Traditionally men have never felt the need to bother that much about how they look as they age. Women still fancy men as they get older, describing them as distinguished or a bit Clooney.
This belief by men that they look better as they age is seen by some as an excuse to sit back and do nothing.
Women unfortunately are used to being judged and scrutinised with every new line or wrinkle that appears and feel the need to tackle the ageing process head on.
Whilst women seem to be looking younger and younger, men it appears are lagging behind. The excuse that women aren’t so bothered simply doesn’t seem to ring true anymore. Recently I caught up with a group of women on a girl’s night out. Without their husbands and boyfriends around they opened up and told me what they really think.
Here are the 5 reasons why men are ageing worse than women.
They believe their power to attract the opposite sex won’t fade.
Sandra an English teacher from Earlsfield in London told me,
“Because men see images of older successful guys with younger prettier women, they assume it’s all ok and that men will never lose their sexual attractiveness, it’s just not true”
Take John Cleese who at 72 married a 41 year old woman. After 3 divorces, it appeared he hadn’t lost it.
Men see these images and you can’t blame them for thinking maybe age could even enhance my appeal!
But we live in the real world where now most women demand more.
Sandra goes on,
“Yes, success is attractive but nowadays ambition and a self confidence that is displayed in how they look, like an effortless style. That really matters to me.”
Men put things off all the time.
“Men are procrastinators, they know we need to do stuff but sometimes they just like to bury their head in the sands!” said 47 year old Julie from Windsor.
There may however be a legitimate medical reason for this. Whilst we are all familiar with symptoms of the menopause, we are less familiar with those of the andropause. This is the decline of the male hormone testosterone. Whilst in no way as dramatic or impactful as the menopause this slow and steady decline means that often men’s symptoms go unnoticed. Symptoms that include lack of energy, depression and a general lack of motivation. It’s not an excuse for laziness but it’s important for men to realise there are real physiological reasons why they might be feeling unmotivated.
Julie went on to say,
“The worst thing is an image of a man in his 50’s sitting on the sofa, watching football, drinking beer and not caring about himself. We want to take care of ourselves but if they won’t bother then we won’t either!”
Men aren’t as great at dealing with stress and this affects their looks.
Tina, a restaurant manager from Dalston told me,
“I know when my husband comes home stressed he just wants to eat, he bottles it all up and won’t talk about it. Women are like comfort blankets to each other and I think with men there’s more bravado.”
Bottling up stress or anxiety is not great for our health and staying calm has proven anti-ageing effects. The problem is when we are stressed we often eat more, drink too much or find we are not sleeping properly. It’s a vicious cycle. Tackling the causes of stress and not bottling it up is really important for men’s mental and physical health. Exercise and a good diet can help but nothing beats opening up to someone who really cares.
Men focus on their body and forget about their face.
“Because of social media, everyone wants to look good and everything is about the image. It all just got a bit more competitive for men as well” Katie from Bethnal Green told me.
Most men when they decide it’s time to compete with the younger crowd will throw themselves into an intense round of workouts and weight training. Building their biceps makes them feel more confident and helps rebuild any self-esteem the ageing process may have dented.
However, it’s easy just to focus on the body and forget about the face. The face is what the world sees every day and not your biceps, so looking after it really matters if you want to stay looking younger.
Hazel who runs her own PR business told me,
“You don’t want a man to spend more time in front of the mirror than you but you do want them to spend a bit of time”
They’re scared of what other men may think of their grooming routine.
“Men are more scared of what their mates will think than trying to look after themselves which seems daft to me” 38 year old Andrea told me.
Men love to share a laugh and good banter but will often shy away from displaying their weaknesses or insecurities in front of their mates for fear of being judged or end up the subject of ridicule.
Caring about your skin and looks has in the past been perceived as overly vain and even un-masculine. This is all changing though, mainly down to the younger generation.
56 year old Fiona from Dublin told me,
“I think some men do let themselves go a bit, I don’t think they’re as clued up as some of the younger generation in regards to products. Sometimes I buy stuff for my husband like balms and hair stuff as a subtle way of getting him to try these things. As time goes on those products are going to become much more normalised for men. I’ve noticed men plucking their eyebrows a lot more and I don’t have a problem with that.”
What struck me talking to these women is that they do want their men to take care of themselves more. Women it seems are more prepared to tackle the ageing process head on and now they are demanding the same from men. From a man’s point of view, it won’t take much.
Marika put it simply,
“I’m looking for a guy that looks after himself in an effortless way
No fuss or extreme treatments.
Yes, I want him to look younger and well groomed, but in a natural way!”
Stuart Miles is the UK's leading image, grooming and anti-ageing expert.
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