I was awake last night, thinking about getting older. It’s different for us women. We have networks of friends and are happier to chat about concerns and symptoms of ageing. But what about men? They rarely open up. I can’t envisage a group of guys talking about personal health problems. Imagine if men were more like women. Would we hear conversations like this…?
Dave joins Phil who is sitting by the window at Starbucks, cappuccino in front of him.
“Hi Phil, how’s it going? You look much better than the last time we met.” Dave sits beside Phil placing his tray containing frothy hot chocolate and a blueberry muffin down on the table. He shoves his shopping bags under the chair.
“Thanks. I went to see the doctor and he told me I needed to relax more to help with the stress, so I’ve been going to the spa in town. They do a wicked facial and back massage. I’ve also taken up yoga. It really helps.”
Dave takes a large bite out of his muffin and catches Phil’s disapproving look. “Yes, I know, a moment on the lips and all that. I gave up with the diet. There’s no point at my age. It’s not like Beyoncé is going to see me and want to have me as a sugar daddy and Janice, well, she’s not been interested in sex for ages. I think she’s gone off me. Just as well. I can’t get much rise out of the old boy these days. May as well enjoy life’s little pleasures.” Dave chomps another large bite of muffin.
“Hey, I got this today.” He pauses to rummage about in his bag and extracts a nasal hair remover.
Phil nods. “I got one of those last month. They’re great for getting rid of those pesky hairs that have sprouted in the nose and ears. It’s like all my hair has decided to grow downwards through my nostrils. Embarrassing isn’t it?
“Thought it wouldn’t hurt to stay groomed although it’s more so I don’t frighten the grandkids. They called me a furry old monster yesterday.”
“Damn this getting old! Still, what can we do? Talking of age-related symptoms, how are the mood swings?”
“Oh, you know. One minute all is well then the next, I’ll be driving along, the car goes down a pot hole and I’m off on one, yelling at everyone. I can’t control it. It doesn’t help when Janice keeps calling me an old grumpy guts. Like there’s a lot to be happy about. I’m sixty-five, jobless, invisible to everyone, especially the youths that hang about the shopping centre and swear. I’ll never be able to pull another woman in my life and parts of me ache regularly. The best bit of the week is when I meet you or go to the pub for a drink and watch the football, although that’s not the same as it used to be.”
“Tell me about it. What is it with this next generation? I don’t understand them at all. My pub was empty last week apart from two of us propping up the bar and a group of lads all glued to their phones. It’s hopeless. There’s nothing for us chaps anymore. It’s enough to make a bloke mega grumpy. Sandra went on and on at me last week. She moaned about me sitting at home watching afternoon television. Told me I needed a hobby. As if I want to spend the rest of my life doing DIY and taming the garden. I’m sick of mowing the grass every week and fixing stuff. I’m sixty-six for crying out loud. What the heck is left?”
“Now then. Don’t start. You’ll know what’ll happen next. We’ll get grouchy and go and snarl at people in the streets. Here, take this. I got this in town. It’s lavender oil. It’s supposed to help you sleep and make you feel calm.”
“Cheers. I’ve been a little bit better since I took up yoga but this looks great.” He takes the top off and sniffs it, then puts some on the back of his hand. “I’ll try it tonight on my pillow. Isn’t it horrible when you wake up in the middle of the night and wonder what the hell is waiting for you in the coming months? There’s something about waking up at two in the morning. Your brain isn’t reasonable. I keep thinking I’m going to have a full-blown heart attack or a stroke or something.”
“Not surprising given all the bad news about and some of our friends popping off as they have been. Now, enough of this depressing talk. I suggest we go into that new shop in town, get our eyebrows done and then go shoe shopping. That’ll sort us out!”
The men scrape back their chairs and head off to town together