Monday, October 24, 2011

WHEN MIDLIFE CRISIS COLLIDES WITH MALE MENOPAUSE- 6 CAVEATS, Inc.It's quite a collision for many, so I'll try and add a little humor throughout. Here goes. As you trek through the 45-60 age range, you’ll wave goodbye as the last child fledges the nest; watch over your once omnipotent parents wither away; witness a retreating hairline and advancing midsection; realize you will never become famous or own a professional football team; and understand what your remaining life doesn’t hold.

Instead of vaulting out of bed to “seize the day”, you stretch a bit and flounder until another body part becomes operational. Then, you sit behind a grand desk at a job position you exhausted an epoch of sweat to arrive at, only to feel boredom and dislike for your career. Peggy Lee’s 1970 hit song “Is that all there is?” takes on a whole new meaning.

Enter male menopause or a drop in the male hormone testosterone and some peculiar behaviors arise. I offer 6 caveats:

Caveat 1- Don’t become a macho guy. You know, the inflexible guy who notices middle age in his wife before himself and becomes champion of “happy hour” at the local pub? While your middle-aged wife gets hot flashes, you mutate into a “buck rabbit”, prowling for youthful women with soaring estrogen levels to compensate for your plummeting testosterone level. Don’t deny your midlife crisis, dump the male macho poppycock and quit trying to age as disgracefully as possible…less you become a disgrace.

Caveat 2- Accept the ticking biological time clock, your fading “manliness”, the passing of youth and the imminence of old age. Don’t get defensive about the changes- if your wife thinks you made a wrong turn and that you might be lost while driving, don’t fake it and pretend that you know exactly where you are. Turn to her and say, “Well, how ‘bout that. You’re right, honey. I’m going to stop and ask for directions.” Well, maybe that’s asking for too much…but you know what I mean.

HotelsCombined.comCaveat 3- Learn a lesson from women. After all, if Eve missed the rib-off, none of you would be here. When I’m frequently in my doctor’s office, I examine support program brochures and find that programs for women outnumber those for men by three-to-one. Since such programs evolve out of expressed needs. I don’t think your reluctance to admit to personal difficulties more so than women is the best route to take.

This leads to Caveat 4- Economics. Joining a male midlife crisis support group is more economical than buying a plush Harley Davidson and trying to impress young women while wearing a baseball cap to cover your baldness and gulping down Viagra at $15 a pill. Accept the weight gain, lower sex drive, erectile dysfunction, muscle loss, hair loss, memory loss, and the need to get up throughout the night to urinate. You guys fork out over $1 billion annually to battle receding hairlines while Pfizer spends $425 million annually pushing Viagra, Levitra and Cialis into your already fragile psyches. They know that a third of you in your 50‘s and half of you in your 60‘s suffer from erectile dysfunction.

Caveat 5- Stay positive during your social, hormonal, and chemical transformations. At least you won’t accumulate cellulite and, heck, I think every notch your libido drops, your IQ raises by 10 points. Your manhood ain’t gone, brother…just reduced a bit! Your deep, male voice won’t disappear, nor will you get hooked on watching daytime soaps or ordering stuff from the Home Shopping Network.

Lastly, Caveat 6- Tune out the “Culture of Youth” that permeates America. When you’re watching the last fortress of midlife-manliness, a national football league game, you’ll never witness a beer commercial featuring a balding guy with a beer belly. You‘ll see a bunch of “flat-bellied” kids in their twenties partying with girls young enough to be your grandchild. Ignore them.

Robert Morton, M.Ed., Ed.S. has retired from his positions of School Psychologist and adjunct professor in the School of Leadership & Policy Studies at Bowling Green State University. A portion of Ad sale revenue from this site is donated to Big Brothers/Big Sisters of America. Questions? Comment? Contact him on the secure Bpath Mail Form.