A couple of female colleagues recently suggested this, and though I defended men, their comments made me wonder.
I know (of) many older men who are essentially misanthropes. A large portion of their day is spent complaining, griping, bitching, kvetching, just generally grumbling about life. Not only have they numerous objections to politicians, federal and state laws, environmentalists, the military, the direction this nation is heading, etc., but also somehow feel compelled to vent their spleens to those around them.
These two women also noted that women typically do not complain as much as men, and that the contrast becomes starker as folks reach their senior years. I too have noticed some of this.
As hard statistical data is probably lacking in this area, what has been your general impression?
Who the hell wants to know? What don’t you people mind your own damn business for once in your life? I am certainly sick and tired of hearing all of these stupid questions just thrown up here on this board as if you nincompoops had nothing better to do than sit around all day and think this stuff up. It never ceases to amaze me how…eh, what was the question again?
Interestingly, the Talmud notes this difference between men and women (not specifically about complaining - just the fact that women don’t lose as much of their “value” when they age).
IMHO, this is because men lose more of their identity when they age, particularly when they retire. A lot of men have built their self-identity around their careers and their money and power (such as they are). As they get older and these fade away (or are about to) this can make them bitter.
Women tend to have their identities more around their relationships with family and freinds, and - in many instances - domestic projects. These tend to be more enduring in old age.
If you were to ask my wife, she would answer Yes. She keeps telling me that I complain and rant too much about stuff. My feeling is that for me, complaining and ranting are ways for me to vent. I do have a tendancy to have problems managing stressand was told that I should not fear voicing my opinions more. So I complain when I trip over the same toy on the floor for the 10th time. I speak my mind to my wife at home when I see idiots at work doing stupid things. It does relieve my stress, but annoys the hell out of my wife.
Well, tough. For me, I either complain and rant about whatever is stressing me out, or I keep it inside and continue to get sick, or possibly go out and kill someone. I think I’ll continue to complain and rant and be crotchity. It’s more healty for me and everyone else.
My mother, who is only 50, is slowly turning into a crazy old man. Whenever we get junk mail from magazines we don’t suscribe to, or credit cards we don’t need, she pulls off our names and address and puts them back in the wrong envelopes, throws in some pennies and tape, and then mails them back to the (wrong) companies just so they have to pay postage on them.
Friday, she was doing this, when she stopped and said, “You know–my Uncle Johnny used to do this all the time when I was younger, and I thought he was a such a crazy, angry old man. Turns it he has a great idea!”
So yes, there are crotchetty old women. Like my mother in another five years.
One reason I have found for men to get crankier as they age is cause they can’t hear you. They need to get hearing aids (or turn up the ones they got), but are too vain/cheap to do so.
Also memory loss seems to be rougher on men than women. A man’s identity seems to be dependent on his rational side. So when he can’t remember something, he gets upset and takes it out on the nearest bystander and therefore has a case of misplaced anger.
He is retired now, and under less pressure (he was a high school band director). Now he arranges music for local amateur groups and has become a sort of lay political watchdog. He calls congress members’ offices regularly, writes letters to the editor, and used to be quite vocal on a local call-in radio program (until the conservative station owners cancelled the show).
He is much easier to talk with, and very funny and kind.
The lawyer I work for, who is under lots of stress trying to meet deadlines and keep way too many clients happy, is very grumpy, and he is only fifty-two. I think he will be less grumpy when he retires.
Yes. Because as we get older we gradually realize the truth about women.
Theory # 2: From a evolutionary point of view, it makes sense that the older members of a species must die to make room for the new members so that the species can advance, but from an individual point of view, especially looking at the new members, this system sucks!
Theory # 3: Everything hurts, and what doesn’t hurt doesn’t work right anymore. A lot of the things I meant to do in my life aren’t going to get done. People are still telling me what I can and cannot do, only now I know that those people aren’t any brighter than I am, and in many cases aren’t very bright at all.
I’m a grumpy old man, and proud of it! (actually, I’ve been grumpy most of my life.)