Fit fiftysomethings: why the hot new sex symbols are moreish middle-aged men

Name: Fit fiftysomethings.

Age: 50-59.

Appearance: Male, attractive.

Are you trying to illustrate some sort of paradox? Not at all. Fiftysomething men are the sex symbols of the moment.

Have you met my dad? No, I haven’t.

I didn’t think so. Why, what’s wrong with your dad?

Nothing in particular. He’s just middle-aged, tired, boring and very much not of the moment.

That’s the whole point. According to a recent Telegraph article, in these uncertain times, women are attracted to men who represent “all things dependable, life-enhancing and trouble-free”.

And old? I don’t set the trends, I just amplify them.

Can you name me a single example of a fiftysomething man who embodies this ideal? Paul Rudd. He’s 52, you know.

Paul Rudd is not an everyman. Paul Rudd is an exceptionally good-looking and eerily well-preserved actor with superhero abs. And he was just voted sexiest man alive by People magazine.

If anything, that disqualifies him further. He doesn’t count. Name another. How about Barack Obama?

Wait, didn’t he turn 60 in August? Yes, all right. How about Will Smith, David Morrissey and Gareth Southgate?

So you’re talking about the sort of man who would never leave his wife. Exactly!

And then dreaming he leaves his wife for you. Not necessarily. She could leave him!

Actually, I’m beginning to see where you’re heading with this particular template. You’ve got it: kind, grown up, a little goofy – but still with a certain innate dignity – and sexy in a not-too-sexy way.

You’re trying to perpetuate the outdated Hollywood myth that men retain their attractiveness well into middle age, while women don’t. Honestly, this isn’t about Cary Grant and George Clooney. It’s about the ordinary, middle-aged family guy and his powerful, newfound allure.

I have a picture of my dad in cycling shorts that will change your mind about all this stuff. This is supposed to be an encouraging trend – it’s about prizing steadiness and affability over fleeting, temperamental passion. It’s about celebrating adulthood.

What about model railways? Are model railways involved? The trains are optional, but very much on the table.

Do say: “When I suggested we retire early, I was actually talking about taking early retirement, but if I can find my pills we can do the other thing, too.”

Don’t say: “But enough about my routine colonoscopy. How was your day, darling?”


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