Think a moment about the recent sitcoms. “Seinfeld”, “King of Queens”, “Everybody Loves Raymond”: what do they have in common? Hot lady, not so hot guy. Gone are the days of “The Brady Bunch” and “I Dream of Jeannie” when every couple had a Barbie and a Ken. Nowadays it’s a little closer to “Beauty and the Beast.” Why this sudden disparity between partners? Is it a television’s way of showing us nice guys don’t always finish last, or is it simply a more realistic interpretation of life? Let’s have a look at what the experts say about this strange phenomenon.
Is She Really Going Out With Him?
According to LA-based dermatologist Dr. Jason Emer, “I have a significant portion of middle- aged men whose wives are taking care of themselves, but they’ve gained weight because they don’t have time to exercise and diet, and they have a lot of sun damage. They come in and they say they want to look as good as their wives.”
Why Do Men Let Themselves Go?
Dr. John Layke thinks that the extra edge men have over women when it comes to aging make them more lax about grooming. Male skin is about 25% thicker than female skin because it contains testosterone. However, after a certain age, it begins to taper off because of lifestyle and hormonal factors.
Says Lake, “Men age at a slower rate, but all of a sudden it hits at 50. After age 30, men lose 1 percent of testosterone per year you start to see it around age 50 (when the loss is) 20%.”
In addition, man loses muscle as they age which can slow metabolism and cause weight gain. The loss of testosterone also causes the skin to thin out and wrinkle more. Add to that the fact that half of the men have male pattern baldness by the age of 50, and the picture becomes clearer. “It’s all gradual,” says Lake, “but …by the time (men) figure this stuff out it’s too late.”
New York plastic surgeon Sachin Shridharani believes sun damage is partially responsible for the divide. She describes situations where couples “go on the same vacation, but he’s like, she was going stuff on her skin-why was no one telling me to put sunscreen on? Where was the sunblock for men?”
Shri Dhani acknowledges that men don’t always have the benefit of media messaging about staying in shape the women do. She says, “You see couples that age together, and you notice that the guy didn’t have the benefit of knowing what to do.”
Then there’s the “Dad Bod.” According to registered dietician Tanya Zuckerbrot, 40% of her clients are men between the ages of 40 and 70, and nearly all of them are dealing with weight gain. “We assume that getting heavier is part of the natural aging process. And while it typically is, it doesn’t have to be.”
What Can We do
Most experts agree that, while a neat diet and exercise routine can help to counteract the aging process, the biggest obstacle is teaching men how to adapt to lifestyle changes. Can you teach an old dog new tricks? Time will tell. But in the meantime, the ladies may just have to settle.
What do you think? Can men over 50 learn to keep themselves healthy and looking good? Tell us about your worse half. We want to know!