Male Menopause: Fact or Fiction?



Has your hubby traded in the family station wagon for a flashy sportscar? Has he inked a tattoo onto his bicep and bought a motor bike? Is he suddenly talking about quitting his job and launching a start-up boutique brewery? Is he busily boiling bone broth and uncharacteristically keen on quinoa?

Well, fasten your psychological seat belts, girls, because your husband’s midlife crisis has started without him. What’s worse, we have to take it seriously. Yep. Apparently, the male menopause is a real phenomenon. New research says that the husband who trades in his wife for the babysitter, buys a long thin boat and starts driving a meno-porsche needs our sympathy and understanding – instead of a kick up the bum with a pointy boot.

According to one of Britain’s leading researchers on ageing, we need to stop trivialising the male midlife crisis. Mark Jackson, director of Exeter’s University Wellcome Centre, says that a new medical speciality is needed to cover the years between paediatrics and geriatrics. He suggests calling it Male Mediatrics.

In essence, the realisation that a man is slowing down, losing hair and becoming less hunky is hugely damaging to his psyche. The awareness that he’s not going to make CEO after all, nor win the Sydney to Hobart yacht race or make enough moolah to buy that coveted McMansion can lead to a severe drop in male self-esteem. To let off esteem, some middle-aged blokes look for the testosterone injection of a younger girlfriend and a hotter car or become addicted to competing in Iron men events.

Well, I’m sorry boys, but I’m sure I speak for most exhausted working Mums when I say that the only ‘iron man’ we’re interested in is the bloke who brings in the washing grabs a bottle of starch and puts up ironing board. Because while Midlife Crisis Man is moaning about his moobs while hurtling around the countryside on his blingy racing bike in too-tight lycra, your beleaguered wife is left to take care of the house and the teen wrangling and both sets of aged parents, while simultaneously enduring her own midlife horrors. Not only are we also treading water professionally and being overtaken by younger, hungrier colleagues but we’re also enduring hormonal upheaval, memory loss and hot flushes so intense it feels as though the Gestapo are trying to sweat a confession out of you.

And what would we confess?… That we’re shortly going to be on trial for man slaughter after killing the whinging hubby who’s demanding we show more understanding about his ‘male menopause.’

When my partner went through his midlife crisis and announced that he wanted to find more ‘fun’ in life, I tried to be supportive, I truly did… Mind you, running a marathon which involved traversing over rough, rain-drenched terrain didn’t sound like much fun to me… In fact, it sounded like fleeing the Taliban over the Afghanistan mountains. But I bought him padded socks and blister packs and waited patiently while he ran run through at least three time zones – at one stage I think he passed Greenland. When he finally staggered home, he just collapsed, panting onto the couch, expecting praise and adulation. He was way too tired to mow the lawn, but not too tired to soon set off on his next marathon. It was then I realised that he was keeping fit by doing step aerobics off his own ego.

Kids hitting puberty are the recipients of much sympathy concerning mood swings, exam stress, pimples and peer pressure. Older people benefit from research on dementia and arthritis and other age-related conditions. Obviously we humans in the middle are pretty much ignored. Clearly, all we can do is take care of each other.

Research states that the male menopause, on average, only lasts for two years. The report also concludes that the sagging male psyche can’t really be reupholstered by younger lovers, faster motor bikes and marathon training. The best inoculation against midlife angst, apparently, is to delete your Instagram account. Perfect lives are like orgasms – many of them are faked – particularly on social media.

So, boys, before you throw away your wife and your life and ride off into the sunset in your meno-Porsche, just be warned that by the time you ‘find yourself’, there may be nobody home.

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