Men & Aging: Do They REALLY Accept It — Or Is This An Illusion?

By Arden Edelcup

“Youth is happy because it has the capacity to see beauty. Anyone who keeps the ability to see beauty never grows old.” ― Franz Kafka

My husband just turned 50, which means that I officially sleep with a man with an AARP card. Those first few celebratory days during his birthday week, he gleefully showed it off half expecting our friends to exclaim, “Holy shit man, you look like a teenage stud muffin. No way are you that old.” When no one reacted with shock at the sight of a 50-year-old looking guy brandishing an AARP card, he quietly tucked it away into his wallet. He only mentions it now in reference to those dandy senior citizen discounts he can get at the movie theater.  And while I have tried to deny the nagging indignities that come with our aging bodies, those four letters emblazoned on that card are the concrete reminder that we ain’t getting any younger.

And while intellectually and mathematically, I am completely aware that this aging thing happens to everyone, the immature teenager who still lingers wants to stomp her feet in protest.

This was not supposed to happen to us. Yet somehow it did. The ironic thing about facing the aging thing is the absolute acceptance men appear to have with it.  My husband shrugs it off with a spunky little one liner, “Beats the alternative!”

Annoyingly, most men I know feel pretty darn good about themselves — those growing foreheads and jiggly bellies don’t rock their confidence.

Rarely does a middle-aged guy mope into my salon with his head hung low in shame because he has three hairs left on his head. No sir. He will yank a bottle of $20 shampoo off the shelves with gusto. He will treat those few hairs to the best lathering money can buy. In all of my years in the beauty trenches, I have never once seen a guy sulk that he is losing his sexual prowess because of his shiny hairless scalp.

My divorced girlfriends who have been catapulted into this middle-aged dating game have bemoaned that they are shocked at this “middle-aged male delusion”.  Recently, one of these friends went on a first date with an overweight bespectacled guy. While she wasn’t blown away by his looks, she decided to give this pouchy guy a chance.  He rewarded her by divulging that he is in counseling over his addiction to “plastic women”.  His standards are just so darn high that he can only get it up for skinny gals whose lips and breasts are inflated with silicone. My friend dropped $30 on a salon blowout for the pleasure of listening to a misogynistic confessional from a fat aging guy with a tuft of bushy ear hair.

So what is really going on here?

Are men really immune to the insecurities and indignities of aging?

Are they really “cool” with the newly sprouted back hair and reading glasses? Or, is this self-acceptance bullshit really masking their painful male insecurities? Clearly men aren’t comfortable spilling their emotional truths so I engaged in some covert actions (aka old-fashioned snooping ) and found some hardcore evidence to bust my husband on his uber-cool attitude toward aging. It didn’t take me long to gather this evidence. He snagged my little hair color wand (used to cover those wiry gray hairs between color appointments) and had it tucked away in his bathroom drawer.  When I waved the evidence at him, he coughed up the truth with an uncomfortable laugh. He’d used it to color his graying temples– only once. So he says.

The more I talked to friends, I was relieved to hear that while their men don’t shout it from the rooftops, they have ALL found shards of evidence that their men struggle with aging too.

Some have an arsenal of Rogaine-like haircare products, and others sneak off to the spa to wax their furry backs. Yes, each in their own way is making an attempt to fight back the hands of time.

So Ladies, here is a subtle suggestions of must-have anti-aging grooming items that you can sneak into your man’s bathroom drawer, and make the process easier for him:

1 Conair® Nose and Ear Hair Trimmer
Conair’s sleek, chrome-finished trimmer for nose and ears is a mere 5 1/2″ high. Only the size of an electric toothbrush, it can be quietly tucked away in any bathroom drawer. It is truly a must-have for all men over a certain age who start sprouting hair “in and out” of places that can be truly upsetting for our men, and um, not super sexy for us gals.

2. DS Laboratories Revita High Performance Hair Growth Stimulating Shampoo
This is the only shampoo product that combines specific anti-DHT action with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. I’ve seen men with a diminishing hairline sport some pretty impressive growth.  This product line is like chicken soup, it can only help and it certainly can’t hurt to try.

3. Dreamlook Greyfree Instant Temporary Hair Color Touch Up
An easy-to-apply instant touch-up wand for those pesky gray sideburns, mustaches and beards. It comes in all hair colors and is water resistant so your man can keep up that youthful appearance even on your beach vacations.

4. Dermalogica Daily Defense for Men SPF 15
Multi-tasking daytime lotion soothes post-shave irritation and shields against skin-aging UV rays. non-greasy, non-chalky lotion conditions post-shave, and helps fight ingrown hairs.  It also comes in a stark packaging so your guy can feel quite masculine as he battles those age spots.

When my husband turned 50, he also announced that he was going to start taking up Judo classes again. The last time he tossed a guy on the floor was 1980 but that didn’t stop my spunky AARP-carrying dude from trying it again. On the day of that first class, he bounced out of the house full of energy and joy at the chance to relive those high-school passions. Three hours later, my haggard honey dragged himself into the house and fell into bed. His last words before he passed out from exhaustion were, “I was the oldest guy there … but they treated me with a lot of respect. I loved it.”

I kissed his sweaty head as he fell fast asleep …

Beauty Babe’s  “Product Junkie” Review

I just tried “True Smooth” by Coolway. This unique spray claims that you will not need a flat iron if you squirt this innovative spray into your wet hair. Considering that it won Allure’s “Beauty Breakout Product of the Year” — I couldn’t resist the challenge. The results were good but clearly the claim was a bit overstated. My hair felt soft and sleeker but I still needed to rev up the flat iron. Visit their website www.coolwayhair.com and use code BeautyStat14 to receive a 10% discount.

Lisa Barr, Editor of GIRLilla Warfare: Arden Edelcup is a Mom of three “Indiana Hoosiers” and owner, with her hubby Earl Edelcup, of Ross’s in Highland Park, Illinois. Check out her website: www.rosscosmetic.com.


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