I am unsure if it was a question or a accusation, although in truth the statement was probably caused by jealousy. I was in work withdrawing items from the store. A guy I do not see that often because he moved from the dept I work in a few years ago was doing the same. Normally these encounters cause a conversation about nothing, just meaningless words to acknowledge the other person is there and break the silence. However I was greeted with “are you having a mid life crisis” my initial response being “what ?”
I should have known, it was the car. “I seen that car you have in the car park” being me I lifted the items I was getting and simultaneously rattled off a stock reply “The Sirocco ? it goes like shit off a shovel, has all the bells and whistles and is sexy as a sexy thing, if thats a crisis i’m doing it wrong” I was walking away by the time I had said that and if he replied i did not hear it, but my thoughts were along the lines of seeing someone else have what you would like is eating you up chum. That and its time to write about the fabled mid life crisis, and why it is socially unique to men.
The expected behaviour of people works like this.
If a person in their late teens, upon getting their first job spends the money they earn on nice clothes, a car or motorcycle they can just about afford, takes up a hobby and attempts to present themselves in a positive light, we call this normal.
We expect these habits to continue until child rearing has physical and financial effects and we then expect, women to keep there standard of appearance and social circle and men to reduce there clothing/grooming budget and social life as “going to the pub” to often is not a good example as a father.
If, when the children are approaching adulthood, a woman takes up a new hobby with her extended free time, renews her wardrobe and goes out more with “the girls” we call this “keeping herself young”. The desire to go on holidays to unusual destinations make her interesting. We may also use the term “finding herself”. We describe going to male strip shows such as The Chippendales a bit of fun. If she does this on her husbands money, nobody notices.
If, when the children are approaching adulthood, a man takes up a new hobby with his extended free time, renews his wardrobe and goes out more with friends we call this “signs of having a affair”. If you add spending the money he earns on a nice car or motorcycle and a desire go on holidays to unusual interesting destinations, we call that a MID LIFE CRISIS !
Lets recap, a man takes up new hobbies, improves his appearance, spends his money he earns, what exactly is the crisis ?
The term crisis clearly means something is very wrong.
I have three questions to ask society about this.
Why are similar sets of behaviour displayed by men and women, in similar circumstances interpreted differently by society ?
These types of behaviour are definitely improvements, I would not want remove any opportunity for anyone of either sex to improve themselves. However would it not be beneficial for couples to go through this process together and not leave one behind ?
What, exactly is wrong with a man who has been working hard to provide for his family for over twenty years taking pride in his appearance. Taking time to socialise and enjoying the fruits of his labour ?
It is when examining section C that things become clear. When a man who has been using his wages on his wife and children starts spending it on himself the wife and children loose a free ride. Granted they should now be in a position where they are not dependant, however dependancy is addictive.
There is a crisis in this situation, but not for the man. The wife is now going to have to pay her own way, the children are going to have to look out for themselves to a certain extent. This new responsibility on the wife and now adult children is a crisis, to them. Granted, the now adult children should now be attempting to stand on their own two feet and will feel this less. It is the “stay at home mom” that is most at risk.
Consider this, if these women see others allowing this to happen and worse still, working extra hours to keep their spending levels where they were before the man started buying himself stuff, well they could end up in the same boat. Hence they make this behaviour unacceptable in others and deter their husband from similar madness. Lets face it, if the wife is vocal about someone else’s husband spending money her own husband knows in advance not to do it.
This leaves one last question. I was asked was I having a crisis when I got a nice car, started going to the gym, ate lunch every day, stopped wearing ripped clothes, did not sleep every meal break and looked like I had actually had a shower recently. How come this raises questions about a crisis.
Surely the time to ask someone if they are having a crisis is when there are scrapes on there face because they ran into a tree on their mountain bike, again. Regularly went to a car park beside where they worked “for a snooze” before work. Came into work with the ass ripped out of their jeans. Their car looked like they lived in it. Had to get a pass out ever other month because something went wrong at home. Never did have money for a cup of coffee. Stayed later at work than they had to because, well because they could. Never used the word “home”.
These, and many more tell tale signs are the sign of a man having a crisis, but we choose to ignore them, because they are happening to a man.