Us. Men of a certain age, as in the photo on the right. We’ve certainly looked at the way the State has stacked things against this group in favour of women and the social consequences of that but this blog has never really taken such men to task, except as politicians and other excrescences.
This was brought on by this David Stockman pontificating on the economy and the unfortunate thing is that he’s right to a great extent, even if his manner gets up the nose. There certainly is a greater wisdom, in a home truths homily way, that the years bring, a more calm demeanour in the average male as he slows but there is also an impatience, a curmudgeonliness, a rigidity, both physically and mentally and then the health issues begin. They can be held off for a long time but they do eventually begin.
That makes a man more curmudgeonly and I’m thinking of me da here. My stepfather never really became curmudgeonly but equally, he had trouble suffering fools or people who didn’t act with decency.
Views which are really quite wrong and can be demonstrated to be wrong can be held fiercely by this age man and everyone else is a conspiracy theorist. The trouble is – though he can be right about people in the micro sense, he hasn’t devoted his life to politics – he’s devoted it to his workplace and family – and so his political knowledge is, shall we say, generally rudimentary. The idea that an elite is conspiring against him doesn’t register.
He likes his routines, he’s neither here nor there on travelling the world any more, unlike his ever-restless wife and this caricature was in an Oxford English publication a decade back in a piece on Americans in Yurrup. Not only was it a heinously politically incorrect piece on the sexes but it also had a go at yoof/age and American/European conflicts.
I loved it.
So there was the spectacle of four people – her, well fed and with her hair permed, guidebook in hand, looking at anything and everything, he [named Bob] in the least stylish gear you can imagine, mismatched trousers at half-mast, traipsing along behind, wanting his lunch, with the daughter, slightly well fed and well on the way, in all her self-entitlement and appalling dress sense she calls style, plus the callow young man [her fiancee they're "welcoming into the family"] with no character at all – there to make up the numbers.
I liked Bob. “Well golly-gosh, look at that church, Bob,” she’d half-shriek and he’d grind his false teeth, “this is the real Yurrup. Come on Bob, never mind that young girl over there. Let’s go – we only have till sunset.” Or words to that effect.
Bob wants to sit down somewhere with the paper and escape the hen-pecking and relentless pace of this “trip to end all trips”, he regrets the money they’re “wasting”, he wants to be fishing or hunting or standing in the workshop with some other ageing curmudgeon, looking at what his mate has produced on the lathe, he wants to watch the baseball back home.
He needs the bathroom.
I’m still a cross between Bob and her – restless much of the time but doing absolutely zero in the off time – the laziest man on earth. Which is another thing – strongly held, extreme views, even if most of those views are moderate. I’d not wish to become like Bob in all respects as I’d not be much use to anyone then. Nor do I wish to be like her because she’d wear you out.
And I’d especially not wish to be young anymore, in the sense of those two. Callow, raw, always concerned about extrinsics, as Agatha said, standing on rights, divorcing, wanting to see, do and have it all – so much to prove. No thanks – give me maybe a decade ago – still with my health, still eager to try things, but also living the quiet life with minimum angst [except on the blog].
You can see why women wish to move on once men get like this, closing the shutters, shutting up shop, whilst there’s still so much she still doesn’t possess, hasn’t seen – the fear of missing out is so strong with the ladies.
Scene – hotel room in Tenerife, she’s fallen asleep on the bed about 11 p.m., I tiptoe about so as not to wake her under any circumstances, knowing that if she wakes, she’ll want to go clubbing half the night.
About midnight, she opens one eye and says, “You’re not fooling anyone you know. Come on, get dressed while I’m in the bathroom.”
Men – we have to come to terms with all this if we want to still be part of the game – provided anyone wants us to be, of course. Perhaps we should just have a Curmudgeon Island somewhere, where the fishing’s good, it’s always warm and the lovelies abound. Wives and other females can have their permanent world tour.
Just a thought.