I don’t think it is a stretch to say that Mel Gibbon’s midlife crisis is doing more damage. Some may argue that divorce from his wife of over 30 years, his irrational behavior over the last few years and his relationship with a much younger woman is not an indication of midlife crisis.
To those people I say, come back when you’ve got some experience with midlife crisis under your belt. Believe what you want but I say Mel Gibson is a text book example of midlife crisis.
Midlife crisis, you’ll know it when it hits
Male Climacteric Syndrome, or more simply midlife crisis. Some medical experts say it’s hormonal, others that it’s purely psychological. Whichever, when it hits, it tends to hit hard.
ROSPA, for example, has reported an alarming increase in the number of born again middle aged bikers wrapping their newly acquired Harleys around the first available lamp post.
Off road, many women recognize the symptoms, too, even if their middle-aged husbands don’t. They look on with a mixture of horror and amusement as their beloved starts buying pre-ripped jeans from Gap and tries to hold earnest discussions on the semiotics of rapper Lil Wayne with his next door neighbor’s preternaturally developed 18-year-old daughter.
It’s not that these men are worried they’ve lost their youth – they know exactly where they left it. Nor is it simply that they fancy younger women. No, the main problem is that these men honestly believe that twenty something women fancy them back. Hence the flashy cars and trendy clothes that accompany the condition.
So how do these men rationalize this sudden, apparent renaissance in their sex appeal? And, how do they justify the selfless desire to share their munificence with a wider, far younger, female user base than with the old relic they are married to?
Fine wine or old fool?
“You have to understand,” explains one 54-year-old, “that men my age now see women no longer simply as playthings but as unique human beings. We have more experience of life than younger men and can therefore hold a conversation on almost anything. Girls love this and it’s one of the really big draws of the mature man. We’ve aged like fine wine.”
Too bad fine wine doesn’t become wiser with age!
The main objection to such Oddbins-inspired analogies is that, while the men undoubtedly believe themselves to be Château Pétrus 47, their twenty something targets for the most part view them as $1.99 Bulgarian Lambrusco…no need for a cork screw!
A comment by a typical 22-year-old, when asked about the possibility of dating a middle-aged man, roughly translates as, “ICK!” “It’s laughable, They come into the bars, on the prowl, with their pot bellies and Grecian Formula hair. Twenty-year-old hair on a 55-year-old head? Who are they trying to kid?”
Even men who have the sense to consult a reputable hairdresser tend to find the age difference a discouraging barrier. Realistically, what is someone brought up on biscuits and gravy going to have in common with the MTV generation?
Suppose he gets his chest hairs caught in her body piercing?
What if he discovers that he visits the same prostate specialist as her father?
It’s just not worth the hassle, claims Jay, someone who managed to navigate midlife crisis without too much destruction.
“A friend of mine, when he turned 50, suddenly bought a Mazda Miata. Night after night, he went clubbing with a different piece of jailbait. But after a few weeks, he’d wrecked the car, the jailbait had cleaned him out and he was at the doctor’s complaining of deafness and aching knee joints,” he said.
What to do? Author and broadcaster, Dr Trisha Macnair, says, “Midlife crises aren’t so much about recapturing lost youth as redefining who you are and making the next phase just as exciting. This doesn’t mean running off with a younger woman. More than half of men who do so will go on to regret it. Re-evaluate your current relationships and get back whatever self-esteem, thrills, or adoration you think you’re lacking through work, sports, self-expression, or whatever. Stay optimistic.”
In other words, wake up and smell the coffee fool. There are worse things in life than looking in the mirror and seeing Daniel Craig, even if no one else does. At least it’s not George Kennedy.
Midlife Crisis Checklist:
♦ You no longer automatically delete “Cheap Viagra!” emails.
♦ You think Burt Reynolds’s wig actually makes him look quite distinguished.
♦ “They’re not wrinkles,” you say, “they’re laugh lines.”
♦ All of a sudden you start to think seventies fashions weren’t so bad after all.
♦ You start buying Playboy, but “only for the articles”.
♦ You tell people it isn’t a bald head – it’s a solar panel for a sex machine.
♦ You’ve forgotten the meaning of the words patience, experience, wisdom, kindness, temperance, judiciousness.
A word of caution for the man in midlife crisis
Grieving is required. But if you cling to the persona of youth (in Jung’s phrase, “prop up the corpse”), you’ll find yourself trapped in regret and nostalgia for the past. Wrap that boy in an oilskin, slip him over the gunnels, salute a helluva fella, and chart a new course.
Bet Mel wishes he had charted a different course!