Stuart Miles tells us why it’s time men start to talk about ageing.
What do men really think about ageing?
I wanted to write an honest, open and revealing insight into what men really feel about ageing. I wanted to find out what they don't want their mates and partners to know about their feelings on how they look as they grow older, but then I realised of course I’m a man too.
So, I tell you what, instead let's just have a laugh, a bit of banter and take the p**s out of ourselves and our mates who are going grey, losing their hair and whose only way to get any attention from the opposite sex, is by playing the clown.
That’s much better than confronting how we really feel about ourselves isn’t it?
That way we don’t have to do anything about it or show that we are in anyway vulnerable because that’s not a good look, is it?
Step inside the mind of the man!
Any man will be riddled with insecurities about the way he looks as he ages and don’t let him tell you otherwise.
But whilst women are often happy to confront and fight this process, some men just won’t!
Their partners may let them off the hook and tell them that they look great as they age. That’s usually before they see the first grey hair sprouting from their ears and nostrils.
Most women I know like the idea of their men looking well-groomed but without appearing to put any effort in. Let’s be honest, as we age we all know this really isn’t how it is and these things require effort.
Do you think George Clooney just throws a bit of water over his face and leaves the house? No way!
It’s time for us all to be a bit more honest.
Age should be just a number but sadly we are all judged on it. More and more these days it seems that the age we actually look is more important than that actual number. Take the workplace for example. When was the last time you heard an older man complaining about a younger guy nipping at his heals, scared he may be overlooked?
Maybe you never have, but believe you me, it goes on.
Men are naturally competitive so when they are feeling weak and threatened they simply build up their ‘army’.
How many times have you seen a powerful man in the work place surround himself with people, both male and female whom he believes are subservient, purely to maintain his position? This is the alpha male under threat and believe it or not, loss of youthful looks, vigour and energy can contribute to these feelings. They just don’t like to admit it.
When a man realises he is losing that masculine power that his looks once brought him, he needs to compensate in other ways. Some would describe this as a mid-life crisis but that’s too simple, it can happen at any time.
It’s time for us men to be more honest and straightforward about how we feel about our looks and our masculinity, because the two are intrinsically linked.
This is why some men baulk at the idea of male grooming and skin care. At a time when their own masculinity is under threat this path would seem to threaten that even more! Much easier to go the gym, lift some weights and buy a new car!
Lifting weights is great, don’t get me wrong. Our muscles decline as we grow older so it’s important to keep them exercised, but don’t neglect your face, your hair. This is the part the world sees every day and judges you on. This is the part that will keep you looking youthful, vital and energetic, if that’s what really bothers you?
If men are truly honest with ourselves, it does!
During the few short weeks I have been running my new website milesyounger.com I have spoken to many men about how they feel about their looks as they age.
They have opened up to me in a way that they just couldn’t or wouldn’t with their mates or other halves.
Their honesty is revealing, like Leo aged 37.
He’s had a stressful last 6 months, he was married, went through a divorce, he has 2 young children who just love fighting with each other and he has also moved house.
“Within the last 6 months everything’s kind of happened at once and then it was last week I suddenly looked in the mirror and thought, oh my god I actually do look 37, if not older and I want to look to trying to change that.”
Leo went on to say,
“When I’m looking in the mirror I’m seeing wrinkles around the eyes, I’m seeing a receding hairline. I can feel my face which has become chubby because I know my diet’s really bad and I just feel like a mess. From being quite a confident chap, over the past 6 months I’ve just felt my confidence die and actually then when I do look in the mirror and realise I am getting older, you kind of go right, God I really need some help. For me I want to look better, I want to build my confidence back up and I want to get back out there!”
I am helping Leo to look and feel better and the results will hopefully be a game changer for him.
Part of the problem now is we are constantly reminded of our younger selves, 45 year old Mynhardt, says:
“Recently I’ve been looking at old photos. Especially with google, it reminds me and says, look at these photos from 2013. Even 3 years ago the beard wasn’t as grey as it is now. You are more confronted with the ageing process now as you are constantly reminded of your younger self. I definitely don’t want to say goodbye to that just yet.”
Experts agree a lot of ageing is down to stress and men are less well equipped at dealing with stress because they bottle things up more.
58 year old John from London says,
“There’s been some stressful times in my life, maybe that’s contributed to some of the wrinkles. I’ve gone through the change of been married to a woman to meeting a man, separating divorce, upheaval in my life.
I feel young inside but that’s not what I see when I look in the mirror.”
Admitting this and showing your vulnerability is the first step! Changing your grooming habits, lifestyle and your diet is the next.
Start the fight back and take yourself out of your comfort zone, your looks will improve and so will your confidence.
Here’s all the inspiration you need. 65 year-old Steve from York takes his clothes off in front of hen party groups and takes part in life drawing classes.
I’m not suggesting all 65 year-old guys do the same but taking yourself out of your comfort zone is the best thing you can do when you feel age is getting the better of you.
“My wife accepts it” Steve says,
“Doing it greatly enhances my self-confidence and why not?”
Obviously, Steve looks after his body but also his face. He happily admits to applying a protective moisturiser every day and an anti-wrinkle retinol cream around his eyes, which he has done for many years.
“I’m 65 years old, I didn’t look like this when I was 35. We can’t go back but I think it’s just a case of taking care of what I have and delaying as far as possible what is going to happen.”
Steve is in the driving seat as far as the ageing process is concerned.
Remember you don’t have to be macho to be masculine.
Honesty and openness should be celebrated as courageous, brave and self-assured. Men are socialised to believe otherwise, to see this as weak, vulnerable and shameful.
Isn’t it about time we started looking at our own behaviour instead of laughing these things off and saying, ‘it’s just banter mate’?
About Stuart: He's worked as a radio & travel show host