Belfast Telegraph

Friday 29 August 2014

I'm a silver fox, but sadly no one is chasing me ...

Despite the evidence of my picture byline, middle-aged men can be sexy. Well, maybe sexy isn't the word. They may display grace or style. I'm really not being self-effacing when I say I score zero out of two there as well. I'm truly gormless, someone ill at ease in his own body and with a face like an irradiated tomato.

But, hey, I can live with that. As long as I never go out. Other middle-aged men can go out, though, and even get admiring looks.

I'm talking about Clooney obviously, but also yon Barack Obama, Mad Men star Jon Hamm, footer manager Jose Mourinho, musician Paul Weller, and even that galoot in a suit, Prince Charles.

All of these have featured on a blog that has gone viral, with over 50,000 visitors. The site, greyfoxblog.com, provides men - members of the controversial gender that starts wars and finds raspberry noises from the body funny - with a guide to growing older gracefully.

As part of this humanitarian project, the blog showcases blokes who are handling matters well, though it also features Jeremy Paxman, the anti-Scottish broadcaster with the unfeasibly bandy legs. The founder - of the blog, not of Paxman's bandy legs - is David Evans (57) a solicitor-turned-teacher who struggled with his own image for years.

He told a Sunday magazine: "I reached that age where I was constantly wondering what I could wear.

"Fashionable menswear seems to be geared towards a younger crowd."

Ain't that the truth?

It's difficult to know where middle-aged men should go for clothes.

Marksies is rubbish, and messed up by trying to strike an unhappy compromise between young and old. It redefined classic to mean dead, instead of building on it and paying attention to stalwart design. The shoulders on Marksies' men's clothes sag like soggy socks.

Places like Next and River Island, meanwhile, don't even make an effort for the mature.

You see chaps in these stores, looking bewildered and faintly embarrassed, as if they were in a VD clinic.

Even if you find trousers that might be acceptable, at least in the privacy of your own home, you try them on and the words "Las Vegas" light up in neon down the side as soon as you pull up the zip. Either that or your private parts are actually higher than the waistband.

If clothes are problematic, the head is a definite grey area. Grey hair ages you instantly, though it can look good, and is obviously superior to baldness, which has connotations of immorality and hormonal dubiety.

Also, there are Fifty Shades of Grey Hair. You can sometimes coax it into a sort of silver - try leaving mashed banana in your hair for three hours - or can just be happy with salt and pepper, which some folk find quite fetching.

The real secret of growing middle-aged gracefully is probably not to vex yourself about it. I saw pictures of that Sting looking great at 60. But his secrets seemed to be yoga and a macrobiotic diet, the very thought of which sapped my soul.

So let's just go with the flow and see where we end up. Ah, is that a puddle I see before me?

PS I was only joking about the mashed banana. It's greengages you need for grey hair.

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