Just like a middle-aged woman would prefer you didn't suggest she was "acting menopausal" when she decides to make a citizen's arrest of the driver who just stole her parking spot, middle-aged men also have a bunch of things they'd prefer not to hear ever again. Here are some of our favorites:
"Did you really just get a red Corvette?"
Red Corvettes have become synonymous with the male mid-life crisis. Certain milestone birthdays trigger a response where men question their purpose and direction in life. In some cases, it would seem that the part of the brain that controls fear of aging runs amok and men regress to their teenage years. Chevrolet has long been aware of this syndrome and has capitalized on it quite nicely. According to market research firm Strategic Vision, the average Corvette buyer is 59 years old. Men who drive red Corvettes claim they are simply having a "me" moment after bringing home the bacon for several decades.
"Have you had your prostate checked?"
Lordie, lordie, lordie. Is this one ever a conversation stopper! Other than skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer in American men; six cases in 10 will be in men age 65 or older. The American Cancer Society expects more than 230,000 new cases to be diagnosed this year. Now why exactly don't men jump at the reminder to have their prostate checked? Something to do with a gloved finger up the rectum ...
"Did you really just say 'brah'?"
Brah is the slang term for "bro" which is slang for brother. It is widely used among surfers in Hawaii, a demographic to which there is a good chance a middle-aged man does not belong. One of the symptoms of a guy who is fighting the gravitational pull of aging is that he sometimes tries to act (see red Corvette point) or sound younger. Sounding younger is less expensive but often results in the same degree of ridiculousness.
"Did you take out the garbage?"
This is a question generally asked by spouses or life partners. The asker already knows the answer so technically it isn't really even a question but is more of a nagging reminder. Middle-aged men prefer not to hear nagging reminders. Other questions in this category include: "Did you change the oil in my car?" and "Did you change the burned-out lightbulb in the kitchen?" Come to think of it, most middle-aged women also disdain nagging reminders. Maybe we can all just set our smartphones to remind us of things and stop nagging one another.
"Is that your daughter?"
OK, maybe this will flatter him on some level if it turns out that the babe on his arm is not actually his offspring. But that would be foolish now, wouldn't it? Romantic relationships between two people with a considerable age difference are generally suspect. The term May-December romance comes from the idea that one person is young and in the "spring" of her life (May) while the other is in the winter (December) of his life. And we all know what happens to vegetation in winter. Yep, it croaks.
"Is that your mother?"
This one flatters no one if the person being talked about is his wife. We were never sure how Barbara Bush handled looking much older than George The First, but we don't think it's something that people swallow easily. Our advice is if you don't know the relationship, wait until introductions are made.
"Did you have work done?"
While women may be downright eager to show off the results, men, as a rule generally aren't. It may be because it remains fairly uncommon for men to have plastic surgery. Of the more than 10.3 million cosmetic procedures performed in 2013, 90.6 percent were done on women. Men had more than 1 million cosmetic procedures, just 9.4% of the total -- although this was a 273 percent increase in the number of cosmetic procedures for men from 1997, according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. The top five surgical procedures for men were: liposuction, eyelid surgery, nose surgery, male breast reduction and ear surgery.