A reader recently suggested there is a decided “male bent” to this column. She challenged me to touch on the aging concerns of women once in a while. Without disputing her observation or ignoring her good advice, I would like to say a few words in my defense.
The reason I don’t write more about women is that I don’t know much about them. No man does. Yes, there are a few experts who claim to be authorities on the subject, but that only confirms their ignorance.
Don’t get me wrong; I like women. One in particular I absolutely love. I know enough about the opposite sex to know she is the woman for me. But I didn’t even get that right until I was over 50. Before I met my lovely wife, there is overwhelming evidence of just how much stupidity I am capable.
This is not to make light of the issues of aging women face. Hardest of all, it appears they often struggle with those challenges alone or in a kind of quiet isolation. The world just doesn’t seem a very sympathetic place for aging ladies. The message seems to be that aging is somehow wrong, like a personal failure.
There is an entire industry that racks up billions every year selling products that purport to hold off, cover up, reverse, remove or otherwise disguise the effects of time on women.
If that isn’t enough, look at the movies. Actresses are getting lifts and tucks before they even have wrinkles. It almost seems the only two women in Hollywood over thirty are Meryl Streep and Susan Sarandon. Meanwhile, we are supposed to believe Tommy Lee Jones is attractive to anyone at all.
Women are in a tough fight and I don’t think it’s a fair match. One only has to recall the old lie that “men get more dignified while women just look older”. Well, who thought of that? Some old guy, I’ll bet.
Still, I’m getting off my point a bit. I would like to write about menopause and the life before and after. The problem is all I understand about the subject is that the most I can do is be supportive and keep anything funny I might think about it to myself.
Let’s face it. If a man went to sleep one size and then bloated up to be the Michelin Man by morning, he would just look in the mirror and think, “Put on some weight. Looks good.” How can it be that ladies worry about every pound while guys go around thinking a beer belly makes them look sexy?
Beyond the unique biological and health issues women face, is the reality that most of them are the world’s care providers. They nurture us in our youth, as well as our dotage. In the end, they are often left alone. For it may be “women and children first” in an emergency, but when it comes to leaving this earth men are surprisingly willing to volunteer to go first.
So, I will try to expand both my knowledge and the inclusiveness of this column on the subject. However, when I say I will do the best a man can do, you must remember that is a very low standard.
Aging in place, it doesn’t happen by accident but it does happen to all of us, in spite of what we think.