TEN GOOD YEARS!
If you have ever had the pleasure of listening to Nancy Wilson’s stellar version of the song “10 Good Years” which she recorded in 1965 on the Capitol Records label then you know and old dog still has some time to wag his tail. Take some time, ( if you will), to take a listen before you read this article at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hk_MVrX3KDw . Now it is typically not my custom to reference material created with a female sentimentality in mind when treating with manly issues simply because I feel that men are so very different in many respects but this particular song speaks less to the female experience and more the common human experience.
Contemporary male culture is full of graphic reminders of the fragility and brevity of our masculine virility the most common of which are products promising to restore premature balding and erectile dysfunction. Coupled with these cattle prods to our sacred male mojo are such popular sayings as, “You better make your fire while you still got wood” (lyrics by Nancy Wilson 1965) and “If you want to let him know there’s steak for dinner you’d better make it sizzle” (line by Wesley Snipes in To Wong Foo 1995). These types of ticking clock warnings inundate the culture of the male species ever focused on youthfulness, driving men to prove, “They can still hunt”, (Reuben’s line in Oceans 13, 2007). For a mature male the end of acne and growing pains opens up an entirely new set of issues centered on the inevitable prospect of growing old. As a euphemism we tend to use the general term, “Mature” to distinguish the process through which we relinquish our youthfulness for the next stage of physical and mental development. Technically there is no specific threshold or ceiling age to the term; it can include a 21 year old as well as a 91 year old male encompassing quite a broad, subjective range. But it is not my intent to attempt to define the term “Mature” for anyone as I am certain they will be fully competent to complete that exercise for themselves. The point of this article is to explore strategies for men to manage the inevitable process of aging within a culture that worships eternal youth and praises the physical success typically achieved by older men. For example, the couture suits in Gentleman’s Quarterly are being visually marketed by young models ranging from 18 to 21 years old for a mature clientele of businessmen ranging from 35 to 60 years old. Cultural disparity number one is that young men aged 18 through 21 are hardly in the market for a $3,000 - $5,000 suit and businessmen aged 35 – 60 can no longer pass for an 18-21 year old. One might say it’s a setup, no matter how hard a mature man tries he is not going to age in reverse but then why should he?
Some mature men may begin to fear they are approaching the end of their marketability as viable candidates for sex, romance or the establishment of relationships. They fear that because of their age and/or experience they will be overlooked for younger, less “experienced” candidates. 21st century popular culture certainly does lean more heavily toward the road less traveled as a desirable option for getting to know someone and deciding to stay with them. Most mature men already know they come to the table with a houseful of offerings that are far more desirable to the bloke in his own shoes looking for financial and emotional meaningfulness and stability as well as the handsome but materially unadorned young Gavin’s pulling at his trousers. Some of these men will invariably use their status as bait and it is generally but not absolutely true that such men are not really serious about developing anything serious; they are merely attempting to extend the wild frolics of their youth. Whether a mature man uses his wealth, status and possessions as a lure for prospective lovers or as a standard balance for weighing compatibility a mature man typically but not always uses his status to compensate for what he feels he may have lost in masculine virility and youthfulness. This begs the inevitable question, “How much time can I survive as a successful player in the popular field on my good looks and charm before having to rely on external assets to attract attention”? Which begs the additional question, “How much external support do I feel I need in order to feel confident as a successful player,”?
The quantification of a man’s insecurity is at best an unmapped science. It is sheer guesswork to attempt to postulate how much a man will generally compensate for his insecurity in any given scenario. This man is 25% insecure due to his receding hairline and overcompensates 50% by dying his hair and investing in expensive hair replacement treatments. That man is 50% insecure about his erectile dysfunction and overcompensates 75% by investing in male enhancement drugs and externally applied performance products designed to create and maintain an erection. Another man is 15% insecure about his age and overcompensates 30% by investing in popular, youthful apparel, vehicles, real estate, furniture and other conspicuous retail items. Some men fabricate elaborate virtual character profiles possessing all the irresistible attributes they feel they do not possess to gain a “Cinderella cyber-machismo” existing only when they are online. There are some men, bountifully endowed, who overcompensate by using their penis as a sexual lure while allowing the rest of them to fall by the wayside. These are the dysfunctional aspects of insecurity overcompensation.
On the other side of the spectrum there are those men who actually embrace their maturity including the changing of their appearance, metabolism and libido. These men have not given up on themselves by any stretch of the imagination they have merely bought in to the natural evolution of their masculinity by developing highly creative and self-actualizing techniques to visualize “re-masculate” themselves. I want to discuss the term I coined, “remasculate”, a term I created to describe a philosophical rite of passage whereby a man sheds the trappings of a manhood he has outgrown in order to free himself to explore a far more philosophically advanced echelon of manhood. During a man’s lifetime he may actually undergo the process of remasculization many times over. The process of remasculization entails more than just the transition from a baby to a boy, an adolescent, a man a, gentleman and an elder although it certainly runs parallel to this structure of social, mental and physical evolution. Remasculization requires a man to completely revise, reinvent and remodel himself inwardly and outwardly to accommodate his physical and intellectual journey through life and the end result is a philosophical entity that is fundamentally balanced. Because remasculinization takes into account the fundamental changes of physical and mental maturity it does not have to overcompensate for any loss in manhood because it does not see maturity as a pejorative or decomposing process. Of course remasculinization is as I have defined it a textbook theory and to be honest it is my opinion that no man can fit the ideal, there will always be some degree of remorse and sense of loss due to the aging process and therefore nearly every man will show some degree of overcompensation.
When a mature man looks into the mirror, or when he walks into a roomful of young virile males he certainly qualifies himself on the totem pole of manly desirability whether he gives it conscious merit or not. At some point a man asks himself, “How long will my good looks and youthful stamina last”? Parallel to the process if remasculinization each time a man moves upward to the next echelon of philosophically balanced manhood he certainly makes a note of where he came from and where he now is with respect to the eternal manly virtues. That is why the philosophical dimension is so very essential for human growth. There will come a time when a man will no longer possess any of the shining and careless attributes of his physical youth but in-between those times he will have to engineer a successful bridge equipped with strategic vantage points from which he can take a romantic look back as well as a hopeful look forward. When our twenties are over we have 10 good years to our 40’s and after those 10 good years to our 50’s, ten good years to our 60’s, 70’s 80’s 90’ and so on until we go to our glory. There is always something great and uncharted to look forward to but until we realize this we must be confident that we have 10 or more good years of sturdy manliness to keep our confidence up. As our concept of manhood evolves altering our goals and objectives accordingly those 10 good years will seem to come and go as quickly as we can shave an 8-hour beard. Manhood is one of those things that get's better with age so artificially turning the clock back has a perversely disquieting effect on the gracefulness of a well-balanced aging process. What matters in the end is the warm and hopeful comfort of knowing we do in fact have 10, 20, 30 or more good years ahead…"So Here's A Toast To Ten Or More Good Years!" Cheers!
Written By BIGDADDY BLUES