12/20/2013 01:03 pm ET Updated Feb 19, 2014

Boomer Guys and Aging Well

Poor Rupert

I contributed to a recent article in the Sunday New York Times, Styles section. The topic was men and aging, and featured Rupert Murdoch who is single again. (Lock up your daughters.) The Huffington Post had already reported that poor Rupert can't decide about a hair color, but he eschews gray because it makes him look old. Really Rupert, it's your gray hair that makes you look old?

The Donald

Older guys dying their hair to look younger don't, but they sure do look silly. Donald Trump takes it a step further. He dyes his comb-over and whatever else it is that he sports that looks like he's wearing a small, blonde animal on his head. He and Rupert are a cartoonist's dream.

What's most obvious in terms of hiding the reality of aging is nearly always the least effective. The younger an older guy tries to look by dying his hair, sporting a comb over or toupee, or wearing young guys' clothing, the more he looks like an old guy trying too hard. Their frenetic energy lacks any sense of grace.

The Key To Aging Well

What's far more effective than tricks or gimmicks to appear younger is getting into shape. A bald man who's in shape is automatically appealing in a masculine way. Sean Connery has been voted the handsomest man in the world several times, and he's bald and gray, but in shape, as are Jason Statham, Bruce Willis, Vin Diesel, and millions of everyday boomer guys who work out regularly at the local gym. Being in shape and looking younger isn't a secret, so it begs the question why there are so many out of shape older guys.

A Belly Flop

Comments from women reflect a nearly universal distaste for men sporting big bellies held up by skinny legs, and while every man hopes a woman will look deeper than his outward appearance, her desire to do so increases if he's in shape. It's hard to look deeper when the physical is a turnoff. Of course the same, standard applies to women.

A man needn't limit his appeal to women. All that's required is a commitment to your health. Sex appeal, looking and feeling youthful, and good self-esteem makes it worth the effort. Giving away your old jeans after getting in shape is satisfying.

After The Physical

The emotional component of aging follows the physical, in terms of what women find attractive. Most women appreciate a boomer guy who's done some amount of inner work, and many will assume he's developed some amount of problem resolution skills.

A simple question from a woman can be telling. "How are you feeling about me?" goes unanswered when a man answers what he's thinking about her instead. A man who has never considered his emotional health worth exploring drops to the bottom of many boomer women's lists. Sure, a guy's looks matter, but they aren't more important than his emotional availability.

You Can't Think Your Way

Every boomer woman knows you can't think your way through a relationship. You have to feel your way through it. While you may initially appeal to a woman because you're charming or handsome, the conversation will eventually come around to your ability to express your feelings effectively. If you can't, what's in it for you to develop an emotional vocabulary? Probably the most important reason is that you'll never get what you want or need from a woman in a relationship unless you can express your wants and needs in terms of your feelings. Not true? Ask a woman friend.

Finding Your Way

Since I've been involved with men's groups for decades I appreciate the value associated with men sharing their issues with each other in a confidential setting. Listening to how other men worked through similar experiences to yours without advice or judgment is insightful and helpful.

And equally important, you'll no longer be a loner, which isn't a type most women prefer since your lone wolf status automatically makes her your entire universe. That's an onerous burden for a woman, since it suggests you don't have a life of your own, which isn't conducive to a healthy relationship.

Getting Older Really Isn't For Wimps

Dealing with the realities of aging for men isn't the sweetest part of getting older, but it shouldn't be ignored because it isn't. It's never too late to get in shape, physically and emotionally. And it isn't entirely about attracting women either. It's feeling good about yourself because you're not willing to get old without a fight. Aging gracefully requires effort, but the results are clearly better than just letting go. The clock is ticking. Do you hear it?