Posted by: chlost | January 30, 2011

Middle-aged country mice hit the big city

Last night, the husband and I attended a political event in the city. It is notable for two reasons-we rarely go out together, and even more rarely venture into the city for any event.

We are getting old.

Husband will admit that he is uncomfortable in new situations. He does not enjoy trying new restaurants, for example. He would rather go someplace where he knows that he will find something he will like to eat. He feels uncomfortable and vulnerable in the city, especially at night, and even more so if he is driving in an area with which he is unfamiliar. He also is very uncomfortable spending money on a night out. He did mention at the end of the evening that he thought it was a pretty good night, even considering the $100 that we spent.

That is a successful night out.

It was a political event, a roast of a local political leader.  One of our friends was giving a roast/toast, and that is why we attended, even though we had never met the subjects of the roast. Our friend did a very good job. He actually got a bunch of  self-conscious Midwesterners to stand, rock rhythmically from side to side, and clap to a beat as he did a rap version of a familiar song (with appropriately modified lyrics). The fact that our friend was also wearing a red feathered boa with his tux lent an air of festivity to the presentation!

Our oldest son attended with us, which is probably why the husband was able to relax a bit and enjoy the evening. There were many good jokes and lots of laughter. There were some well-known speakers. But the fact that our son knew his way around the city and that the husband had another male with us seemed to make a difference.

It made me wonder if it is common for middle-aged men to feel vulnerable like this. He has admitted to me that his fear of the city is based primarily on his realization that he would not be able to hold his own if there was a confrontation with younger men.  Apparently as a young man, he never felt this. He didn’t even consider it a possibility that he would be targeted by bad people when he was young. He grew up in the suburbs, and even though he has lived his entire life in the metro, he has spent little time in the downtown area.

As a woman, even a young woman, I have always felt some vulnerability. I think most women do. That is why we take self-defense classes. That is why we don’t go out by ourselves at night if possible. That is why so many women depend on men to protect them.

So, from what I can surmise, from my husband’s comments, being middle age for men makes them feel like women. Not in a sexual way (at least I don’t think so) but in their feeling of vulnerability to violence. Could the male mid-life crisis be a response to that feeling of vulnerability?

This may at least somewhat explain the tea party, those middle-aged male members and their need for guns, their susceptibility to the fear mongering of certain media, and their general (incorrect) sense that youth crime is rampant.

I don’t know. It is more than I really am up to thinking about this morning.

We had a nice night out.




  1. I appreciate the analysis in the last few paragraphs here–you went a direction with this that is thoughtful and merits further thought.

    As far as “It made me wonder if it is common for middle-aged men to feel vulnerable like this.”–I’d have to holler YES. I know a handful of them, easily.

  2. Yes, I think they are, but the ones I know like to try new things. I’m timid if I don’t do somethings often, but our men friends just get out there and do it. Mine included. Has he had a physical lately? Or, have you discussed this with your son?

    I watched my mother, and G’s mother fade away, The father’s here died before they could fade.

    • He has just always been a risk-averse person. The level of risk that’s acceptable has changed a bit, but I don’t see it as a medical issue. It is something I hadn’t considered, though. Thanks for your thoughts.

  3. Yikes… I don’t really like to try new stuff….and I really have never thought about the reasons why… Your post has me thinking. Glad you had a good night out. Were there any good Bachmann Jokes you are able to print? 🙂

    • Unfortunately, for us, she isn’t funny. We are living with her.

  4. I fwe never tried a new restaurant my husband would be happy as a clam-and he’s only 38!! He likes Fridays and always gets the chicken tenders 😉

    I have been to a lot of cities and if it is any comfort I have never felt any safer than I do in MPLS. Though this east coast girl still checks over her shoulder a lot!

    • Minneapolis is a safe city, and I think St. Paul is even safer. But it is a city, and that is the issue for my husband. He likely will never go to NY voluntarily.

  5. I think men feel as vulnerable as we do but, especially in the case of men our age, they don’t express it — it’s that John Wayne mentality.

    I’m glad you had a nice night out.

  6. I’ve always heard that the traits you have as a young person just get ‘more’ as you get older. It sounds like this is true with your husband.

    My husband hasn’t expressed vulnerability yet. He’s got a physical job, so I think he believes he could take whatever comes his way 🙂 I’ll be curious to see if that changes as he gets older….

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