RW153 - Tower of Waddle

This week, Dan and John talk about:

  • John cutting his hair too short (Style)
  • John being worried about aging in the wrong way (Aging)
  • Comparing John to celebrities (Aging)
  • Having your self-image line up with reality (Aging)
  • John's vanity (Aging)
  • People dressing in sports clothes, athleisure wear (Aging)
  • Aging appropriately (Aging)
  • John crossing the Brimley line (Aging)
  • Having kids late, looking like his daughter's grandfather (Aging)
  • Feeling younger than your peers (Aging)
  • Saving The Showbox (Music)
  • John needing to transition to a new self-image (Aging)

Bonus-content for Patreon supporters:

  • Should you have a child that has a high risk of disabilities (Children)
  • Should you follow your interests, even though they might seem meaningless? (Humanities)
  • John’s influences in music, does our musical taste get locked in? (Music)

The show title refers to the look of the neck of George Lucas.

It is going pretty chill.

Dan opens a can of Lime LaCroix, having a little picnic.

Draft version
The segments below are drafts that will be incorporated into the rest of the Wiki as time permits.

John cutting his hair too short (RW153)

John has been a little more active again on Instagram and he said he gave himself a haircut that was too short. Dan thinks that it is usually too long and with the short hair John looks younger and thinner. It is a dysmorphia situation where John thinks his face overwhelms his head and the hair offsets the largeness of his face relative to his brain pan and the dimensions of his skull. The brain pan is where the oil goes when the engine is not running.

John can only ever really see his face straight on and he can’t see himself from different angles because his eyes are in the front of his face. Only when he looks into a reflection in a pond or something can he see more face than anything else. It is surely a dysmorphia and it is why John usually wears his hair a little long. Now he cut it too short, but he didn't intend to.

For a long time John had been doing a great job tending to his hair. Every 6-9 months he gets in there and starts doing a thing, but then he has to correct that mistake and pretty soon he has put himself in a position where the only solution is to give himself a soccer-player haircut except without the mullet. It is frustrating having failed at the task he set out to do, which was give himself a cool haircut, and he was to force himself to salvage it and not just shave his head every time. Everybody is their own worst critic!

When you look in the mirror you are going to see stuff that no-one else is going to see and even if they did see it they wouldn't care about it, but that is just you. Everyone else says: ”John has a nice haircut!” Whatever it is that John thinks makes him look weird with a short haircut is fully delusional and he looks just fine.

John being worried about aging in the wrong way (RW153)

John is not handling his current period of aging very well. Ten years ago his beard was brown with just the slightest light coloring around the chin and the mustache was blond. On early pictures with him and his daughter during the first three years his hair was dishwater-blondish-brownish-ash color, the regular hair color of the segment of white people that don’t have very much color. It is dirty blond, his daughter would call it brown, but it didn't even have the saturation of brown, it just looked like dishwater.

Wen she was between 3-8 John’s beard turned white really fast and his hair went from dirty ashy to dirty ashy with lots of new white in it. It was exciting because he had always imagined a time when he would be gray and full of gravity. Grey is way cooler than dishwater and he would be Gandalf-y, but the way the grey came in combined with the fact that he has been carrying a little weight makes that he really notices his large neck at this age. He can’t buy an extra large shirt that fits him in every other dimension and button the neck comfortably.

John has an 18” (46 cm) neck, which is not a shirt that you can't buy, but it is not an off-the-rack dimension either. It is probably a dysmorphia, but he had expected he would look in the mirror and say: ”He is a grey fox who is aging into an elder ninja state!” Now he feels terror that he might be aging into a George Lucas state. George Lucas does not have a very strong chin, but he has a big face that is sitting on top of a Tower of Waddle. No stylist has ever gotten to him and said: ”Here is what we can do!” At some point somebody who cared about him, like a child or a daughter, should have said: ”Like let's try something else!”

Comparing John to celebrities (RW153)

Over the years people have always teased John and compared him to Philip Seymour Hoffman, but that is not whom he was shooting for, even though it may be true. Back when he was younger people said he looked like Val Kilmer and he disagreed, but took it as a compliment. He doesn’t look like Christian Slater, but people would compare them because there was some attitude similarity even though he doesn’t look like him, but he took that as a compliment. No-one has said John looks like George Lucas yet, but it seems only a matter of time until some random (would do that). John also used to get compared to James Spader.

Dan compares John to David Harbour, the sheriff in Stranger Things and John has heard that a lot already. There are similarities like their hairline and their size. David Harbour has put on weight and John is not that big, but when it comes to the overall demeanor there is a fine line between casualness and sloppiness. John is on the side of casualness and doesn’t go into the sloppy side, while David goes into the sloppy side, at least as the character of the sheriff. John often dresses up with a suit and a tie, maybe wearing an ascot with a beret, but Dan is just talking about day to day life where the overall demeanor of him and John are very similar.

There is a loose-limbed quality. John has always felt like three British guys with tape measures around their shoulders and pins in their mouths could put him in a $5000 suit, but then he would go to the restroom and back and look like he had been sleeping in the suit for four days. Something about his physicality allows him to only be so slick. Some of his friends can spend all day in a suit and at the end of the day they look just as good as they did at the beginning of the day. They have an athleticism and they can wear clothes in a way where the shirt never comes untucked. They could dig a ditch and step out of it cleaner.

John is the opposite. As soon as he walks across the room his shirt pulls out of his pants, one of his cuffs gets caught in his sock, and his collar goes askew. He embraced it as a teenager and realized he is never going to be slick. Inside his mind he is rumpled and when he is rumpled outside there is a consistency to it. Nothing inside his head says: ”I'm slick!”, but he feels like he just woke up and looks like he just woke up. Merlin used to torment John by saying that he looked like Bruce Vilanch, the ultimate kick in the groin, and people who listen to Roderick on the Line took that as a good natured way to to give John the business. John can see the resemblance and can understand the parallels.

Marc Menchaca who was the uncle of the blonde girl in the excellent Netflix show Ozark and who also was in the Black Mirror episode with Miley Cyrus as the dad has the same beard style as John and the same hair-combing-over. The second picture Dan was looking at looked like it was a picture of John who had dressed fancy. He has a little bit more red on his beard than John ever had and John likes the cut of his jib and he sees the resemblance.

If Dan was tasked with casting John in a movie about him, not only does he think Marc Menchaca looks very much like John, but he could play John successfully personality-wise as well. John would not only agree, but see it as a compliment. He is handsome and the number of elements where he resembles him stacks up. The guy from Stranger Things feels a little bit meatier than John. He is not fat, he is just broader than John.

There was a thread over on the fan page of Omnibus where somebody said: ”Who would win in a fight: John or the guy from Stranger Things?” Normally John likes that kind of thread. At one point there was a Death Cab for Cutie thread that said: ”If the members of Death Cab, John, and a couple other people were all in a room in a survival situation and only one of them would live, how would it break out Battle Royale style?” The consensus was that it came down to John and Death Cab’s drummer (Jason McGerr). Then it was just a question of who had the resolve.

In the case of the Stranger Things guy the general consensus was that the guy would win. Half the people said it was because he has supernatural powers, but John still had to somewhat agree. He is bigger than John and when he walks through a door his shoulders would touch each side of the doorframe and John would have to really gain some leverage or find a tool.

Over the years John went through phases where he would look at himself and say: ”You are doing pretty good! Your appearance comports with how you think of yourself!” He would picture himself in his mind and then see himself in the mirror he would see an equivalency. He imagined himself as a guitar player in his late thirties and in the mirror he would see a guitar player in his late 30s, but now there is a little bit of a disconnect. He still pictures himself in a certain way and he pictures himself like this actor Marc Menchaca, except without the red in the beard.

Having your self-image line up with reality (RW153)

Dan would hear people say that it sucks getting old because things don't work anymore and it is hard when it used to be easy, but what John just said lines up with what Dan has been thinking: Your image of yourself, not just physically, but as a whole human, the concept that lives in your mind, gets probably fully formed in your early-to-mid-30s and even though it might get formed before that, in your mid-30s it gets stuck. You have a grace period of 5-10 years, but when you get into your 40s that image you have of yourself as a person no longer lines up with what you really are.

Dan is not balding in the aggressive sense, but his hair is thinning on top and in the front and that does not align with the image he has of himself. For most of his life, not only did he have a full head of hair, but he had a wonderful luxurious thick full head of hair that could fight battles, like a badger. Now it is not like that anymore and nobody who knows him now thinks of it like that.

Maybe somebody who hasn’t seen him for 10 or 15 years is still hanging on to that, but in his own mind he knows what he looks like now, do’h, but still when he looks at him, he thinks: ”Oh, right, that is what my hair looks like now!” No-one cares and he doesn’t really even care himself, except for the fact that it is different. Like if you walked in front of the mirror and you are: ”Right, I forgot my skin is purple now!” You have to integrate that into who you are. You are the purple guy now. That is aging!

John's vanity (RW153)

John has wrestled with vanity his whole life and we all do. Everybody wrestles with vanity and comes out one way or the other. A lot of men decided to combat vanity by standardizing their appearance. They have decided what haircut looked good, what facial hair configuration looked good, and what clothes that looked good, and then they put a padlock on that. They are always going to get their hair cut that same way on a regular schedule, they are going to keep their facial hair the way it is, and they are going to dress the same way. They picked a style that is going to work for them forever. Plenty of guys have made that decision!

Then there are the people who have more style and fashion awareness, but they solidified their code within the framework of being fashionable. They are going to continue to wear cool clothes in this vein and they are not going to take risks. Everybody across the whole spectrum of people has to carry that backpack with them. There are people who end up not wanting to see any photographs of themselves because it lights up the control-board of vanity. They don't like their appearance and they want to try to avoid any contact with it.

People at John's age start making some pretty bad choices. They have elective surgery, they are getting hair manipulations, let's just call them choices, not even bad choices, but they are making choices to fix things and you can hear it in John’s own confusion about what is happening to him, where his vanity has never been in check, but his vanity has largely taken the form of reputation.

John has spent most of his fretting and most of his energy directed at being understood and being misunderstood is an insult to his vanity. Making himself understood or being naturally or intrinsically understood by someone strokes his vanity. John was always resigned to being sloppy, he never had a dramatic dysmorphia and he never imagined his appearance or his comportation as being that distant from who he actually was.

One of John's good friends thinks of himself as looking like Johnny Depp or Morrissey, and looking at himself in the mirror is always a horror for him because he looks nothing like those guys, so much so that he ended up avoiding seeing his reflection, let alone a photograph, because imagining that he looks like Johnny Depp is a happy place for him.

John never had that problem. He never thought to himself that he was rakish and then was shocked and dismayed when he caught a glimpse of himself. At age 50 he is finding himself going through a period where his decisions are influenced by his vanity, for instance sitting in the bathroom with his scissors and his dog clippers at 3am, giving himself a haircut which is something he has done for 20 years, but now he is in there using these blunt instruments to try and correct some deficiencies.

It comes from a place of feeling like he is on the back-foot or he is off-balance vanity-wise. What if he just got in there and took this out and what if he did this over here? John does not wear makeup, so there is only so much he can do. The only power he has is to take hair away, but when he shaves his beard he also looks terrible and that has been true for a long time. John doesn’t like the look of his face without a beard on it, but if he lets his beard grow long he just looks like a (slog).

People of all genders have the experience in middle age where they start to feel that a whole subset of the population is not interested in them because of their age. They are now a middle aged person, a mom or a dad! Just in the last year the term Boomer has brilliantly evolved into an insult that Millennials are levying at one another. If a Millennial does something that another Millennial finds suspect they go: ”Oh, that is such a Boomer move!” It is a devastating sleigh! The Boomers are awful and it is fucking great to use it as an insult! To someone who is 29, John who is 50 may be indistinguishable from someone who is 70. Looking across a room there are all the greys over there!

A few months ago John was looking at a house (see RL301) and the people selling the house were Baby Boomers. The husband and wife had met in 1968, she was a stewardess for Alaska Airlines and he was a Navy SEAL in Vietnam. They maintained a lot of youthfulness over the years and they lived in this great house. They put their house on the market with a real estate agent and then insisted that they be there for the open house.

As the real estate agent was walking people through the house they were following along and contradicting her until she eventually threw up her hands and said: ”I can't work like this!” and left. The open house was over, it was just John and the two of them, and they all sat in the living room for 2.5 hours while John listened to them talk about their love for one another and what it was like in the 1960s. John was not going to buy their house, but he was fully bought in on their relationship.

At one point one of them made a comment, like: ”People our age…”, which was a sweeping generalization that was including John, like: ”Well, I mean we are older than you, but you know what I mean about people our age…” - ”No, I do not know what you mean because I was born the day that you got married! I am a completely different generation!”, but in reality John is also a middle aged guy with grey hair and they think of themselves as younger than they are, they feel like they are in middle age, too!

All of that is playing into vanity and John is starting to be uncomfortable with where he sits in the world. He has been arrayed against the Baby Boomers his whole adult life and he is not going into being a Baby Boomer without kicking and screaming! Generation X is a completely separate world and they have a completely separate worldview.

Wen John was 42 he felt 42 and he understood how to be 42. When he was 35 he understood how to be 35, but he doesn’t know how to be 50. His capabilities aren't diminished, but at 35 he was still a young person and at 42 he felt he was still a young person, just an older young person. He doesn’t know how much of this is a vanity problem or a vanity break, and how much of it is something that is actually true in the world. Both things probably are true, but John doesn’t know where the line is.

People dressing in sports clothes, athleisure wear (RW153)

The guy across the street from John's daughter's mother's house has already lost his hair, but he goes to the gym and still looks great. As an American dad he doesn't dress very well. He wears sports clothes all the time, which is very common around these parts and his shirts have Nike swooshes on them! When he gets dressed he surely thinks: ”Does this look good on me?” because everybody thinks that at least somewhat, but walking out of the door with a shirt that says ”Body Armor” is wrong!

Dan finds there to be an epidemic of people for whom workout clothes have moved squarely into the lounge wear or casual wear space. Dan noticed it first when women would be in their yoga pants and yoga clothes before or after the yoga or maybe with the pretense that they just do yoga so much that they would be wearing this to say: ”I just came from yoga!” or ”I am going to yoga later and I won't have time to get changed!”, but eventually it was just: ”Nah, I am actually not doing yoga even this month, but these clothes are so comfortable and as a 20-40-something woman I don't want to wear business attire to Target. I also don't want to wear what my daughter is wearing. What is there left for me? Yoga pants!”

Of course guys have been wearing basketball shorts and tank tops and high tops for decades and now these things just collided together into the athleisure concept. People are wearing clothes that would have been for workout just as a style choice. Grown men dress in sports jerseys like little boys and there is no workout component to it! A football jersey or a jersey that says Ichiro (Suzuki, baseball outfielder) on the back or with their favorite sports team.

They are so sports, but they are not doing sports, but they are into sport. Dan owns a Philadelphia Eagles jersey and he wears it very occasionally on very important games. Most of the times he wears it the Eagles win and the times when he was going to test this theory and didn't wear it they lost. He wore it when the Eagles won the Super Bowl not so long ago (in 2018, see RW99) and it made a difference.

Dan would wear the jersey if he was invited to a party for the playoffs, but he is not going to put it on because it is a Sunday or during the week just because he is excited about the team. Dan has a T-shirt commemorating the Eagles winning at the Super Bowl and he does wear that occasionally, to T-shirt appropriate things, like running an errand at Home Depot or something, but that is extreme for him.

John would wear a T-shirt that said ”90 pound wuss” or whatever to a T-shirt thing. Russell Simmons, the guy who owned Def Jam Recordings, always dresses in sports clothes like a little boy with a Yankees cap on and he would wear that baseball cap with a suit, which is different from: "I am wearing my workout clothes all the time now!” John supports yoga pants and he is very glad that they are being worn to go on grocery store errands rather than sweat pants. Yoga pants are much better!

Aging appropriately (RW153)

There is now a pretty clear divide between 50 year olds who are aging, maybe even aging appropriately, and 50 year olds who are maintaining a youthful appearance, either by not going grey or by staying fit or simply by being blessed. Jonathan Coulton is a couple of years younger and you can see the wear of the years, but he is maintaining a very Jonathan Coulton look going forward and he still seems like his younger self. If you compare a picture of the two of them taken in 2011 next to a picture of the two of them taken in 2019 John would seem to have aged a lot faster than Jonathan has aged, and that is part of what is causing his vanity alarm.

John is struggling to match the 50 year old that he is with the one that he imagined because the one that he imagined would still appear formidable and not start to have aspects of: ”You can see the decay on him, you can see that the ghost is already riding him!” For instance Tom Cruise, Keanu Reeves and these guys are a few years older than John, and obviously as actors their job is to look good, but they look like themselves but there is some etching starting to happen, there are lines etched into them, and they start to feel more and more carved out of oak.

Duff McKagan has for a long time been made entirely out of muscle and hardwood and that just becomes more and more true as he gets older. Now he seems like an oak that has been in the wind, maybe growing on a promontory overlooking the ocean, just like that fucking tree. My God! John always felt like he was three uncooked ham in a cheese cloth bag. He doesn’t want to fall off, to just peel away from his contemporaries.

John crossing the Brimley line (RW153)

Just a couple of weeks ago John crossed the Brimley line (on 2019-06-08 as it seems), which is the age that Wilford Brimley was when Cocoon was released. It is a hilarious line because he was very young relative to Don Ameche, and he aged young, so at the age of 50 he was playing a retiree. There is a Twitter feed for that of course!

You look at the people as they cross the line you look at John and think: ”He doesn't look quite as old as Wilfred Brimley did in Cocoon, but you can see it!” John couldn't play a 70 year old but… The whole point of the Brimley line is that you go: ”What? No way!” When Madonna crossed it 10 years ago, you were like: ”That's insane! That is hilarious!”, or ”Prince is the same age as Wilford Brimley was? No way!”, but to cross it and have people go like: ”Yeah, I can see it!” is like: ”Ugh!”

John is trying to wrestle with this internally and there is nothing he can do about it. He is not going to dye his beard! He could go to the gym and start wearing yoga pants to the grocery store, but there is something else, it is just a roll of the dice, and John is going to be grizzled from here on out.

Having kids late, looking like his daughter's grandfather (RW153)

When John is with his daughter in a grocery store, some generally older people come up to her and say: ”Oh, are you out with granddad?” It only happened a couple of times and John doesn’t blame them because he is an older dad. He was 42 when she was born and to someone in their 70s who is accustomed to having kids in their 20s it is not inconceivable that John could be her grandfather.

Some of John's High School friends had a kid 9 months after graduation and he definitely knows people who had kids when they were 18, but in the modern world, certainly if you live in a city, that is less common if you are a member of a cultural demographic who intends to go to college and who intends to be professional people.

If John had his daughter at age 18 and if she had followed suit and had a child at age 18, then John could basically be the grandfather of anyone who was born after the year he turned 36, which was in 2004, meaning that John could be the grandparent of a 15 year old. His friends from High School who had kids at 18 are probably grandparents of teenagers. Many of John's friends have grandchildren at this point.

If John had had a kid at 18 he absolutely would be in a situation where his mother had raised it. The earliest age that he would have been capable and competent enough to make the sacrifices necessary to raise a kid would have probably been about 30. At 27/28 he still wouldn't have fully understood what needed to happen next, but at 30 he could have put aside childish things. He is lucky that he waited until he was 40 and he is grateful that he was able to.

John is not shy at his daughter's school and he doesn’t feel that much older than the parents of her contemporaries, but of course he lives in a hipster city where there are a lot of older parents.

Feeling younger than your peers (RW153)

Some of this is tied up in: ”What's my plan?” and John has lived a planless life. It is very different to be planless when your beard is dark than it is to be planless when your beard is grey. Lots of people feel like they have got themselves set up pretty well at the age of 50 and they can put the car in neutral for a while. It is a dangerous thing to do, but if you made a career in the military you absolutely could retire at 50 or even several years before that when you are reaching the mandatory age of retirement from the military! If you had a good job at a company where you never got laid off and the job offered good benefits, if you worked your whole career someplace, like at Boeing, you are reaching a time when you could retire.

The danger at 50 is that you say that you have set it all up pretty well and now it's ”Me!”-time. Both John and Dan hang out with friends in an age group much more varied than just 5 years plus or minus. A lot of the time when Dan is at a parent teacher thing with all the parents together in a room most of them are close to his age, but he always thinks that these people are all so old and boring. Not that he thinks he is cooler than they are because he doesn’t think he is cooler than anybody ever, but he doesn’t feel like he would fit in with that whole thing.

Dan is not living the lifestyle of a 19 year old at all, but the other parents all seem tired, unhealthy and overweight. They don't seem to have interests anymore: "Got the kids, taking them to swim lessons!" There is nothing wrong with it because they seem happy, but Dan doesn’t connected with that the same way. He is not repelling down the side of a rock face or trying to climb Kilimanjaro either, but he is in the gym two or three times a week because if he doesn’t do that he has really bad back problems.

Millennials would call that self care: Making sure that he doesn’t wake up in pain every day. If he works out and lifts weights he feels physically better and is able to do things he wasn't able to do when he was younger. Dan also eats at restaurants, which seems to be an uncommon thing for a lot of people in his age group here. They go to a restaurant once a week, but Dan goes more often than that. He reads the young people websites on the Internet and he looked at Reddit before that, but a lot of people his age have never heard of that and that is not an extreme example either.

Hopefully none of these people will ask Dan to hang out because it is going to be boring! He doesn’t think he is in some way superior or better, but he feels the opposite because he is missing out on this kind of relaxed contentment they have. They can hit cruise control and sit back and watch the world take them wherever it goes while Dan doesn’t feel that way ever and they seem much happier for it! Dan just walks in and sees a bunch of old people in there, but he is their age.

Saving The Showbox (RW153)

Last night John and some of his friends in Rock'n'Roll went down to City Hall to make a case to the landmark Preservation Board to landmark a venue in Seattle that is very important to a lot of them as a home field (The Showbox). It occupies a space directly across from Pike Place Market and if you built a 40 story luxury loft building nobody could ever build anything across the street from you, meaning your views would be assured and your apartment would be in the very heart of the city. The original owners sold the property and the current owner wants to develop it and has been offered as much as $41 million dollars for the structure.

This building is where it all happened, where John’s whole generation of musicians all cut their teeth. Although there are a lot of problems getting it landmarked, they succeeded because the landmark board, which is made up of 8-10 architects or urban planners, all acknowledged that although the building is not really architecturally significant or beautiful its cultural import is enough to justify landmark status. This is the first time John has ever seen this happen at a city meeting of this kind!

They were talking about things like the soul of the city and they made the connection that they are here to landmark buildings because they believe that buildings play an important role in the lifeblood of a city. If a building that is being used has such a significance to a huge community of people, is that not the whole reason they landmark things? They are not just trying to preserve architecture, but they are trying to preserve what makes the city itself. It was compelling!

After the meeting a group of them were standing around, all about the same age, like Megan Jasper, the CEO of Sub Pop, Chad Queirolo, who runs AEG in Seattle, and Jonna who has been working the backstage door at the Showbox for 26 years. She and John used to live in the same house back in 1993. They were all still young and Rock’n’Roll, wearing cool glasses and funky shoes. There was not that feeling that you were at a parent teacher conference where you look at the other parents and you think: ”Oh shit, you have all given up!”, They were all saying: ”Alright, see you tomorrow at The Raconteurs concert!” and they continue to kid themselves that they are young and fun.

John needing to transition to a new self-image (RW153)

John is still very alive and the disconnect between his perception of his appearance and his inner world is shocking because it is not a disconnect he has experienced before. He needs to transition to a new self-image and wear it with grace, but there are all these other aspects to it. There have been a couple of times recently when he has been in the company of a girl that he was seeing and they were out in the world. He wasn't looking for it, but there were a couple of times where he caught a glance from someone that felt a little bit raised-eyebrow-y because of the age difference.

The age difference wouldn't have been apparent if his beard would be a little darker, but the grey makes him look older. Because the woman was chic and well-attired she seems younger than she is and there is enough of a distance that there is a kind of: ”Hmmmm” together with a whole host of associations that a man can be a creep past a certain point just by still being interested in sex.

50-60 year old men are obviously still sexual creatures! George Clooney is still a sex symbol, Brad Pitt still is, lots of men are, but there is this notion of the lecher or the predator, an older man who misused the money or the authority that comes with that to bamboozle people and to work outside of what people feel like should be the corral around them.

John’s appearance makes that more exaggerated. He is very sensitive to that and he was when he was 26. When he was 26 and in the company of 23 year olds he felt like ”Whoa whoa whoa whoa! There is a little bit of an age difference here!” There is a huge difference between 23 and 26, but there is almost no age difference between 40 and 50 or 45 and 60.

Back then John felt incorrectly that as a 26 year old he had a responsibility to protect the innocence of 23-year olds. He always carried a mistaken responsibility! When he was 30 his girlfriend was 24, an instance where she had just asserted herself and said: ”Hello, I am your new girlfriend!” and John said: ”Okay!” He wasn't standing outside the schoolhouse door looking for a younger girlfriend, but it was a thing that happened to him.

Over the years John has dated plenty of people that were his age, that were a little older or a little younger, but being in his 50s he notices the beginning of a feeling from people on the street reacting: ”Aren't you a little old for this? Shouldn't you be out to pasture already?” Young people cast that aspersion on old people!

It is not like John is dyeing his hair and trying to still be 26, he is not going to EDM concerts and pogoing in the middle of the dance floor, going: ”I'm still alive!”, but he is engaging in age-appropriate behavior, which is to say: Shopping for a mid-century modern house! He is doing what middle-aged people do, which is going on house tours on Saturday afternoons and sometimes going to city council meetings.

The challenge is that it is not all in his head, but some of it is real in the world and John doesn’t know where to locate himself there. Some of this means that he has to get a new identity or his identity has to evolve in a positive way. He can't just succumb, he can't go: ”Well, it is all over! You look like shit now!”

The other problem is that John likes to wear Hawaiian shirts. You couldn't pick a worse shirt to wear if you are worried about looking like a middle-aged guy than a Hawaiian shirts. They are super-popular right now with young people, but it doesn't change that on a man with a grey beard they just invisible-ie you and disappear you because you look like a middle-aged guy in a Hawaiian shirt, which is half the middle-aged guys, certainly down in the Florida Keys. They are great and John is really into them!

John has never been a cliché and that may be what it is: He looks around more and more at himself and feels like: ”Oh shit, there are signs of cliché creeping in!” When he was 26 and dressed like a 50-year old that was iconoclastic. When you are 50 and you dress like a 50 year old it is cliché. Even these frets that he is expressing are cliché. John doesn’t know how to be cliche, but a worse thing would be to react to this by buying a leather jacket. This maybe is exactly the impulse that drives men John’s age to buy red cars, but a Corvette is not going to solve this for him.


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