From personal experience, I can tell you this list is essential to a productive, long term professional relationship.
Since my last post [forever ago in the context of instant and immediate everything], I have been immersed in a new book project that’s drawn most of my available energy, which was already in short supply after coming down with the flu this past December. My particular strain has its own designation, H3N2. Some on the Internet tell me it’s an interstellar bug that escaped government protection, while others claim the government manufactured it to use on millennials. Either way, the shit got loose and found a home in a Baby-Boomer.
The lingering effects are legion: Fatigue, weakness, low appetite, cough, airway irritation that affects how long you can be active, loss of sense of smell [which in rare cases becomes permanent], and, in my case, you can tack on paranoia, depression, nightmares and mild dissociative states…among others.
Anyway, once the worst of it had passed, my idea was to take things slowly, not try to rush back to the gym until my stamina was rebuilt. At this writing, however, I’m still waiting.
When I was 23 the flu was an abstraction. I got sick, hung out at home, healed in three days, and met friends out for celebratory drinks. I won. There were no extenuating circumstances, no complications, nothing I gave much consideration to because none of it was particularly relevant. Nobody died back then, at least not until they were too old to live, which was fine since we all agreed that growing that old was like experiencing death in slow motion.
Now I see the extenuating circumstances, the potential for complications, and the shorter life expectancy in real time.
Having run down all of this down with you, I’m not dying. I didn’t contract cancer or have a stroke or brain aneurism or spinal injury. I got the flu and developed psychiatric problems from extended exposure to Webmd.com.
The point in all of this is that at this stage of life you’re in a steady state of low-level paranoia, coupled with reflection and denial. Put another way, what’s reflected is usually denied. So you have to come to a place of acceptance, which requires decades of therapy.
You’re no longer physically beautiful, unless of course, you’re Robert Plant, which you’re not. And death is closer than ever, virus or no virus. Your sense of relevance is constantly under siege no matter what you did to become the person you are which, like I said, is closer to death. For many of you this is the end of mental health, especially you guys on the precipice of 50 squeezing out that last hurrah before staring down the barrel of aesthetic annihilation. One steroid shot after the next, week after week, in tandem with the endless runs, swims, bike rides and weight training sessions that collectively earn one that bronzed wrap, star white teeth and endless string of broken marriages, all in favor of the drug of self. Your time is around the corner. Buckle up.
So here I am, starting the New Year with a bang. In truth, I have nothing to bitch about that doesn’t embarrass me. I have financial security, a family of animals…and a wonderful, loving and reasonably sane woman half my age that puts up with me. What’s not to love?
In this spirit, my blog posts begin anew for 2018.
MORALS OF THE STORY
1] Money does, in fact, buy happiness as long as you’re physically healthy, which money enables you to maintain.
2] Psychiatry is a noble profession.
3] Looks fade, but not heart. In this sense, relevance is eternal.
One of the biggest hurdles we older guys face when trying to maintain our health and fitness goals is finding a core group to keep us on track.
By the time we’ve hit our mid to late 50’s, pretty much everyone our age is gone.
Not dead, necessarily, though you do start hearing more and more about that.
Point is, nowhere near a gym..
We’re already in the .01% of men our age just stepping foot in a gym, so imagine how preposterous a challenge it would be to call your old college buddies in for a 2 hour workout?
So our new support group is now comprised of people of all ages.?
Long story short, my gym-rat cohorts are anywhere from their teens and to their early 80’s.
This is something you get used to, and for many of us, it’s the lifeblood of motivation and good health.
Pretty much everything.
There is a certain aesthetic to which women who date – or aspire to date – successful men adhere. It is very specific.
Adjectives used to describe the look are as follows: “Long, lean, timeless and elegant.”
In order to achieve this look you must first be structurally proportionate and blessed with high cheek bones and solid jawline.
Then you have to diet, which looks a lot like that of Jennifer Lopez when she’s touring.
So 1350 total calories per day. All organic, non-GMO, gluten-free blah blah blah, plus exercise.
So, #1 is appearance.
If you want a rich man, you have to put in the work.
Think of it as a job interview [because it is a job interview] where your new prospective employer has a list of line items you have to meet in order to get a new Mercedes.
#2 is proper grammar.
If you haven’t mastered the Queens English, you have no business at galas and cocktail functions. In bed, you can go back to the streets.
#3 is attire.
You should already know the name of every clothing designer on the planet because he’ll expect you to dress the part after you’ve burned up his credit cards.
#4 Sexual fluidity with a certain uncontrollable darkness, or dark side as it’s often referred.
What this means is that there has to be something about you that he cannot completely conquer, which keeps him off guard and curious.
#5 is interests, as in, you have to have some beyond him or he will assume you have less value than he thought you did after he checked off the last 4 items.
Successful men want reflections of themselves in the women in their lives, so imagine yourself a successful, powerful man in thigh-highs and you’re on the right track.
The hysterical woman in this video reaches far beyond its political framework.
Yes, it is a political rant, but much more importantly, it’s a statement about what it feels like to live as an obese and unattractive middle-age female in the throes of an existential meltdown over feelings of irrelevance and invisibility.
To some this is quite sad.
To people like me, it’s a chapter in my next book about the stratospheric value of youth and beauty.
As you watch, ask yourself why else anyone would ever acknowledge her?
In deference to what’s left of her sanity, one can certainly understand the motivation to assert her existence to the world, a place that otherwise sees right through her.
In this sense, her rant is an assertion of her existence.
I have to admit it’s been a while since I last witnessed such a bizarre manifestation of self-loathing.
Most of the time it’s just a bridge jump and an obscure Obituary notice someplace you can’t even Google.
Nonetheless, it was entertaining, and therefore, accomplished its end no matter how pitiful or embarrassing to her constituency.
I’m going to say some things here that are going to seriously piss off a lot of people.
Not that you aren’t used to it by now, but I’m really going in on this one.
Seat belts please…
The article above from www.yourtango.com appeared earlier this year, but brings up certain realities that mirror my own world.
It was penned by a matchmaker who refuses to handle female clients because, as she puts it, “successful older men prefer to date younger women is because THEY CAN.”
“In this tough singles market, if a man pays top dollar for a matchmaker, he expects nothing less than a 29-year-old model.”
And since women are attracted to confidence and power, they embrace older men who are in possession of both…in abundance.
This is not to say that some younger men aren’t filthy rich.
But if a woman is also looking for security, get in line.
Odds are young men have youth and beauty and nothing more, which is why they don’t need matchmakers. They need bodyguards.
Around Houston, it’s commonplace to see drop-dead beautiful young women in the arms of wealthy older men.
In fact, it’s kind of weird not to, unless the couple have been together a long time and she still looks great courtesy of surgeons and cash.
Is any of this fair? In a certain sense, no.
But in the context of commodities in a world of demand and supply, it’s as fair as it gets.
One guy I know has a list of attributes all women he dates must be in possession of…or the “relationship” will last about an hour.
1] Straight white teeth and healthy gums.
2] Clear complexion.
3] Height/weight proportionate [like a fitness model].
4] Fit [like a fitness model].
5] Breasts and butt perky and proportionate [like a fitness model].
Now, as everyone knows, this woman does no exist. So what many men do is divvy up the attributes to see if whatever is missing can be improved upon.
For example, if a given candidate is small chested, breast augmentation is a slam dunk.
If she needs a little toning up, a personal trainer can get right on that.
If her teeth aren’t perfectly straight – or white – there’s a cosmetic dentist on every street corner.
But not everything can be fixed, so he throws the dice and hope she changes.
But most men of true means don’t have to hope for change because they can afford to purchase love like Gucci handbags.
It’s the guys who don’t have quite enough juice to keep the dice from bouncing of the walls every which way who sleep with one eye open.
Understand that the more money and power a man has, the more line items he can check.
As for these young women, did you know that most Americans haven’t been to Rome?
I know. It’s hard to believe.
The same applies to Aspen, Monaco, Paris and the Amalfi Coast.
Did you know that most young women do not own a Hermes handbag?
So let’s say you’re a 29-year-old woman with looks to burn for the next 3 or 4 years, in a dead-end job, and dating a hot guy who’s sleeping with your best friend, but only when he’s on furlough from prison?
The guy is a derelict. He’s going nowhere but down, and you with him.
Enter a 55-year-old investment banker with class and charm and wit – and yes, money – and the derelict is a very distant memory.
These older men know their positions in the human food chain. They know what they can and cannot do, can and cannot have, and the women are no different.
In the absence of a prominent background and trust fund, the culturally average woman must leverage what she does have in order to acquire what she otherwise never will.
This does not mean that young women who choose to date older men are in it purely for the money. In fact, many fall deeply in love with their daddies.
This is the ideal scenario and it’s more common than you might imagine.
Remember the old expression: “Men fall in love with their eyes, women with their ears.”
So what happens to divorced women in their mid-40’s with kids and a heavy mortgage?
What rich, powerful, handsome 45-year old guy wants a 45-year-old woman with kids?
He wants a 25-year-old fitness model with no kids and a penchant for travel.
The matchmaker offers these three alternatives:
1] Find a matchmaker who accepts women as clients
2] Join hobby groups
3] Get out of the house
I’ll add three more:
1] Get in the best shape of your life.
2] Make damn sure your teeth are straight and white
3] Find the best plastic surgeon in town for the necessary maintenance.
As I have said a millions times before, wealthy older women can always hire houseboys.
In fact, I have noticed an extraordinary rise in older women/younger men couplings due to lackluster economic conditions over the past 8 years.
It’s always great to see my contemporaries still kicking ass and taking names.
While Mickey is often maligned for his sense of style, I still see a lot of balls in his immutable swagger.
In the end, he’s having fun, and at this point, that’s all that matters.
Researchers at University College London found a direct link between major health problems like heart disease, strokes and diabetes, and the amount of exercise done.
Those who regularly undertook moderate or vigorous physical activity at least once a week were much more likely to be “healthy agers” than those who remained inactive.
People who became physically active during the eight-year monitoring period were three times more likely to be healthy agers than those who remained inactive.
And those who engaged in regular physical activity for the whole eight years were seven times more likely to be healthy than those who did no exercise.
The authors wrote: “Sustained physical activity was prospectively associated with improved healthy ageing – absence of disease, freedom from disability, high cognitive and physical functioning, good mental health.
“Significant health benefits were even seen among participants who became physically active relatively late in life.
“The results support public health initiatives designed to engage older adults in physical activity.”
This week in the gym was a tough one for me.
I officially entered my 60’s last week and I didn’t take it well.
We stayed home, cooked, huddled together with the dogs and cats and waited for the 24 hour period to pass.
This was not the me I used to know.
That person would raise a middle finger to the wind and pull a gym PR.
This time it was different.
I felt depressed, vulnerable and perilously introspective.
Some call it rumination, a synonym for clinical depression in my book.
Instead of getting over it, I tried to walk through it.
The first day in the gym I suffered a nose bleed in the middle of my dead-lifts.
That blew my day because the bleeding wouldn’t stop.
The next day in the gym I suffered a a bout of hypoglycemia, which made me nauseous, forcing me to leave the gym to eat.
Then I started feeling these out of body experiences, coupled with extreme fatigue.
Yep, I was officially old and falling apart.
Life had it talons in me and I was completely and utterly fucked.
So I called my therapist who then told me that what I was experiencing was a late stage midlife crisis.
I’m beyond midlife by 15 years.
I think of it now as a late 3rd quarter reckoning.
I needed more facts to get through this, but I needed more hardcore facts to get through this so I called my Internist.
Blood work good. Arteries clear.
So what the hell was it?
I booked a 90 minute massage, talked to my girlfriend [who assumed I was losing my mind], then finally had a heart-to-heart with myself.
My nosebleed was caused by a strong anti-inflammatory that I happened to take the morning of a tough workout. Not advisable according to my physician it thins the blood, which can lead to nosebleeds under the pressure of heavy weights.
Note to self: If you want to take this drug, do so after a workout when blood pressure isn’t through the roof [with 450 pounds or more in my hands].
Done. No more nosebleeds.
Blood glucose levels fall when people like me don’t eat enough.
Was I not eating enough?
Not even close.
Subconsciously I have been cutting calories because I prefer to be extremely lean.
But it’s impossible to achieve the look I would like without the help of anabolic steroids, which I don’t take.
So I started concentrating on eating more, eating better, fueling my body in a very conscious and proactive way.
Suddenly, no more blood sugar crashes, fatigue gone, and I felt like myself again.
Funny how that works.
I bring all this up because a lot of things happen below the surface in men like me who feel like adolescents in the bodies of older men.
We’re forced to grow up again and again.
And that’s okay because constant maturity has never been a strong-suit of mine, and reality checks are just part of what keeps me going.
As most people know at this stage of the game, denial is the mother of misery.
At my health club, there is a certain go-to look among the women of affluence: “Long, lean, timeless and elegant” is the way its described.
Bulky, curvy and/or overly muscled women are considered low class.
It’s a look relegated to strippers, sugar babies, and prostitutes for the most part.
But it can also include tattoo artists, bartenders, figure models, and “convention” girls hired to showcase things like expensive automobiles.
Thus, an incredibly thin body has become the new way to signal wealth and distinguish oneself from the masses.
“I’m successful, intelligent and at the top of my game…”
Alexa Chung Amal Clooney look so under-developed that, in some cases, critics say they appear pre-pubescent.
Some stars appear to have waists the same sizes as catwalk models, many of whom measure 24in — the same as an eight-year-old child.
Achieving this look suggests an abundance of leisure time, which is also important element in this equation, reinforcing the overall narrative.
One must spend hours honing their physiques at the gym, and “the income to maintain a fantastically expensive diet and exercise regime.”
They see it as intelligent, sophisticated and timeless…kind of the way they see themselves.
The women, therefore, are reflections of their narcissistic projection.
A businessman wants to introduce a Stepford Wife to his colleagues because of what it conveys.
After all, no one could possibly suggest that she didn’t care about her appearance, or that she was unhappy at home…or depressed.
In fact, quite the opposite.
When a man introduces a woman who is curvy or in any way carrying extra baggage, the take-away is that he is less successful, less powerful.
Further to this is simple physics.
Smaller women are also easier to control in bed, thus reinforcing the man’s power and influence. As men age, they are less agile, which emaciation on the part of the partner mitigates.
And finally, there is the “pre-pubescent” thing.
I hate to dwell here, but in my view, many of these men secretly harbor a fetish for little girls. It’s kind of like statutory rape, only legal.
Seriously, why else would grown men prefer sleeping with someone who resembles a 12-year-old child?
If you’re a in the 45-65 demographic and spend a lot of your time in the gym, you will have noticed a proliferation of unbelievably shredded, ripped and insanely muscled guys.
There a reason for that, and spending time in the gym is only part of the story.
At 60, I’m smack in the middle of the Baby Boom.
I’m also very athletic, having spent most of my life practicing good nutrition, getting adequate rest, and going to the gym regularly.
But like I said, I’m 60, not 25.
More specifically, my body does not respond to movement and force the way it once did.
Does this mean I can no longer compete in sports, or that I look like crap?
I still hold the USAPL title for the masters dead-lift at this writing.
But things do change.
I have to work harder to keep my belly fat in check. And while I’m still lean and muscular, I’m not shredded and cut.
Then there’s the whole energy thing, as in I don’t have as much of it as I once did.
I need more reset time, more recovery.
So what happens if i decide one day that I want to do triathlons, but still maintain muscle mass and strength? And while I’m at it that I also want a chiseled midsection and striated arms and legs?
Now I’ve got a problem because I no longer have the testosterone levels necessary to achieve all of that at the same time.
So like many men my age [myself excluded], there are scores of “wellness” clinics all over time where men can get prescriptions for “bio-identical” testosterone including a wide array of other “supplements.”.
Now I can run 5 miles a day, swim for an hour and do 3 hours on an exercise bike, while at the same time maintain mass.
See how this works?
You can have everything, be everything.
Of course, that’s not exactly the way it works because life on this highway is a bitch because you have to pay dearly to play.
Without getting into all of the internal side-effects of the drugs, I’ll just focus on the things we can see:
1] The infamous ”big gut” or distended stomach.
What causes the big guts is usually a combination of bother steroids and HGH [human growth hormone].
If someone uses HGH and/or insulin, you can be pretty damn sure that person is also on steroids … and god knows what else.
2] Disproportionate development of upper body muscles
A steroid user’s upper body muscles (traps, shoulders, neck, pecs, back and especially lats) are often disproportionately large compared to his lower body musculature.
This is due to the fact that upper body muscles have more androgen receptors than other muscles that respond better to resistance training.
This is also why new steroid users see their shoulder, traps and back explode like atomic bombs in the first few steroid cycles.
Of course, leg and torso muscles grow as well but never as fast.
This is what causes the ”V-shape” in roid users who normally wouldn’t otherwise have the genetics to produce such a wide shoulder/thin waist proportionality.
1] Some of us are born with incredibly good genetics, but there’s a difference between good genes and something preternatural, particularly in older men.
2] Some people only train upper body and never do legs, but again, it never, ever looks like steroids are the culprit. Those of us who are in the gym regularly know the difference, believe me.
3) Gynecomastia or Bitch Tits
What looks like the growth of female breasts in the below picture is due to the exogenous testosterone (from anabolic steroids) entering the body and converting to estrogen, estradiol through a process called aromatization, thanks to the enzyme aromatase.
4) Skin problems caused by steroid use
Levels of hormones such as testosterone play a significant role in sebaceous glands and potentially can cause acne outbursts, especially on the back.
Although many professional pretend to have it all figured out, acne is now well understood yet but it is well accepted that testosterone plays a role.
4a] Stretch marks
During the first few steroid cycles and user goes through, diet and sleep staying in check, the user will experience explosive muscle growth.
Thus, the skin may not adapt quickly enough to this change, and therefore, permanent stretch marks will occur.
Normally they appear in the upper lats (on the sides), on the sides of the pectorals and sometimes on biceps.
5] Sudden increase in muscle mass after years of stagnation … or just being a little guy.
If you’ve been going to the same gym for while you get used to the same guys hitting the same machines every day without making any significant gains.
Then all of a sudden they lose all their fat and gain 25 pounds of muscle in 3 months.
On top of that they can train for two hours without getting tired or falling victim to over-training.
Now you know how this happens.
Five good ways to recognize a steroid user :
Big guts or distended stomach;
Preferential development of the upper body muscles, especially lats;
Gynecomastia or bitch tits;
Stretch marks and/or acne;
Unreasonably fast body transformation.
I don’t care what people do.
You’re not fooling any of us.
Be man enough to admit it.