my beard make the rest of my facial hair look like a 70’s porn ‘stache.

    There is no point in putting much energy in it. Age waits for nobody.

    • debsylee

      Don’t you find that as you’ve got older you’re less bothered what other people think, though?

      Maybe it’s the “objectionable and cantankerous old lady” taking up residence in my head already … 😀

      • I am certainly less bothered, but if I get confronted with people half my age raising eyebrows and saying ‘sad dude thinks he is still in’ without words, I know I have to consider how I come accross.

        I am used to being looked at in strange ways and being talked about as ‘goofy’. That’s okay. Don’t want to cross the ‘Dirty Old Man’ line without knowing though…

        Regarding emotions, I think experience is more important (for men) than most people realize. It is easier to handle when you have come accross something similar before. Apart from over-generalizing things, this makes us a tiny bit more stable. So changes are a bit bigger that the answer to the puzzle is actually right. Or close.

    • I always thought you didn’t look a day over 25 myself, bang goes that assumption. It’s all downhill from here… 🙂

  4. debsylee

    If you think “old”, you’ll feel old.

    If you feel old, you’ll be old.

    Who cares what people think?

    It’s only the opinions of those you respect and love that matter 🙂

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