Psychology and the Retirement Nest Egg

heart-moneyMost of us Baby Boomers have launched retirement calculators a thousand times. Almost every financial institution has one, and invariably, the ones we tend to go to offer the most optimistic outlooks on how much we can spend until the day we die.

The problem is that no one knows exactly when they’re going to die, or if they’re going to die for those of us who’ve opted for cryogenic sleep.

Nonetheless, there is still an annual charge for keeping a body on ice, perhaps for a thousand years or more, so there’s that.

So here’s the dirty rotten obnoxious and existential nightmare-provoking truth: You probably won’t outlive your money.

As I stated in my book, Urban Dystrophy, The Perverse Truths About Mid Life in the Big City, a starter portfolio is $5,000,000.

I know I know. How the hell are you supposed to save $5,000,000 on a $500,000 annual salary over the course of 25 or 30 years?

After taxes somewhere in the 39% range, you’re only taking home somewhere in the $300,000 range.

If you own a home that costs $1,000,000, you can expect to pay $25,000 in property taxes and after a 20% deposit, approximately $60,000/year on a mortgage.

Now add electricity and other related home expenses and you’re down to $200,000 — and you haven’t taken a vacation, bought a single meal or paid a single car note.

Back out those expenses and with luck you have approximately $150,000 left over.

If, however, you have 2 kids, you have basically nothing left over.

So, for the past 25 years you’ve made $12,500,000 and don’t have a dime left in the bank.

Even if you were frugal enough to contribute $75,000,000 a year to a retirement account [for 25 years], you would still only have $1,875,000 in contributions, plus investment interest at an average of around 5%, so $2,800,000 – $3,000,000.

Seriously?

If you retire at age 65, that’s not even close to enough for anyone I know.

The reason for this is because you want to live the same way you did before you retired, which means you’ll need a few million more to generate the income you need to avoid running out of money before your time is up.

For most men I know who give a crap about living well in retirement, the number is around $7,000,000.

At a 5% return, you’re still at 350k/year.

If, however, market crashes, feel free to put a bullet in your head because being broke isn’t worth the struggle for older people.

THE PSYCHOLOGY OF MONEY

Most men my age validate themselves based upon their relative financial security.

And while every psychiatrist on the planet will call bullshit on this because it’s about as unhealthy a perspective as one might have given the vagaries of money.

But nothing is going to change it unless you plan to join a monastic congregation in Burma.

Money is kind of like a living thing that follows you around wherever you go.

When it doesn’t, you have a big fat fucking problem.

Walk into a car dealership, new prospective home…or hell, the Apple store, and see what happens when the money monster isn’t with you and smiling.

Then you know true meaning of nausea.

The reason you feel the hubris of filthy rich older men with the tans, snow white veneers and $3000 suits is because they’ve beaten the system.

They’ve overcome whatever life can throw at them, shy of a brain aneurysm, stroke or stage 3 cancer.

In other words, they can ride out the highs and low of the stock market, or pay marginal tax increases and still live their lives without making any changes whatsoever.

This is where you want to be, but unfortunately, probably won’t be.

The media is always talking about wealth; who has this or that.

Magazines feature $5,000,000 homes like they’re normal abodes for anyone who’s led a reasonably successful life.

But this is a lie.

The only way to afford a home like that is to inherit it or sell something.

Salaries don’t pay for homes in that price rage.

Investment capital does.

Psychologically, this is a massive hurdle for otherwise success older men facing retirement.

You look down the road at the rest of your life and you don’t see the picture you’ve been sold…and there isn’t a damn thing you can do about it.

Many men lose their younger girlfriends and/or wives to cut backs in lifestyle.

The ones who don’t tend to be with women their own age who have little to no value on the dating market, who and just sty put.

On top of all this we have a government hell bent and determined to tax out of existence everyone in the middle to upper middle class – including the bottom end of the top 3%.

This is because there are more of them than there are people with $100,000,000 or more who don’t feel any tax increases whatsoever.

So now we have an oligarchy and you’re on the wrong side of it.

WHAT TO DO

1] Figure out how much you absolutely, positively need to live the way you want to live and carve your expectations accordingly.

2] Accept that fact that as you near the end of your life, your retirement savings will be nearing the ends of it’s life.

3] Add 5 years to your anticipated lifeline and then hope and pray you don’t outlive it.

4] Find someone in your personal life who can handle stock market turbulence.

5] Don’t marry a gold-digger unless you’re in the $100,000,000 demographic.

Mick Jagger, 72, Fathers 8th Child Melanie Hamrick, 29

243DF49600000578-2884903-image-m-48_1419344998898Melanie Hamrick, 29, is mother to Jagger’s 8th child.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-3691150/Nothing-fazes-Sir-Mick-Jagger-72-set-father-ballerina-girlfriend-Melanie-Hamrick-29.html

BTW, who cares if it’s his 22nd child? He could father a nation and still support them so shut the hell up.

As for the rest of you, try having just one you can afford.

The rest of us are sick of paying your bills.

4 Nannies + 2 Twins = How Money Evens the Playing Field

35ABB34800000578-3660312-Happily_ever_after_Rolling_Stones_musician_Ronnie_Wood_69_and_hi-m-113_1466900894627

Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood, 69, and his wife Sally, 38, tend to their newborns, Gracie Jane and Alice Rose. 

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-3660312/Full-house-Ronnie-Wood-69-hires-FOUR-nannies-help-wife-Sally-Wood-38-tend-newborn-twins-Gracie-Jane-Alice-Rose.html

~~~

In days gone by [lots of them], a man of 69 was, for the most part, on his death bed.

The very last thing he was doing was having children with a woman 30 years his junior.

Then something happened [a lot, actually], and this same man is now clean and sober [for the most part, I assume], propped up by the miracles of medical science, and thus, living like there’s no tomorrow.

This is what fame and fortune [fame + money = relevance] does for most men.

It’s like a blood transfusion that just keeps giving and giving.

You’ll note that many of the comments under the article are dismissive of him and his “relationship.”

People simply can’t resist the temptation to criticize his motives, and hers.

Nothing is real. It’s all one big endless past time for a man who has nothing left to do with the time he’s not touring.

Well let’s get real.

No one in their right mind has kids at 69 without the ability to afford nannies…lots of them.

It’s not that he doesn’t want to be a part of their lives, just not all of it.

As for his young wife, she’ll do her part, with lots of help, while her husband does what he does when he wants to do it, because like he’s Ronnie Wood and the scales have to balance somewhere.

Wealthy older men have reached a point in their lives where they just don’t give a crap what other people think about them and their lifestyles.

For one thing, they don’t have to. Nothing rides on their reputations in the office.

This is the beauty of success. No one can fault you for it no matter how you choose to live out your years.

It’s like a golden wrapper, a force field that follows you around wherever you go.

You walk into a restaurant, hotel, resort property – even local liquor store – and there’s a kind of parting of the waves.

It’s something you get used to, which is one reason men who find themselves suddenly without it blow their brains out.

The story here is really about what it’s like to feel validated for everything you ever dreamed of as a little boy.

For young men there is tremendous pressure to amount to something, to achieve.

And as we age we gauge our success by those around us, hoping that we’re still close to the front of the line, relevant, valid.

All older men validate themselves on their achievements whether they admit it or not.

They subconsciously sum up everything to a series of equations and derive a number that determines their relative worth.

And while some men do not base their lives solely on financial success, I don’t know any.

While vicariously living through one’s children is a fallback position, it really sucks to rely on their financial support.

The moral of this story is that life is a food chain no matter how you dice it.

You have to fight for every scrap, and then live to tell a very tall tale that you and people around you can easily quantify.

It is unforgiving, savage, and brutally objective.

This is why reality television focusing on the super rich is so popular, while anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults…and counting.

Now you know why people beat up on Ronny Wood…and why Daily Mail published it in the first place.

Concluding Remarks and Data Points

  • 1% (2 out of 233) became wealthy before the age of 40
  • 3% (6 out of 233) became wealthy between age 40 and 55
  • 16% (38 out of 233) became wealthy between age 46 and 50
  • 28% (66 out of 233) became wealthy between age 51 and 55
  • 31% (73 out of 233) became wealthy between age 56 and 60
  • 21% (48 out of 233) became wealthy after the age of 60

So yes, Ronnie was one lucky SOB.

Why Rich Older Guys Can’t Find the “Right” Women

sugar-baby-travel

The reasons men of means have difficulty finding true love has everything to do with them, and nothing whatsoever to do with the relative health of their investment portfolios.

~~~

The following is a conversation between yours truly and one of these men.

By the time you’re half way through it, you’ll understand the dilemma.

“John” is a nom de plume.

JOHN

“I just met this woman who is perfect! Perfect body, nice skin, teeth…and she has a perfect ass. A little flat on top, but I can fix that.”

ME

“Where did you meet her?

JOHN

At a really nice steakhouse. She was at the bar having drinks with a girlfriend.

ME

Is she from here?

JOHN

I think so. She’s in school.

ME

How old is she?

JOHN

33

ME

So she’s getting a graduate degree or something?

JOHN

I don’t know all of that, but she is really into fitness and wants to workout with me at the club.

ME

I’m sure she does. What does she do for a living? Does she have a job?

JOHN

Yea, she’s in medical sales or something like that. She’s really smart.

ME

I bet.

~~~

So this is how it all starts.

There’s a checklist that runs in the blood.

You’ll notice the same list in 22-year-old men who don’t have resources and children that must withstand their poor life choices.

Such men can ebb and flow with the tides, relatively unscathed.

But when an older man of means gets caught up in what feels like a rip current, it can drag his entire life straight to hell before he has time to repair the damage.

The point is older men of means have a tendency to forget their age and financial station relative to the women they choose to date.

In their minds, they’re still at Stanford, and the women are on a field in front of them carrying lacrosse rackets.

This is the delusion that settles in like virus and hides out in their spinal columns for the duration of their lives.

It’s incurable, but it can be contained.

Unfortunately, containing it is akin to death to many, so it just does what the hell it wants until there’s nothing left to do.

I can’t tell an older man that his choices are ass-backwards. He doesn’t want to hear it.

What he wants to hear is that a beautiful young woman of unknown origin and lifestyle will love him for who he is.

He wants it to all the be same way things were 30 years ago.

This is the psychopathology.

This is also why these men rarely – if ever – find the “right” women.

They don’t exist anymore than the person they were 30 years ago exists.

Now they’re standing at a steakhouse bar in the middle of a massive metropolis, hallucinating.

And who takes advantage of their hallucinations?

You guessed it.

5 Bullet Points of Note

1] Never choose a woman based solely upon her appearance thinking you can fix the rest of it. In her mind, the rest is not broken. You are.

2] If a woman in a steakhouse says she’s in school at 33, she is in class where you’re standing.

3] Your fantasies are public knowledge, which means that the women you meet have your number.

4] Line items are fine, but not particularly practical.

5] Imagine your world without money and then place that template over the women in your sights.

Inter-Generational Relationships Are Challenging Like All Other Relationships […with a few exceptions]

Why-younger-women-date-older-men

So let’s say you’re an attractive 30-year-old woman who’s fallen for a man of 60.

While it may provide shelter from the storm of corporate climbing and adolescent pack animals, it’s not all roses.

There are inherent risks, difficulties, and pitfalls that may prove impossible to overcome.

But most women I know who find themselves in such relationships know exactly what they’re getting themselves into, and won’t leave without a severance package or SWAT standoff.

Generational Divide

An older man may find himself in the position of surrogate parent if the younger woman is substantially younger, or the man is more traditional and/or less fluid in his approach to life.

If, for example, he spent his entire career surrounded by corporate types, adhering to stodgy cultural norms, his ability to communicate with a creative Millennial, for example, may prove impossible.

On the other hand, if he’s lead guitarist for a major rock group or an A-list actor, she’ll assume the role of surrogate parent.

Strong, Powerful Men Didn’t Get to Where They Are by Accident

Older men may have mellowed somewhat with age and maturity, but this mild-mannered guy is only a cover for a ruthless and aggressive nature that got them to where they are in life. In other words, the nice house didn’t happen without a fight.

This usually means that as long as everything is going well, you get the cool older guy. But the moment the shit hits the skids, you get a first hand look at human predation from the perspective of prey. Men will defend and protect their financial interests and prosperity over all else in their lives, including you.

Of course, gorillas do the same damn thing, so it’s not exactly news.

Taming and Older Man is a Ludicrous Pursuit

Why women like to fix older men is beyond me. I can understand trying to get a 25-year-old guy to get out of bed in the mornings, and to get a life. But older men have been there, and at this stage of the game don’t give a shit what anyone thinks about their lifestyle habits.

He’s already self-sufficient. He doesn’t need you to pave the way forward. You can’t cut him off from his friends, or interests, or in any way undermine his life. It’s already worked for him. His entire psychological framework is built around decades of experience. Give it up.

If You’re Seeing a Married Man, Love Isn’t Enough to Shake the Tree

The married guys I know with “women-on-the-side” like the no-strings-attached erotic sex, even the fantasy that love plays a major role in all of it. But understand that it’s still fantasy. All of it. Your best bet is to find a recently divorced older man of affluence, or just go the married route in exchange for college tuition and be done with it. Graduate programs run 50k. Get real.

The Sexual Equation

No matter how successful and older man is he cannot reverse the aging process. Understand that as you turn a year older he turns 7 years older [after a certain point in life]. So if you want to build a long-lasting relationship with him, you better make damn sure your sexual rhythms and desires are on the same page.

While adventure and passion are still very much on the table, things will eventually change.

Of course, it’s also important to keep in mind that a young man will eventually get bored with you, especially after he’s achieved success in his 40’s, and will often replace you with someone half your age that he won’t be bored with. It’s a cycle that tends to repeat itself a few go-rounds in life.

Parental Issues

In my case, the woman in my life’s parents refused to speak to me for the first 3 years of our relationships, assuming that I was buying her love, and at the same time, stealing her youth and opportunity.

Thankfully, it passed and we now have a wonderful relationship. But it was awkward. Be prepared for that.

Completely Different Entertainment Preferences

In many cases, taste in music is a major marker of significant age differences. In my own relationship, though, our tastes were identical.  In fact, she had more Zeppelin albums than I did. Another ironic twist of fate was that I was the one going out every night of the week, while she preferred evenings at home watching TV, painting or video editing.

I could argue that she made me grow up, and that all had to do was provide financial stability, love and commitment in exchange for a more adult lifestyle. It was a small price to pay, and probably paid for itself given my wayward leanings.

OVERVIEW

Affluent older men do NOT choose women unless they’re prostitutes. It’s the other way around. This is one of life’s biggest misconceptions about the older man/younger woman paradigm.

This being the case, she will decide whether or not she can handle the difference in age, the disparity between their respective success and power, his intransigence, the sex and whether or not he knows – or gives a crap about – Taylor Swift.

 

 

“All Middle-Aged Men Want To Be Thought Of As Cool…”

200850-absolutely__2460219b

This statement is thrown around a lot these days, mostly by older women who are sick to death of older men acting like juvenile delinquents.

But I can assure you, I know just as many 40-60-something women who make them look like choir boys.

~~~

Okay, enough with the stereotyping.

It’s boring, mostly because it’s true.

Older men who can afford to “act out” [when I was a kid, they called it “acting up”], do so because they can.

And because they can, they do. Not all, but those who can afford the fallout.

This is how many gold-diggers spot their marks, by the way.

Anyone who can afford to stand out does so for reasons that have pretty much everything to do with the fact that they can do so with impunity.

The same is true of divorced older women who go on jaunts to Cancun with their single – and married – girlfriends only to come back knocked up by teenagers at beach raves.

Understand that, from an actuarial point of view, there is nothing ahead that remotely resembles “I’m getting hotter,” or “Aging is an abstraction.”

It’s in your face and it’s mouth is wide open.

What better to do than go back to a time before all the existential crap laid its wicked hands on you and stick it to time, even if you’re still sticking it to yourself.

Affluent older men [and women] do, in fact, buy sports cars and motorcycles, drug themselves silly, engage in risky sexual encounters, do stupid shit like jump out of airplanes, climb mountains and play with gold-diggers as though they were domesticated animals.

It happens to all of us at some point along the way, when time is slipping so fast you start with the opiates to slow the shit down.

Not to bury the lead here, but it’s obvious by now that both genders play the same game.

Perhaps it could be argued that for men aging is a tougher pill to swallow.

The hunter/predator/drone paradigm only works when the joints are nimble and quick to react.

But women who take on traditionally male roles suffer similar fates as time beats down the doors, wreaking havoc on once vibrant skin, teeth hair, nails and everything else for that matter.

Neither gender fares particularly well where the body is concerned.

The bottom line is this:

Older women want men  – within their age demographic – to kick the older man/younger woman habit so they can have a fair shot at settling down with one of them.

And while there are ample studies that suggest older women are just fine being alone or in the company of friends, it is only so when faced with the alternative of an average older man.

This is why we see so many of them revisiting adolescence on Spring Break before finding themselves empty, depressed and alone.

See, men are superficial enough to keep this thing going until the day they die.

Women, on the other hand, can only keep it going long enough to prove a point before moving to Florida, joining a book club, and outliving men by 10 years.

Revenge at last.

[Depending on your point of view].

“Love is a Concept Invented by Poor People…” Seeking Arrangement Founder, Brandon Wade

this-mit-nerd-built-a-sugar-baby-dating-empire-that-some-say-is-simply-prostitution

“By encouraging people to find and negotiate an arrangement, we hope to create modern relationships based on open-mindedness, open communication, brutal honesty and transparent expectations.”

“This is the future of dating.” BW

http://www.cnn.com/2014/09/25/opinion/seeking-arrangement-ceo-on-love/

Ashley reminds me of someone I once dated, also an entrepreneur.

~~~

Now understand something here: The woman posing with Mr. Wade in the above photo would have no problem waltzing right over his dead body if he weren’t filthy rich.

I don’t mean this in any negative way, but Mr. Wade had to make himself valuable in order to earn visibility, which everyone understands and appreciates.

This revelation set him ablaze with passion to acquire the one asset that would act as a carbon credit for whatever he lacked elsewhere.

Next thing you know, he goes meteoric and declares “love is a concept created by the poor!” before heading off to CNN for an interview.

By the way, a rough translation of his statement is If you don’t have money, no one will love you, which is why poor people created it in the first place. 

Okay. Whatever. I get it. We get it. Pretty much all of us, really.

Baby Boomers like myself suffer physical attrition after enough water’s under the bridge.

Fortunately, though, many of us are able to leverage money and power against the cost of aging and manage to stay square with the gods.

Now you know why seekingarrangement.com claims 1.9 million subscribers…and climbing.

On a general note, there is absolutely nothing novel about prostitution.

Whether you couch it as “Hey, I just need a little help with college,” or “Hey, want a blowjob?” you’re still hooking.

Having said this, everything these days is relative.

Just how relative depends on the price tag.

The more you spend, the more normal everything seems.

On a related note, most of the women my peers end up with are passed from one older man to the next within their own immediate peer group.

This is because the women in question are known commodities who’ve been properly vetted, and therefore, predictable within reason.

The downside is that there is often a limited supply of such women within certain demographics, which usually triggers bidding wars resulting in some of the best television fodder on the planet.

 

Male Sex Appeal vs the Aging Demon

tumblr_npp2ol7fl41t7qvufo1_500 Alessandro Manfredini, Model

Ask most women to name an age when men start losing their sex appeal and most would say 39-40.

What would you pick?

The consensus from pop culture and social science seem to agree that 40 is the line in the sand when men start to become “invisible” to opposite-sex potential partners, and especially to younger ones.

But how young?

Most teens don’t look at men over the age of 25, so it’s all relative.

British Crown in Manchester, a hair transplantation clinic, paid for a study started all this crap.

It’s findings were that men 39 or older are more likely to be identified by women as a “father figure” than a “sex symbol.”

In my world, that’s considered advanced adolescence.

Needless to say, the clinic had an agenda in mind.

Since most men lose hair along with color, we need to book an appointment at our earliest possible convenience in order to avoid suicidal tendencies.

The web is littered with this ridiculous “study,” mostly because no one else has bothered to commission a legitimate one.

What I have found through personal experience is that women consider “ideal” and “perfectly acceptable” to be the same things.

Again, I’m not talking about teens. Their objectivity is palpable. But they can afford it, so there’s that.

For everyone else, here’s what women I know cite as critical to a man’s enduring sex appeal:

1] Maintaining Your Hair, no matter how much – or how little – of it you may have.

So, in other words, get a decent haircut and let the gray do its thing.

http://metro.co.uk/2015/02/17/10-reasons-grey-haired-men-are-hot-5065945/

The alternative is to shave your head, which many women like, but only if the head in question does not resemble an egg.

If it does, you’re screwed.

2] Stay Fit and Healthy

I don’t know anyone my age who doesn’t stay fit, no matter what their hair looks like.

3] Take Care of Your Teeth

Most men I know have straighter, whiter teeth than they did at 25, real or fake.

4] Chill & Stay Confident

The men my age who’ve done well in life tend to be confident.

Thus, successful men are attractive to women at pretty much any age.

~~~

SUMMARY

All of these “studies” are complete bullshit.

They play out in abstraction, not reality.

In reality, where the rest of us reside, young men attract women because they are physically flawless and ripe with potential.

Older men, on the other hand, attract women because of their level of success and the maturity and confidence that comes along with it.

People say a lot of things from a distance, but in the end, women see with their ears.

And yes, nice neighborhoods do sound pretty damn good to most of them.

So, You Want a Daddy?

perfect-woman-clockwI’m cracking myself up this morning.

No seriously.

For all you unemployed millennial’s out there, hope’s on the horizon.

You don’t have to earn a PhD. – or even a GED.

But you will need other assets worth bartering.

I should be charging a consultation fee for this, but you caught me on a good day.

The Most Common Gold-Digger Backstory

Teenage daughter works as a part-time waitress. She lives in a trailer with her biological mother and unemployed stepfather, whose on disability over an alleged lumberyard mishap.

In the mother’s mind…

“The disability payments ain’t worth shit money-wise, but that daughter of mine has an ass…if she only knew how to use it right. I ain’t talkin’ flat-out hookin,’ but maybe goin’ in to the big city and learnin’ how to talk right for god’s sake. Get rid of that gum chewin,’ act like she belongs, ya know…find out where the money’s at…”

This is the template from which most gold-diggers are hatched and bred. It’s as old as the hills, the situation I mean…and how to get out of it.

But there’s a lot more to it than what you read, so I’ll help fill in the blanks.

While finding a “daddy” sounds like a cakewalk to many of you who think that youth and beauty are enough to seal the deal, think again. Cultural evolution is no different than biological evolution, except that it’s a thousand times faster. So while the gold-digger of old was easy to pull from a police line-up, today’s incarnation is virtually unrecognizable even under polygraph analysis and near lethal doses of sodium pentothal.

With this as a backdrop, here are 25 clues from my own personal experience tells me you’re someone I don’t want to know.

1] Gum chewing.

 2] Ending sentences with prepositions. While sometimes it’s okay to end sentences with prepositions, you best know when it’s okay. Otherwise, stick to the rules.

Incorrect usage: Where is he at?

Correct usage: Where is he?

.3] Improperly conjugating verbs

Incorrect usage: “She run off.”

Correct usage: “She ran off.”

4] Mispronouncing words that reasonably educated women learn by the time they’re 6.

Example #1: Never say expresso. The correct word is Espresso.

Example#2: It’s also not Excetera. It’s et cetera.

5] Me vs I

Incorrect usage: Jim and me are going to the beach.

Correct usage: Jim and I are going to the beach.

6] Gone vs Went

Incorrect usage: I should’ve went somewhere!

Correct usage: I went to the store. I should have gone to the open market instead.

7] Could of vs Could have

Incorrect usage: I wonder if I could of majored in English.

Correct usage: I wonder if I could have majored in English.

8] Cheap handbag. Only acceptable if you just picked up something interesting at a vintage shop.

9] Don’t overuse foundation. It makes you look like you’re hiding something. Ask any stripper.

10] Know the difference between sexy and sleazy. It’s part self-confidence, part self-actualization, and part breeding.

11] Bad posture is a clear and present sign of a mother who doesn’t know better.

12] If you’ve never heard of Shakespeare, you’re toast…even if your target is an engineer who only reads blueprints.

13] Money is not the determinant of class. Class is the determinant of class. Then money is the determinant of class.

14] If you can’t walk in heels, learn at home.

15] If you’ve never attended college and you’re not a famous entertainer or entrepreneur, lie.

16] Never trip out at the sight of an expensive home or car. It’s just a home and a car.

17] Never ask a man you don’t know for money or he will have sex with you without paying for it.

18] Hit on anyone other than your date and it will be your last.

19] One online profile is enough. More than one with entirely different information is identity theft.

20] Have interests outside of going out. Some people enjoy reading books, for example.

21] Using country vernacular is fine as long as people know you know the difference between ignorance and the Queen’s English.

22] Never name-drop unless your own name is worth dropping.

23] Your cell phone is simply a cellphone, not a codependent relationship.

24] Repeat after me: “I have a good relationship with my father.”

25] When referring to family members, never say “grampah and grammah.” Instead, say “grandfather and grandmother.” This also applies to mother and father, whom can be also be referred to as simply “mom and dad.”

I could go on…

How Not to Keep a Good Man Down.

 

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What I’m about to tell you cuts a deep swath between what you were and what many of you are becoming.

Most men don’t have the balls to say [out loud] any of what I’m about to tell you, but saying it is the only way to help catalyze change in what’s often a foot-dragging passage into twilight.

Buckle up.

~~~

Over these past decades I’ve learned a few things about being a man that weigh on all of us after enough water’s under the bridge.

#1

The first is the personal assessment quiz, where we sum up all of our perceived accomplishments and hope that our backstories are sellable on the open market.

I say ‘open market’ because unless you live in a vacuum, you have an audience that determines your viability. I know. This sounds like every psychiatrist’s worst nightmare, but it’s still true.

We live in a society filled with people, not open land filled with livestock.

Remember, this is a blog about urban life, not rural isolationism.

In this world, our world, we need to matter. Some call it relevance. And while many claim this to be an exercise in pure nihilism and self-destruction, it’s critical to our emotional well being that we see our lives as having been well spent.

The resulting self-esteem becomes our fuel, our motivation to go on long after the glory years of imagined immortality and endless promise have passed.

But let me reiterate that we must pass muster with the world around us before we get the fuel. We can’t just fantasize it into being.

The world around us is a cold, objective force. It sees us as fully formed entities, each with a script in our hands that we read to ourselves before closing our eyes at night, hoping our dreams don’t contradict the plot lines.

Appreciating the gravity of this is an essential part of maintaining dignity no matter how much you try to ignore or deny it.

Okay, so let’s say we’re happy with what we’ve done with our lives up to this juncture. We have financial security and we’re proud of what we’ve done.

Great.

Now what?

#2

Now we have to figure out how to maintain what we’ve built so it doesn’t all come crashing down on top of us.

I’m talking about our physical health, and more specifically, our physical being; how we see ourselves relative to those around us, no matter what their age.

Like everything else in my life, I need to feel in possession of myself physically, to be physically strong, in control, and able to defend myself.

I’m sure that more than a few of you reading this will wonder why men our age [Baby Boomers] should give a crap about what sounds like an older man’s delusions of grandeur, but I don’t know any of you.

The men I do know care. A lot. They don’t want to be walked all over like party confetti. They live with purpose and dignity.

And while a few engage in endurance sports, especially anorexics, who swap one addiction for another, the answer lies in the weight room. Yes, being a man means lifting heavy weight. I know I know. I’m a superficial jackass who has no idea what brings true fulfillment to anyone but myself, but you’re still dead wrong.

Many of the men I’m around are luminaries in their respective fields, ranging in age from late 40’s to early 80’s. But one thing they share is a desire to build and/or maintain physical strength. In other words, no matter what they’ve done, if they’re wasting away it’s irrelevant. Soon, self esteem will erode away all that they’ve built, and they’ll end up dead long before you read about them in the obituaries.

This brings to mind a guy in my gym in his early 80’s who is not only a celebrated surgeon, but a world champion masters power lifter.

You think he feels irrelevant?

The respect he receives from people around him is palpable.

My motto: Be strong, live well.

#3

Our personal lives are the final cog in our wheels of fortune. While I cannot pretend to speak for gay men and their relationships, I do know a thing or two about living with women, which is kind of like living with an extraterrestrial biological life form, identical human DNA, notwithstanding.

Like #1 and #2, how we feel in the context of our relationships is inextricably tied to how we feel as men.

The first thing we men know about ourselves is that our egos are fragile, particularly when we feel vulnerable. Thus, we need our masculinity validated daily. We need to feel loved; we need to feel attractive; and we need to feel capable.

That’s a lot of need, but miss an ounce of it at your peril.

Memorize this list so you don’t lose it:

A] Admire Us.

Compliment us on the things we’re good at and our physical qualities. Beat on us and we’ll stop making the house payments.

B] Brag on Us

The first time I heard a woman complaining about her husband’s “many” shortfalls, I suggested he leave her. In my mind, she breached the trust and left him out to dry.

C] Ask For Our Help

Ask us to show you how to do something or to give you advice on a tough situation. We’ll be more than happy to show you, believe me.

D] Never, Ever Cut Us Down No Matter What.

Make you man feel like an idiot and he will show you the door. Men have massive egos. Why this is I don’t know, but suspect it has something to do with having to kill things so the rest of his primordial family didn’t starve to death.

Never, ever discredit us or make snide comments about our appearance, abilities or performances, particularly around others.

E] Learn How to Listen.

Men may not be as talkative as women are, but we still have things to say and emotions to vent or bad days we want to discuss. While we’re more about fixing things than just talking for the sake of being heard, sometimes we like being heard so we can justify fixing things.

F] Respect Us.

Respect builds the foundation of our relationships. Without it, we will look for it elsewhere, believe me. Incessant nagging comes to mind. It’s like rat poison for human relationships.

G] Believe In Us

We want the women in our lives to be our biggest cheerleaders. We’ll do anything for someone who believes in us. Even if what we try to do doesn’t succeed by someone else’s standards, the fact that we gave it our best shot deserves praise and love.

H] Do Little Things For Us

Whether you leave a love note somewhere we’ll find it, stuff an Oreo under our pillow…or just wear something that we can’t seem to live without, JUST DO IT!

FINAL THOUGHTS

As men get older it’s even more important to affirm us. First, because we are no longer 25. Second, because no matter what we act like, we’re no longer in college and running track for NYU.

Of course, back then we were flat broke, our trust factor was zero, and and our apartments resembled the wolf dens you see at natural science museums across the country.

As women who’ve spent your fair share of time with men, you already know all these things.

This is just a reminder.