Is there a male menopause? As a man in his mid-50s, I have recently become aware of getting older. Increasing age has had a curious effect on my psyche. I am noticing, on an almost daily basis, that I am thinking, feeling and behaving in ways that are starkly different from my youth and earlier adulthood. I will share these experiences on this blog and hope others will join me in describing their own age-related quirks and oddities. I can't be the only one at this "funny age", can I??
I’m good at some things. My Sunday roast propels fellow
diners into orgasmic rapture, I’m a more-than-decent public speaker, and the
speed of my mental arithmetic makes Sheldon appear mathematically challenged.
Nonetheless, it is important to be aware of one’s weaknesses – in the words of
Clint Eastwood’s Dirty Harry, ‘A man’s got to know his limitations’.
So here is a list of my limitations. And I’m not referring
to the ‘I’m-not-quite-as-strong-at’ sort of deficiencies – no sirree – these
are activities where I demonstrate such stunning incompetence that onlookers
assume parts of my brain have gone walkabouts.
Opening cereal boxes
Mrs Jones begs me to ask for her
help when opening breakfast cereals. By the time I’ve prised off the cellophane
wrap from my Kellogg’s cornflakes, I’m in no mood to explore the subtleties of
the cardboard re-fastening device on the top of the box. Instead, I assault it
from the flank, penetrating it with a forefinger and tearing it open. For its
remaining shelf life, it sits bloated with its inners exposed, as if opened by a
stick of dynamite.
I love listening to popular
music, but when it comes to singing I’m tone deaf. When I let fly in the shower
with my rendition of the Eagles’s Lying
Eyes, Mrs Jones cringes, the local authority sees a sharp rise in reported
incidents of noise pollution, and the nightingales self-destruct. My attempts
at the high notes have even been known to interfere with my neighbours’ Wi-Fi
Men are expected to shine in the
Do-it-yourself department, delighting their ladies with displays of competence
around the home and garden. Not this bloke; I’m utterly useless. I’ve no idea
how to rewire a plug (all those colours are so confusing), the prospect of
putting up a curtain rail causes me sleepless nights, and my sole contribution
to assembling a flat-pack wardrobe from Ikea is checking we’ve received the
correct number of nuts and bolts (as I’ve said, I’m great at counting).
My level of ineptitude reached a
humiliating high last week. Armed with my brand new hedge trimmer, I strutted
into the front garden to prune the bushes. Within ten seconds, I was left
holding an impotent machine with a limp six-inches of wire dangling; yep, I’d
inadvertently cut through the electric cord and short-circuited the house.
For 30 years, the task of wrapping
Christmas and birthday gifts has usually defaulted to Mrs Jones. She excels at
it. Her dressed parcels always display crisp, symmetrical edges, with a
skin-tight paper covering, minimal sticky tape, and a decorative bow.
Unfortunately, it wouldn’t seem
right to ask Mrs Jones to wrap my gifts to her (although I have considered this
option) and I’ve no choice but to do it myself. On these rare occasions, the
end product looks as if it presented a moving target, one I didn’t quite catch
up with. Excess wrapping paper loiters at each end of the parcel, forming
unsightly bulges, and the (half-a-roll of) sticky tape appears to have been
applied via a scatter gun with each piece creased and misshapen.
Drawing and artwork
I can recall sitting in an art
lesson as a child and the teacher leaning over my shoulder and whispering, ‘You’re
bloody useless, Jones’. That man was a shrewd judge. If I’m denied the use of
words, I’m void of all creativity. My attempts at drawing resemble the
scribblings of a three-year-old and, if it’s not painting by numbers, the colouring
stuff remains in the box.
When God was giving out internal
radars, he must have skipped my name. Either that or he had a sense of humour,
and relished the prospect of me groping around the earth in a permanent state
of spatial confusion. My sense of direction is dreadful. In a strange town I
can enter a building and, when I exit, I often fail to recall which direction I
approached from. Many hours have been wasted trying to find my parked the car.
And when driving to a specified destination I’ve sometimes, after hours of
futile circling, given up and headed for home - that is, of course, if I can find it.
Thank goodness for the greatest
invention of our time: satellite navigation.
Does anyone else care to disclose