Lion of the Blogosphere

What are middle-aged men good at? Part 2

Mother Nature intended for middle-aged men to be good at being fathers (to their now older children) and grandfathers.

“Lion o’ the Turambar” (whose pseudonym, I think, is a Tolkien reference) said that “Coaches, boy scout troop leaders, church ushers, Kiwanis, and volunteer mentors are almost always middle aged men.” These are examples of middle-aged men using their paternal skills for the good of the community.

Unfortunately, none of this stuff is very valuable in the corporate world. Nor useful for men who never had children and therefore never developed their paternal skills. And furthermore, Betty Friedan taught us that happiness comes from a self-actualizing career, and not from the parent and grandparent stuff.

* * *

Would you all like Betty Friedan a lot more if you knew that she is accused of being racist, classist, and homophobic?

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

April 5, 2017 at EST am

23 Responses

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  1. Betty Friedan taught us that happiness comes from a self-actualizing career, and not from the parent and grandparent stuff.

    Was Betty Friedan ever happy? I doubt it.

    destructure

    April 5, 2017 at EST am

    • I don’t see why she wouldn’t have been happy. She was a big success, which is what she wanted.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      April 5, 2017 at EST am

      • She was a miserable borderline bitch. Her ex, an angry guy named Carl, wrote a bunch of dirt about her. It’s all on the internet.

        BTW Friedan was a perfect example of how an ugly face on a decent body still means a woman is ugly. She had a nice figure even into her 80s. But she was a dog.

        gothamette

        April 5, 2017 at EST pm

      • Lion

        Women don’t know what they want.

        This is game 101.

        everybodyhatesscott

        April 5, 2017 at EST pm

  2. “Would you all like Betty Friedan a lot more if you knew that she is accused of being racist, classist, and homophobic?”

    She was all those things. Eh.

    I’d like her a lot more if she had admitted that she was aiming her book at upper middle class white women who were genuinely bored out of their gourds being housewives. Finding some outlet for them could’ve solved a lot of problems, in that their daughters would’ve had a more positive view of their mothers’ lives, and of marriage and motherhood in general. Don’t ever underestimate the problems that smart, highly verbal people can cause.

    But then, that would’ve meant admitting that different people are different, and that the women you most want having lots of children won’t do so if it means working 80+ per week as a housewife for the next few decades.

    Jesse

    April 5, 2017 at EST am

  3. Has it ever occurred to you that maybe people, especially the high achieving ones, find the career side of things more fulfilling than family life? Not everything people feel is because they’ve been told to feel it. Sometimes people genuinely believe things you find repugnant.

    Jesse

    April 5, 2017 at EST am

  4. Mother Nature intended for middle-aged men to be good at being fathers

    Sounds reasonable, but wasn’t the case in my family and several others that I’m familiar with. As my father approached middle-aged, at age 42, my father divorced my Mom after 18 years of marriage leaving her with three pre-teenage kids, and moved 3000 miles away. He faithfully paid his minimal court-ordered child support and attended our high school graduations, but remained distant – both in location and emotionally. He basically decided he didn’t want to be married anymore or be a full-time, in-residence father. It’s now almost 40 years later; he’s in his 80s; and it still bothers me.

    Several of my childhood friends went through a similar experience.

    Smartest Woman on the Internet

    April 5, 2017 at EST am

    • Truly sorry to hear about that, SWotI. I think Lion’s comments were more general. Middle aged men are supposed to be the law enforcement of society. Since our society is officially lawless and anarchic, middle-aged men are kind of superfluous.

      The answer is to get the fuck out of this horrible society and cultivate your own garden.

      But not to desert your kids.

      gothamette

      April 5, 2017 at EST pm

    • That kind of stuff is easier to deal with as you approach 40 and realize that your father (who was a god to a child) was just an ordinary man who probably couldn’t stand that he was middle aged and his dreams didn’t come true, having sex with the same woman, and having to deal with goddamn kids.

      Doesn’t excuse such behavior, but as one approaches that age it become eminently understandable.

      fakeemail

      April 5, 2017 at EST pm

      • Lots of people have boring fathers who they do not want to spend more than a few minutes a day with. Some of those fathers realize that. It is no easy thing to realize that you are such a fuck-up that your own kids would really really not want to sit next to you in a pair of airline seats for more than half an hour, but lots of people (not me, for the record) are faced with that reality. The solution is humility , forgiveness, tolerance – Christian humility, forgiveness, tolerance, all work, but non-Christian humility, forgiveness. and tolerance also almost all work, and that is no small thing. Very few people – even mediocre aging parents who will never again have the opportunity to be adored even a little by their children, or even just be a little important to their children – would pass up, out of a false sense of pride, the chance to be completely forgiven if it took no effort on their part. Good for them, God wants us to be happy, and if the only way we can learn to love God is through undeserved happiness, I for one am willing to spend a great deal of effort on providing undeserved happiness to the old losers of the world. They have been through a lot, whether it is their fault or not is kind of academic, Not that children can’t take advantage of their relative advantages in life too. I hope this makes sense, because I mean it. It is actually kind of funny how quickly people will take advantage of whatever positive emotions come their way, whether they deserve those positive emotions or not. To shift gears for a moment, sadly, I once lost a girlfriend because a friend of mine told her about my (economically accurate) theory that one could make a lot of money coaching men into thinking overweight women could be much more attractive than generally thought. Sure the girlfriend I lost was overweight – and I am not reluctant to say it – but I loved her, she was easy to look at as long as you knew how to look at her, and I wish that specific girlfriend had not left me. For her sake almost more than mine, but that is what love is all about. How about that.

        howitzer daniel

        April 6, 2017 at EST am

    • > He basically decided he didn’t want to be married anymore or be a full-time, in-residence father. It’s now almost 40 years later; he’s in his 80s; and it still bothers me.

      What role did your mother play in this?

      ScarletNumber

      April 9, 2017 at EST am

  5. Coaches and scout leaders usually are fathers of kids participating in those activities and hence somewhat younger than middle age in most cases.

    Peter

    ironrailsironweights

    April 5, 2017 at EST pm

    • Thats how they get into it. But they keep volunteering long after their kids are out.
      Almost all of the guys who made my sons scout troop work no long have kids in it- including some guys who show up at 7am on every build project to make sure kids Eagle project get accomplished. Same thing with youth baseball.

      And you can throw in the mix Habitat for Humanity. The sign up genius and coffee are done women. 80% of the actual work is middle aged men.

      Lion o' the Turambar

      April 5, 2017 at EST pm

    • Unless they are like me and had their first kid at age 39 (and I’m not the oldest dad in my Boston suburb…)

      jimbo

      April 5, 2017 at EST pm

  6. Middle-aged men used to provide a valuable service in the workplace by mentoring junior employees, “showing them the ropes,” bringing their experience to bear, and teaching them how to be better, more efficient workers. But this practice mostly died out with the Boomers, because the Boomers don’t feel comfortable in the role of mentor. The overwhelming majority of Boomers, even the ones in their early 70’s, always seem themselves as college juniors.

    Some of the successful, self-made Boomers have a more mature and paternal perspective and don’t mind mentoring others (Trump is one those rare Boomers, even though he’s not entirely self-made) but even Boomer captains of industry tend to be shitty leaders because mentoring makes them uncomfortable. It requires them to place themselves in a mature, paternal role and Boomers just don’t do that, man. Picture Steve Jobs, Howard Schultz, guys like that — they act like overgrown hard-charging 20-somethings, not like grandfatherly wise men.

    Our institutions are going to feel the effects of the Boomers’ lack of mentoring and leadership very, very soon once they finally start to retire and/or shuffle off the mortal coil. They haven’t been mentoring or training their replacements and lots of folks who step into the Boomers’ shoes are going to make a lot of preventable mistakes and learn by trial and error, in the absence of guidance.

    One partially mitigating factor is that the marketplace still recognizes the value of maturity and experience. No Fortune 500 company would ever hire a new law school graduate to try an important case, even if the young lawyer graduated #1 from Yale Law and clerked for a Supreme Court justice. Everyone knows that it takes time for a bright person to mature into a good lawyer. Wunderkind CEO’s are rare for the same reason.

    But mentoring is something that has value, and it is something that middle-aged men do very well. The fact that we haven’t seen much mentoring in the workplace over the past 20-30 years is unusual, and can be attributed to the neglect and narcissism of Boomers.

    Joe Schmoe

    April 5, 2017 at EST pm

    • Mentoring is over. Why give away your hard earned knowledge to someone younger than you?

      Especially in a climate where companies have exactly ZERO loyalties to long-time employees and their sweat and work that actually creates the profits. Employers make CLEAR they would send workers packing in a heartbeat if they can lower their labor costs a nickel.

      Used to be a time when companies laid people off because of lean times. Now people are laid off because of fat times! Lion’s value transference at play, yet again.

      fakeemail

      April 5, 2017 at EST pm

      • “Employers make CLEAR they would send workers packing in a heartbeat if they can lower their labor costs a nickel.”

        Yes, that’s true.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        April 5, 2017 at EST pm

    • Exactly what I was going to post.

      Kaz

      April 5, 2017 at EST pm

  7. Bipolar disorder (most bipolars call it depression because bipolar has bad rep) correlates with high IQ, creativity, and sexually deviant behavior. So, all this is not surprising.

    My Two Cents

    April 5, 2017 at EST pm

  8. America is a difficult place to find self-actualization.

    Everybody seems to be a money maggot on steroids.

    JS

    April 5, 2017 at EST pm

  9. Lion – i think you’re dead wrong on this, because you don’t have kids and aren’t a “normal” middle class male. Neither meant as insults, just facts.

    The “average” middle class man derives FAR more happiness from doing dad-like stuff with his kids than work would ever supply. He can play-act at being a leader of men, of sports-like-war, training a new generation, watching his son do better than he did etc – all great, deep, profound joys.

    Arguably many dads enjoy this more than the kids.

    I’m not sure people with more “fulfilling jobs” necessarily enjoy this more – betty friedan was an “activist” aka professional complainer. I’m sure that is more interesting than housework, but low bar. Only the most aggressive leadership roles in business can match the control of running your own little squadron (sports team etc).

    sam rock

    April 5, 2017 at EST pm

    • “Lion – i think you’re dead wrong on this”

      You mean Betty Friedan is dead wrong on this. I’m just being the messenger. Sometimes you people take me too literally.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      April 5, 2017 at EST pm

      • Right, some people lack good reading comprehension skills; probably a Millennial graduate of a diverse public school Excellent posts on middle-aged men. Hope to see more on this subject and, perhaps, on middle-aged women. For example, I think I’ve read somewhere that most divorces are initiated by women approaching middle-aged – Eat, Pray, Love!

        E. Rekshun

        April 6, 2017 at EST pm


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