Women: Don’t write off the BOFs

Published 10:00 pm Thursday, January 7, 2016

Talk about throwing down the gauntlet!

In the past week, actress Kirstie Alley, 64, has turned up on quite a few television shows as she flaunts her 50 pound weight loss, and Madonna, 56, photographed wearing something that might have been a sling shot, have both released grumpy statements regarding middle aged men.

“Don’t be so freaking boring!” laments Alley, “Don’t have the life sucked out of you.” She went on to explain she didn’t really want to be a cougar and stalk boy toys, but the fuddy-duddies left little choice: “All it does is leave women to date young men and be really embarrassed, because we are dating guys in tank tops,” Alley continued. “I want some men around my age that aren’t boring, and act like they are tired.”

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Madonna, being far more succinct, said men her own age were simply “undateable,” as they are too set in their ways and not as “adventurous.”

But Stevie Nicks topped everyone when she said she avoided men her age, or older, because, “What if I fall in love with someone and they die?” Well, Stevie, honey, everybody dies at some point. And trust me, there’s an awful lot of marriages out there where I’m willing to bet at least one spouse is grimly musing, “Will he never die?”

Now, I’m not going to knock out a list of incredibly active, middle-aged men (not yet convicted for steroid use) that are adventurous and reckless to prove these other women wrong. I am going to, instead, champion boring old farts (or BOFs).

Because, girls, it’s easy for you to be full of vim and vigor and ready to go parasailing. You’re both insanely wealthy – particularly Madonna. You worked very hard for it and you deserve your respective portfolios, but not everyone has a private chef and trainer and a masseuse on 24-hour call, to relieve any twinge or stress you’ve stored up in your shoulders.

My Paul was comfortably morphing into a BOF up until about age 54 when he couldn’t fit into any of his 34 inch waistbands and took up running.

I haven’t seen him since.

He appears happy, when I pass him in my truck, doggedly training for his next triathlon on the side of the road. He has running shoes that cost more than my entire wardrobe, but I suppose, if this is indeed a mid-life crisis, I’m relieved the shoes aren’t blonde with big boobs. I think, for him, he was fighting the potential of turning into a blob, stuck in a routine.

But the thing is, he’s still in a routine, just a different routine. This one, however, makes him sweat a lot, wrap his ankle in ice from time to time and periodically disappear out of state to return with a medal, like a Labrador triumphantly paddling back to shore with a stick, accompanied by a black eye after a particularly keen contestant elbowed him in the face during the swimming part. I tell him he could be just as fit if he’d get up and clean the horses’ stalls every morning, so that I could lie in, but that was firmly rejected.

I’ll admit that as a fit person, I’m glad my partner is also fit because if we’re ever chased by an axe murderer, or a school kid selling gift wrap, it’s important to be able to run, or at least scramble, to hide beneath a bed without your wheezing giving you away. And for sure Madonna and Kirstie would be more attracted to this Paul, with his energy and activity level, than the “It’s almost time for Jeopardy, let me get my pen and writing pad,” Paul, that I had gotten used to and understood, as opposed to this lithe man who tosses out things like, ‘cushioning,’ ‘anaerobic threshold,’ and ‘bonk,’ (not what you might think) when I ask him, out of polite interest, how his run went.

But fair is fair. For years, Paul’s eyes used to glaze, like a cat’s third eyelid descending, within two minutes after hearing (whether he asked or not) how my ride went. “He was much better off my left leg, today,” I’d relay, diving into the fridge to create a sandwich of Dagwood Bumstead proportions. “He’s really loading far more evenly behind and much straighter and over his back.”

If he decides to return to the land of BOFs, I’ll happily receive him. There’s nothing wrong, is there, having Cape Cod cracked pepper potato chips and beer every Saturday night as you sit down to watch all the favorite shows you’ve recorded during the week? Or insisting your morning coffee doesn’t taste the same unless it’s in that old, chipped mug, or ordering the exact same thing off the lunch menu at Dimitri’s for the past five years? In a world that keeps changing every five minutes, I find all that old routine quite comforting.

Go ahead, Stevie, give it a shot. Madonna, Kirstie, don’t write off the BOFs. And here’s the best part: as you continue to age and sag and are no longer relevant, your BOF won’t even notice. He’ll be watching The New Yankee Workshop and chuckling softy along with Norm as he pats your hand.

Kinda nice, huh?