You know you're becoming an old bloke when...

Tucked in, hitched up - now for the sports car

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High pants, stiff shirt, hat on ... and dreaming of the sports car. Photo: Shutterstock

High pants, stiff shirt, hat on ... and dreaming of the sports car. Photo: Shutterstock


Hey Harry high pants with the wide-brimmed hat - let it all hang out!


Age sneaks up on us all and before we know it, we aren't as lithe and active as we once were. But where exactly is that line between wisdom and youth?

Maybe it's not all measured by what you can do and medical statistics. Perhaps age is even more than just a count of candles on the birthday cake.

Age also shows through in the way we act. Elderly gents in society seem to act in certain ways that tell their age. If someone in their twenties or thirties did these things, we would think it odd. But why do the older blokes among us behave this way?

A well tucked-in shirt is a sure sign of ageing. Elderly gentlemen are so well tucked up that their shirts could quite possibly be sewn into their underwear.

It defies logic because anyone who is in their seventies today spent their youth during the free love, free thinking, and hippie movements of the 1960s and '70s. When did the catchphrase "let it all hang out" turn into "tuck it all in"?

Part of the desire to remain well tucked-in also means that today's seniors have lost their desire to "hang loose" - and that means belts become tighter and waistlines rise. If the belt is well above your hips, chances are you're getting old.

Despite the apparent discomfort of being well and truly fastened up, the one garment where comfort and practicality reigns supreme is the hat. I'm sure the entire wide-brimmed hat industry survives solely due to the purchases of seniors.

If it weren't for suburban septuagenarians, Akubra might disappear, and our farmers would have to resort to wearing imported baseball caps.

New wheels

So, what does the elderly gentleman do once he is decked out in his crisp, tucked-in shirt, high belt and wide-brimmed hat?

He buys himself a sports car of course. Or if he doesn't buy one, he certainly thinks about it.

There's a generational urge to get a sporty set of wheels that strikes most men some time between the ages of 55 and 65. It may be a last-gasp try for masculinity or coolness at a time when their transport no longer needs more than two seats and before the ability for speed passes them by like a Tesla at the traffic lights.

Or perhaps because those cars are so tight and cramped, guys know it won't be long before they can't crouch to ground level to get in or out of one.

Imagine pulling up next to a hot sports car in a parking lot. The door opens, followed by a pair of sandals, a wrinkly leg, and the sound "oaaarrrgghhh" as its senior driver creaks his way out the door and into an upright position. The cool evaporates very quickly.

That "oaaarrrgghhh" sound seems to be mandatory for everyone over 70. It's like someone hands out a rule book along with the home prostate cancer tests.

I'm sure chapter one says that every time you stretch any part of your body you must exhale loudly. The more experienced also exhale with profanities thrown into the noise, but that must take years of practice.

Profanities don't seem to be a problem. Seniors have wholeheartedly adopted society's increased tolerance for swearing. But there is quite a bit of resistance to the introduction of new words and names.

Our prime minister's first name might get replaced by the name of a kid called Morrison you went to primary school with. Or the leader of the opposition, Mr Albanese, might be recalled as a pasta dish like fettucine or another Italian phrase.

The possibilities are endless, and if you listen closely, they are hilariously entertaining.

And the music...

As our elderly Aussies creak, groan and curse their way out of their sports cars, they inevitably shuffle their way into a local watering hole like the RSL club.

The last time I was in one of these places a group of seniors was seated around an equally senior band playing old-time tunes. But what I could never work out is why the old-time tunes are so old time.

It's a Long Way to Tipperary was popular in World War I. Very few people live that long, and if they do, they are probably not going out to the RSL.

These people should be listening to the music from their day. Why can't I hear the howling guitars of Led Zeppelin or the Rolling Stones blasting from every doorway at these establishments?

These unwritten rules of old age don't need to last. We don't need to follow the behaviours and stereotypes of past generations. I'd like to see the spirit of the revolutionary generation of the 1960s and '70s continue.

Don't be uptight, let it all hang out, hang loose, and stick it to the man. We might show these youngsters a thing or two.

And as for the ladies, well that's another story.