Is My Mirror Lying?

Final Portrait?

The other day I pulled out a picture of myself from when I was 27.  My first response was, “what’s up with this photo?  It doesn’t look the same as my image in the mirror…”  You see, when I look in the mirror, I see myself as someplace around 27 or 30.  Is it possible the mirror is lying?  I mean, look at the picture at the top of the page.  That’s not the picture of a middle aged man, is it?  (Note – in this context I am talking someone who is really around half way through life (40 – 60 is half way to 80 -120), not as a euphemism for “as old as rocks” (80 middle aged? how many 160-year-olds do you know?))

Here is the thing: a middle aged man doesn’t feel middle aged.  Well, some might, but I don’t. If I met my 27-year-old-self, I’d be able to keep up with most of what he did, except cycle – I haven’t been biking much lately while I used to ride 150 miles+ a week back then.  I know I am stronger in most ways and I get sick a lot less often.  In general, I am at least as healthy.  My mind works quicker on a lot of subjects.  I come up with new ideas quicker, solve problems a lot faster; I have forgotten more than I knew back then.  I sometimes see old writing of mine and ask myself, “Who is that idiot?”  My libido is just as strong, though I do a better job controlling it.  I feel great, as good as I’ve ever felt.  The only area that I feel behind in is my eyesight.  I do use reading glasses now.  Sometimes.

The older we get the more often we reassure ourselves with “age is just a number”.  We even believe it to some extent.  And in many ways it’s true.  In my work life there are people of all ages.  Even in my social life there are people of all ages.  I’ve done things with people of mixed ages and we’ve all enjoyed it with no inter-generational grumbling.  I’ve spent days with people in their early twenties and felt as much a part of the gang as any of them, and I’ve spent the day as the youngest in a crowd of people who ranged up to their eighties.  A lot of it is just a state of mind.  Sure, there comes a time when you have to slow down, but I’m not there yet.

Of course, when I hang out with people in their 20s, I will feel out of place after a while.  There are a few things, with cultural references being the biggest.  I don’t watch TV and haven’t since I was a teen.  I know the names of some of the shows, but…  And bands.  I hear new music, but I don’t even try to keep up anymore.  I’m not some old fogey who says, “what’s with the music these days!!” I actually like a lot of it, but now days I listen mostly to jazz and classical.  With all of the missing cultural references, when I’m with a group of young people, there comes a time when I have no idea what they are talking about.

And then there is, “let’s do…!!!”  and I say, “really?  Why?  That’s boring.  Been there, done that, let’s move on.”  What’s cool changes.  Sometimes it changes a lot.  Interests are a lot different.  To be fair, they all think that what I do is ultra-boring (place eye-roll here).

So there are times when age is more than just a number.

If I were single, would I want to date a woman in her early twenties, say fresh out of college?  There is a part of me that says, “hell yes!” but the more practical part of me says, “no way”.  Besides what I said in the last two paragraphs, there are a few big issues.  She would be just starting out, looking at life ahead, making plans for a career.  She’d be discovering who she is.  Right now, although self-discovery is life long, I’m relatively comfortable in my skin and I’m trying to figure out what I need to do to have an early retirement.  Do you see a disconnect there?  Career planning vs. retirement planning?  So I will notice a woman a lot younger than me and maybe even flirt a little without realizing what I’m doing (though typically I’m too shy for that), but if I stop to think about it, I really don’t need a long term relationship with someone just starting their life.  It would be unfair to her, for one thing.

This post went in an entirely different direction than what I had in mind.  Oh well.  Where I was going really had little to do with me personally.  I wanted to talk about “middle age men” in general, and the fact that so many middle aged men seem to be attracted to, and sometimes flirt with, much younger women.  Some even try really hard to pick up much younger women.  (As stated above, I am using a definition here of someone who really is half way through life, not a euphemism for an ancient person.  I’m talking 40 – 60.  Of course, that is a problem – I’ve typically heard “middle age” as being mid 50s through early 70s and then old after that.  So when I read a post about middle age men, does it have anything to do with me?)  The middle aged man chasing a 22 year-old-woman happens a lot, perhaps too often, and always has.  But is it possible for a young woman to be friends with a middle aged man without worrying about sexual advances?  I say yes.  Should she be careful? Of course.  They can have a very fulfilling, non-sexual relationship.  But the fact remains that straight middle aged men are attracted to women in general and young women in particular.  Some act on that attraction.

Just FYI – I started this as an answer to a question on Britta’s blog, but I think I took it a bit too far the wrong direction.  What do you think?

 

Advertisements

22 thoughts on “Is My Mirror Lying?

  1. Pingback: If We Were Having Coffee on the 18th of March | Trent's World (the Blog)

    1. trentpmcd Post author

      And I’m curious on what you mean by “Why do they?” Why do who do what? OK, I’m going to guess the question is “Why do middle-aged men try to pick up women in their early 20s?” which is what Britta’s original post was about.

      I’m not sure, but I think some people want to hang onto youth. Perhaps these people feel young when they are around young people – I sometimes do, but sometimes it just makes me feel older. Anyway, so they are attracted to youth, it makes them feel younger, whatever, and they want to be closer to it, part of it. Yet a teenager looks like a kid to a 40 something or 50 something (or older). So early 20s is young, but not a kid. Of course it could be that some (sleazy) guys feel that it it is easier to take advantage of someone with less life experience. Don’t know.

      Anyway, I’m sure I misinterpreted your question, so what did you mean by “Why do they”?

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
      1. Ocean Bream

        No that is exactly what I meant! I was asking from an insecure perspective really. I am 22 years old, but I feel way older. And if I was a forty year old woman, and my spouse/partner/counterpart would rather look at and flirt with a 22 year old rather than me, I would feel very odd about that. But I don’t know if I would want to flirt with a 22 year old man if I was forty. I find it interesting that a fifty something person would think it was okay to flirt with an under 25 year old, but it happens, and some people (both ages) are okay with that. Maybe it is just insecurity on my part that I am sceptical about the reasons why… I mean if my husband made eyes at a 22 year old when I was forty I would whack him with my handbag… hahaha. I see what you mean about ‘clinging on to youth’ and the fact that ‘it makes them feel younger’. That makes more sense than anything, really, and is more reassuring than the other ‘sleazy’ option. I suppose nobody really ever grows ‘old’, apart from physically.

        Liked by 1 person

        Reply
        1. trentpmcd Post author

          If I ever stop noticing a pretty woman, go ahead and bury me because I’m dead! ;) Of course, if I flirt too much, whack me with the handbag, I deserved it. You’re right, most people don’t grow old except physically.

          Actually, it isn’t just clinging to youth, it is our culture which tells us that young is beautiful and old is ugly, particularly where women are concerned. It is getting better – these days media/Hollywood, etc, do show good looking/sexy older woman. For some odd reason they always had old men as romantic heroes and in the past pushed the idea that it’s OK for old men to like young women. I guess it’s because in the past the entertainment business was run 100% by old men! But it has mostly been recently that they’ve allowed romantic leads in women to be older. Never underestimate the how much media/entertainment affects people! Culture runs deep.

          Of course, at 22 the last thing you need to worry about is what your husband will do when you’re 40! I understand about being insecure, but worrying that far out is useless. One thing, if I notice a younger woman, it doesn’t mean that I think any worse of my wife. Being physically attracted to a stranger is not the same thing as the love you hold for your partner! Of course if I obviously flirt with someone else than the person I’m with, well, that is just being rude. But it doesn’t mean I want to go home with that stranger instead of the person I’m with. We can be very shallow and think about looks, but in the end, if there isn’t a deep emotional bound with your husband when you are 40, no physical attraction will fix the problem. Love is much deeper and transcends physical beauty.

          OK, I’ll stop rambling ;)

          Liked by 1 person

          Reply
          1. Ocean Bream

            Well I am really glad I stumbled on your blog actually, this is extremely enlightening. You have answered a question I have been internally pondering for a very long time! Firstly yes I agree wholeheartedly about Hollywood negating to portray older women as good looking or sexy, but always seeming to find older men who are. Things are definitely getting better in that department though, for sure. Noticing an attractive woman is, well, inevitable really. We are attracted to beautiful things :) That is an excellent point you make about emotional connection triumphing over the shallow attraction of looks, however. It certainly puts things into perspective. I really enjoyed your rambling, this was really eye opening! :)

            Liked by 1 person

            Reply
            1. trentpmcd Post author

              I’m glad you got something out of my ramblings. Hollywood is pretty sexist, but it is slowly changing. From their point of view, they are giving people what they want, but on the other side, they often drive what is popular. Anyway, hopefully ageism in all forms will fade away, just as we want to see other prejudices go away.

              Liked by 1 person

              Reply
  2. DailyMusings

    I can relate. In my head I’m still in my 20’s but looking in the mirror gravity has done its thing, and when hanging around 20 year olds I just laugh to myself inside when they are having angst over whatever they are. I feel like you though about never growing up

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. trentpmcd Post author

      It is funny that we feel so young, but when we spend too much time with youth, we’re glad we’re not any more! From every picture I’ve seen of you I can tell that you will never grow up ;) You have a look in your eye that you enjoy life.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  3. D. Wallace Peach

    I liked this post, Trent. Women go through some of the same musing as age starts to show and our identities have to transform. I think we move more fully into our richer selves. I wouldn’t want to go back to my twenties if it meant I had to relive all the stress of that time of life. I’m quite content being middle-aged. :-)

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. trentpmcd Post author

      Thanks. I very rarely think of myself as middle aged, but I am quite content when I do, at least for the most part. There is a lot to be said about “maturity”. Of course, as I said in another comment, I am still fighting “growing up” ;)

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  4. taylorgraceauthor

    I loved your post, Trent. It was so honest and very personal and refreshing to hear someone say all the positive things about not being in our twenties. Thanks for that lovely post that went in the ‘wrong’ direction. :D

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. trentpmcd Post author

      Thanks! I very rarely talk about age, because to me there is no reason why I should. Not that I’m trying to hide it, at least not much ;) And thanks for the rest of it too!

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  5. sherloque

    I don’t know what to say, it’s a lot easier when you don’t bother about age at all. When I shared my life with Fulah Africans they didn’t really know their date of birth and therefore really didn’t bother about anyone’s age. And that was fantastic. Nowadays in France, age is mentioned before your name just about! Instead of saying “a woman had an accident”, you read and hear “a sixty year old had an accident”… I can’t stand it. As for flirting (we don’t date her in France, we flirt) well, flirting being a French sport not usually leading to anything serious, age doesn’t make a difference. If you’re on the hunt for a partner, that’s another story. In your case Trent, first, I wouldn’t look at myself in the mirror so often, and, two, remember the “bird” (Australian slang for a “chick” i.e. a woman) hidden in the bushes with red plumage…

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. trentpmcd Post author

      You are right – most of the problems with age that listed are very much cultural, not biological. We do make too much of an issue with age in the western world. There is a set pattern that a life is supposed to follow, and it is a hard pattern to break.

      I have heard that flirting is the national sport in France and it has been elevated to a high art (I’m currently listening to Berlioz Symphonie Fantastique, which he wrote to impress a girl – flirting does become much higher art than that!). Actually, despite what I said here, I do occasionally flirt, but I am a bit shy, so it isn’t with the greatest of artistry…

      I’m not really on the hunt for a partner now. This was written in response to a young lady that I know talking about guys my age trying to pick her up when she’s out doing stuff when she is alone. It was pretty much free association – I just wrote as it came to mind.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  6. utesmile

    I think everyone men and women, never feel their age. As I can say for myself, being over 50, I definitely feel younger. I read Britta’s post too, and I can say that it works both ways. While I was dating a while ago there were young men in their 20’s, who wanted a “mature” woman. It just depends on the man/woman. I totally agree with you: it is better to stay in your own age range for a relationship as you see the world with similar eyes and have similar experiences.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. trentpmcd Post author

      Everyone is a little different and sees the world in a different way. I have heard that going out with “more mature” women (I won’t use the term they use ;) ) is very popular these days, but Britta isn’t the only young lady I know that has older men picking up on her. Age range can vary, but, yeah, a 25 or 30 year difference is too big….

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply

Express Yourself

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s