We, men of middle and above middle age, need not fear to become old fashioned and outdated. There is hope. Provided we keep calm and cool. Yes, cool. I'm convinced it is possible, since I saw two great examples of guys who do not brush their age away, but handle it with dignity. Granted, it takes self-knowledge to admit that the days of seeming eternal youth are over, but when you are passed that stadium, it is just a matter of mirroring yourself to the men I'll tell you about. If that will ever be possible of course.
Madonna, Prince, and the late Michael Jackson. Superstars everybody knows, and I have something in common with them. Age. When you think of it, it is a bit strange that those once omnipresent names are still known today. I can't say still around, since the King of Pop is no longer with us, and the Artist Formerly Known as Prince is... yes, where is he actually? Those two men are not the examples I will present you, because Mr. Jackson can hardly be regarded as someone who accepted his progressing age of course. And Prince? The last time I saw him on TV he looked – and sounded – grotesque. Still a cartoon of an oversexed and undersized star who surrounds himself with long-legged women. That leaves me with Madonna here, but hey, let's face – if there is one species on this globe who frantically tries to deny age, it is women. Face-lift, botox, you name it, the strategies to stay visually young are extensive, decorated with the accessories from Gaultier and LaCroix. But enough about this trio.
“There should be a law against nude old people,” I confessed during the most recent sauna visit with cousin Pieter, complaining about the age of half of the maybe ten visitors there that morning. “And how will you deal with that then?” the almost 30 year old asked me. “In a few years of course,” he added. There it was. No supportive comment, that would separate me from the elderly, like I would have heard just a few years ago. But what to do? I will certainly not make a mockery of myself like so many older Dutch men do, by dressing up in shorts with legs under the knee, like their sons do, in a desperate attempt to be one of the boys. Or wearing a cap the wrong side, hoping that people will hold them for a 20 year old. And certainly no sagging jeans – believe me, I've seen 45+ guys walking around in that. What are they thinking?
Tom Jones performs at the Diamond Jubilee concert, June 2012.
I have to thank Queen Elizabeth for my hope for the future. This 86 year old, who expresses a style completely of her own herself, had to endure a rock concert in her garden as part of the diamond jubilee celebrations. The parade of singers of today and yesteryear was quite enjoyable, I have to admit. But one person was the star. There he came walking up the stage, with a great presence and charisma, looking good, grey haired and bearded, and still with a magnificent voice. At 72 years, Tom Jones ruled the stage and the audience. A grandfather, who just 20 years ago still sang about being a sex bomb, shaking his hips like Elvis in his prime years. A man who had more ladies undergarments thrown at him then any other singer you can think of. What we saw now was a quiet, but sovereign looking artist, dressed in a great stylish suit. For me, this man was the highlight of the evening. And he showed how an aging artist should perform. Sir Cliff Richard made a fool of himself acting like he was still 30, his voice still fine, I admit, but the old face under the dyed hair and the spastic movements were nothing more than a pathetic display. And let's not talk about Sir Paul McCartney. Charisma for sure, but oh, when did his voice leave him?
George Clooney and his Riva Aquarama on Lake Come - a Vogue photo.
It would take it a bit too far to regard Mr. Jones as a role model, but I applaud people who wear their age with style and dignity. As it happened, I realized that there is someone else who does this with great superiority too. Someone who actually could still present himself being younger than he is, and nobody would take offense.
Just last week I was looking for a nice photo of a Riva Aquarama to pin on my Pinterest page. A Riva is the ultimate motor boat, and the classic wooden Aquarama is the one to have. If you are so lucky to own an Aquarama, preferably to go boating on Lake Como, you do not have to prove or pretend anything anymore. As doesn't George Clooney. A brilliant actor and a fine director, who's only problem is his questionable taste in coffee, being the face of Nespresso commercials here in Europe. But Mr. Clooney owns an Aquarama, and my search came up with a recent photo of Mr. Clooney posing in his boat. Surprisingly, George Clooney does not try to look young at all, actually his grey hair makes him look older than his 51 year should portray. But what does George Clooney care? For many women he is still the ultimate sex symbol, and he owns a Riva on Lake Como on top of that.
What does this mean for me? Well, nothing much probably. In any case, I will not try to look younger than I am. And tonight I will order a nice classic Nautica polo from freshpolos.com, the first clothing item I will ever have ordered on the internet. That's my style. Maybe people will think I have the Riva to go with it?