Belfast Telegraph

Gerry Anderson: The 10 things a middle-aged man should never do (er, like wearing jeans Gerry...)

We look back at some of the late Gerry Anderson's wit and wisdom during his time as a Belfast Telegraph columnist

As you read this, men and women all over Northern Ireland may have already done things that would normally result in their immediate arrest.

Throughout our beleaguered province men dressed as women are having their heads shaved for money as a prelude to donning blonde wigs and badgering innocent people in the street.

Men and women dressed as pupils of St Trinian's are no doubt abseiling down the front of the Europa Hotel and normally taciturn firemen are probably being fired through cannons.

Students have fled their studies in order to hinder traffic and girls who work in brassiere factories have spent the morning combing their place of work for the sole male employee, finally finding him cowering in some disused liftshaft trembling at the prospect of being stripped naked and carried head-high through the city centre.

What is the cause of this madness? Is it an orgy of lawlessness brought about by the prospect of the fall of the Assembly? Society breaking down under the strain of a Christmas that started the day after Halloween? None of these things. It's called Children In Need Day.

On a day such as this, ordinary sane folk will go to great lengths to be seen on television. I am no exception. Pushing back the frontiers of terrestrial broadcasting, I intend to be the first man to persuade a live ferret to spin a Rickety Wheel on live TV. Don't ask.

Children In Need Day is for the children. It's also for the big people. I am constantly amazed at the number of middle-aged men who can so easily cast off all their inhibitions for a 24-hour period. And so they should. Middle-aged men deserve all the fun they can find because they know that the clock is ticking faster.

Not many people realise that when a man reaches the age of 50 he becomes invisible. Think about it. Up until roughly the mid-40s, a man can still catch the eye of the girl who works behind the meat counter in his local supermarket. Nothing serious. She just ... well ... notices him. When that same man hits 50, a strange thing happens. She won't see him anymore.

It's nothing personal and it's not down to anything he's done to offend the lady in question. It's just nature at work. She just no longer sees him as a potential mate. He has crossed the line. Even though he is still physically visible he has actually disappeared. Because he is finally too old ...

Sadly, many men are unaware that nature has done this to them and continue to behave the way they always have done. As if nothing has happened. This is a mistake.

This is why I have decided to compile Anderson's list of 10 things that a middle-aged man should never do.

1 Do Not Wear Jeans: When a man reaches 50, his bum will automatically disappear. Nobody knows where it goes. It happens practically overnight. Wearing jeans will only serve to exaggerate the complete absence of a bum. Some men reach the desperate stage where they think that the wearing of jeans is ok if they're ironed. No good. No man looks good wearing Levi's with a sharp crease. People will laugh at you behind your back.

2 Do Not Dye Your Hair: You're fooling nobody. It's the same as wearing a wig. People will laugh at you behind your back.

3 Avoid Ultraviolet Lighting: Middle-aged men often foolishly go to discos or clubs unaware that ultraviolet lighting makes false or capped teeth glow in the semi-gloom. When you smile you will look like something out of Jaws. Everyone will notice this except you.

Also, dandruff on shoulders will shine like sparkling diamonds. People will laugh at you behind your back.

4 Do Not Wear an Open-Necked Shirt: Especially a white one. People will think you have a disease on your neck.

5 Do Not Dance. Ever: Middle-aged men invariably dance the way they have always done. Younger girls may not therefore be necessarily impressed by the twist, the frug, the mashed potato, or the chicken dance Cliff Richard once did that made Phil Coulter lose the Eurovision Song Contest after he had gone to all the bother of writing Congratulations.

6 Don't Try To Make Younger Women Laugh: A middle-aged man thinks that a younger woman will fancy him if he makes her laugh. This is false. Younger women will fancy a man who makes her laugh providing he's in his 20s.

7 Don't Complain That The Music Is Too Loud:Music doesn't get louder as you get older. It just seems to. People will laugh at you behind your back.

8 Never Say That You Prefer Westlife to the Spice Girls:They won't be able to figure out why you should care.

9 Don't Tell Girls That You Know Famous People: Unless you are a famous person yourself, they won't believe you.

10 Don't Pretend To Be Younger Than You Are: They will look at the backs of your hands.

I hope these gentle suggestions have been of some use to both men and women. Give generously to Children In Need. It's later than you think.

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