The flip side of being an aging single woman, with all its hand-wringing and mirror-hating, is being an aging single man. Yes, many let themselves go and surrender to pleated pants and the oft-accompanying paunch. And some enter a sort of Peter Pan limbo, where they continue to age yet refuse to grow up. Some men are only emotionally single, preferring to stay in loveless marriages for fear of becoming one more elderly bachelor who washes his socks in the sink and eats frozen dinners. But the men who manage to hold onto their looks — and that elusive vibrance — can live the life of Riley. Or Dorian Grey. Witness Hugh Hefner, the ever-shining example of a man who continues to get the hot young babes even into his final days. If he actually has final days.
In this instance, as in so many others, men seem to be the luckier gender. While a single woman may face her twilight years by becoming a cliché — collecting cats, wearing caftans, generally sliding into “kookiness” or merely becoming invisible — a man may face his mortality by deciding to have children. I’ve communicated with more than one 50-something man who mentions in his profile a desire to start a family. Whatever your opinion on May-December relationships, you can’t change the fact that time marches on, regardless of one’s perception of — or distance from — death. I mean, it is a process. First the guy needs to meet a woman. They need to conduct some sort of courtship, however brief it may be. Then they get married. Or just pregnant. By now he’s at least a year older. Which means that he’ll be 69 years old when his first child (or first of his second set) graduates from high school. And that’s the most optimistic scenario.
If a woman wakes up one day and suddenly remembers to reproduce, it may be too late; she can only get pregnant while still fertile (modern day medical miracles notwithstanding). But men can impregnate at almost any age. So. There’s yet another segment of the single male population that is out of play: over-the-hill dudes who just realized they want to be daddies.