How to spot a man over forty – the definitive guide

Porsche Boxster, a rear mid-engine, rear-wheel...

Porsche Boxster, a rear mid-engine, rear-wheel (RMR) drive sports car (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A little while ago I wrote a blog post about how to tell whether a woman is over 40.  But how do you tell if a man is over 40?  Easy, you say, he manifests all the signs of a mid-life crisis – he buys some ridiculous, utterly impractical 2-seater sports car, or worse a motor bike; he starts wearing a dodgy leather jacket and too-tight jeans; he flirts outrageously with girls half his age in the delusional belief that they find him attractive when in truth they find him pitiably sad.

These things may all be true or they may just be a cliché. It got me thinking however whether in fact there are some more subtle signs which herald the onset of the 40s in a man and I believe there are.  After much observation, here is my list of the signs of an impending mid-life crisis:

– Firstly, in one of Mother Nature’s more cruel jokes, men appear to lose the hair on their head and grow it elsewhere on the body. For some reason Mother Nature seems to think that men no longer need hair on their heads but instead need more hair on their backs and in their ears and noses.  I fail to see what biological reason this body hirsuteness has – perhaps it is just a sort of rough (bristly?) justice to compensate women for the decades of plucking, waxing and depilation that we have to endure. Note – the borrowing of a woman’s tweezers by a man or a sudden interest in waxing are common initial manifestations of the onset of increased body/nasal hair.

– Secondly, the onset of male hypochondria and the diminishment of the male immortality belief. In my experience this male hypochondria often stems from the over 40 health MOTs which many men undergo.  I wholeheartedly endorse such health checks but I strongly believe men should not be given access to any of the results unless absolutely necessary.  Why?  Because men who have never ever shown the remotest interest in health (believing in their immortality), the same men who dismiss all female health problems as either “something down there” or related to the “her time of the month”, suddenly become minutely interested in the details of their own health.  They pick through the smallest print of every blood test – “My phosphate level is slightly high – do you think this is serious, am I going to die?”.  In my opinion, men are best left blissfully unaware of such things, obviously with the exception of any serious illness, and only given information about their health on a need-to-know basis.

– Questioning immortality and insecurity about future health is what drives another sign of a man moving towards middle age – exercise.  I know that I am not one to speak as I frequently wear exercise kit as a way of vicariously exercising and making others believe I have exercised when I have not, but it seems men of a certain age have all the gear and absolutely no idea. They have lycra, expensive trainers and hi-vis clothing coming out of their (hairy?) ears but how often do they actually go out and exercise? Infrequent at most would be my guess.  Although, do note, there is a sizeable subset of men who after the age of 40 take exercise to extreme levels and start competing in iron man competitions and the like (you can spot these men by their eagerness to post race times etc on social networking sites).

– Another sign – falling asleep on the sofa almost every evening at a time that could not reasonably be called bedtime.   This falling asleep can happen almost immediately upon sitting down and is usually accompanied by noisy exhalations.  These narcoleptic tendencies often go hand in hand with the automatic denial the morning after that he fell asleep on the sofa the night before. Sometimes it only becomes undeniable when a man sits down to watch an episode of a programme (having slept through the previous episode) and asks “can you remember what happened in the last episode?” to which a woman replies “Yes thanks and so would you if you had been awake”.

– Watch an over 40s man’s face the next time he is told that a social engagement has been cancelled.  He will almost certainly say things like “What a shame – I was so looking forward to a huge night out” but look carefully at his face because the relief will be almost tangible, his words are just bravado.  The truth of it is that even the most hardened of male party animals secretly enjoys his nights in with a takeaway, a beer and the TV to watch (or sleep in front of…).  In fact, given the choice most over 40s men would rarely go out except for the odd night out with a few mates – the proverbial old man in the pub evening.

So there you have it – he may not buy some wildly inappropriate car or think he is impressing girls half his age but the signs will be there if you look.  The sad truth for men over 40 is that they have now entered the realm of dad-dancing-at-a-wedding and we should probably cut them a bit of slack as they come to terms with all that represents.  It cannot be easy for the male ego to admit that he is not the man he was at 21 and actually pottering around the garden centre of an afternoon is not all that bad…

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turningtwicetwenty plus one

English: Miley Cyrus' signature Español: Firma...

English: Miley Cyrus’ signature Español: Firma de Miley Cyrus Português: Assinatura de Miley Cyrus (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Back by popular demand (well anyway thanks to the couple of people who have asked why I haven’t been blogging). The title of my blog is no longer strictly true – I am now turningtwicetwenty plus one. I am now in the less appealing position of being “in my forties” rather than “forty”.  So what has changed in the year since I turned forty…well, here’s a couple of things for starters:

The wrinkles on my face have increased in quantity and depth with an acceleration which is nothing short of frightening.  I am particularly hating the “expression” lines between my eyes which are less expression and more trench.  Frankly, if they are expression lines, then I must spend the majority of my life frowning and looking grumpy which is also rather disappointing as I have always thought, clearly mistakenly, that I was one of life’s laughers.  I have to admit to moving slightly more in favour of the botox approach and I might even be tempted if it wasn’t for the extremely high likelihood of being the person whose face is plastered on the front page of a Red Top with the headline “Botox botch – woman, 41, scares local children”.

Until fairly recently, I felt that I was quite “up to speed” (I know the fact that I have used that expression demonstrates the complete opposite) on popular music but I can feel my grip slipping.  There have indeed been occasions of late when I have found pop music frankly bewildering:  Miley Cyrus and “twerking”, Lady Gaga prancing bizarrely around the X-Factor stage in some seriously unpleasant flesh-coloured granny-bags (large Bridget Jones pants if you’re wondering). Perhaps most worryingly of all, I actually enjoyed watching Gary Barlow perform his new single because it had a good “tune” (something my parents would have said which would have made me cringe and vow never to be like that when I grew up).

This has definitely been the year that I have started to fall behind with regard to popular culture.  I heard on the radio this morning that the Oxford Dictionaries word of the year is “selfie”. Now I am not so behind that I don’t know what a “selfie” is (although admittedly the clue is in the name) but I have absolutely no idea why taking random photos of myself and sticking them on some social networking site is something in which I would wish to participate. As far as I am concerned it is quite enough of a shock seeing my face in the mirror first thing in the morning without wishing to share that sight with several hundred other people.  Perhaps it is some form of narcissism, I am  not sure, but it seems at best utterly pointless to me. It is rather like karaoke – I know I can’t sing so why would I inflict my talentless tuneless caterwauling on a bar full of people who are hoping for a good night out without the soundtrack of their favourite songs being mullered?

In terms of my home life, not much has altered really over the last year.  I am still employed on a full-time basis as a mother, chef, taxi driver, laundry woman and cleaner.  If anyting I would say that my duties have been increased over the last year as my bosses have got still more demanding. One of my bosses asked me the other day what I get paid on a weekly basis.  I smiled benignly, ruffled his hair and said that I did it all for love not money (as I reached for that large self-medicatory glass of white wine). Although, big boss if you are reading this, some sort of pay rise/time off would be appreciated. The only slightly concerning change in my personal circumstances is that my youngest child is now at full-time school so I am running out of excuses not to do something worthwhile with my days.  Predictably I can think of a thousand things I don’t want to do but am struggling with that one elusive thing that would “fulfil my potential” blah blah blah.  I mustn’t do myself down, if nothing else it takes a certain sort of person to move seamlessly through as many different careers as I have managed in the last twenty years and still not manage to stick at any one thing for any length of time.

So there we have it – not much change over the last year since I started this blog, just a gentle degeneration…oh yes, and the horrifying discovery of my first ever grey hair – yanked from my head with such ferocity that if I was that grey hair, I wouldn’t be making any sort of re-emergence in the near future without serious consideration of my survival potential. Perhaps I’ll continue with this blogging malarkey – I’m not sure.  What do you reckon?  It’s either that or start perusing garden websites or the daily bargains on Achica…