The True Crisis in a Midlife Crisis
There’s no accounting for personal style. Not that I have it all going on, Lord knows I’m a mess, especially right now (which I’ll get to someday in future blogs). But in the case of some (not all) middle-aged dudes trying to find themselves, someone ought to remind them that a 25-year-old mentality does not look so hot wrapped in a 55-year-old body.
Case in point yesterday a 50-something white guy pulls up next to me at a red light, driving some sort of sporty, vintage convertible with the top down. Okay, fine. I get it. He’s finally able to afford the car he’s always wanted as a kid, so why should he deny himself such a treasure now? I’m totally onboard with that. Heck, I’m still holding out hope of someday living in an East Village apartment just like Monica’s on the TV show Friends, and being able to afford it on the equivalent of what she made as a cook in some dive in Hell’s Kitchen. (Hey, don’t burst my bubble. It can happen.)
But here’s where it gets weird.
The pasty white gentleman in the lane next to me (who obviously graduated from high school somewhere around the time Richard Nixon wished he’d never heard of a little B&B called Watergate) sported spindly salon-assembled blond dreadlocks, a “One Love” Bob Marley T-shirt that was obscured by a pile of gold chains cascading from his bottom-most chin, and a ball cap that read “Hurry Ladies!” Ironically the hat could’ve been either a come-on or a warning that the nearby women-folk better get the hell out of there pronto. Plus he had the Beatles’ song Obladi Oblada blaring on the radio, which by the way, isn’t even REAL reggae. And quick sidebar, since when does a true Rasta wear the Italian horn (i.e., the “cornicello”) charm? This guy had one dangling from his neck that was so big it looked like a giant gilded jalapeño pepper (the cornicello, that is not his neck, although his neck could’ve given a bulbous holiday ham a run for its money).
I bring this up not because I have anything against middle-aged men. On the contrary I love them! I’m a middle-aged woman who prefers middle-aged men over any guy under 45. Call me crazy, but I like being in the company of a man who knows how to change the diamond needle on an RCA hi-fi AND gets my comedic references to My Mother the Car.
So I’ve never understood it when perfectly seasoned men (or women, for that matter) try to conceal the fact that they’ve endured a bit of mileage. To me that worn tread is the attraction. There is nothing more sexy than the world-weary ironic wisdom of someone who’s been knocked down to the bottom of the barrel, but then climbed back out and lived to tell about it. True, those people come with baggage, but honestly how can anyone of a certain age NOT have baggage? If the truth be told, we’re all just a bunch of airport luggage carousels of uncollected suitcases and rollies. I personally have several pieces that range in size from overnight bags to steamer trunks. And yet I’m still a fun person to be around in spite of (or maybe because of) my checkered past. Go figure.
Back at the stoplight I stared at the guy in the form of the freak show next to me, his dreads happily playing Ring-Around-the-Rosie with his crowning bald spot. Honestly, he looked like he was heading off to a Halloween party, but this is June so I had to assume he dressed himself that day in all seriousness. It was like watching a struggling ewe give birth to a two-headed lamb; you didn’t want to look but you couldn’t turn your eyes away.
As I was sitting there thinking about how hard it would be to climb out of that little sports car wearing a pair of Spanx under a formfitting cocktail dress that I paid way too much for, I recalled a great blog written by my friend and fellow blogger, Terri Spilman, at The Laughing Mom. Terri penned an award-winning piece called Why Midlife Women Don’t Drive Corvettes. As I was ticking off her reasons in my head, I couldn’t help but smile, which was a big mistake because my gaze was still in the direction of “Boob” Marley over there. Sensing my stare, he turned, grinned Cheshirely at me and winked.
Eww! He thought I was flirting with him! (Of course he did, you moron, why would he think otherwise if you were staring at him with a dopey smirk on your face?)
Suddenly the light was green. He was turning left and I was going straight. My window was rolled down and before he took off he shouted, “Like what you see?”
After throwing up a little bit in my mouth, I quickly replied, “I’m sorry, I’m blind. I can’t even begin to see what you have to offer.”
Then me and my decades worth of ironic, middle-aged wisdom confidently sped away.
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Stacy Dymalski is a stand-up comic who gave up the glamorous life of coach travel, smokey comedy clubs, and heckling drunks for the glamourous life of raising kids (who happen to be bigger hecklers than the drunks). This blog is her new stage.
For more of Stacy’s comedy check out her hilarious book Confessions of a Band Geek Mom available in paperback and on Kindle on Amazon.com.