Bryan Jones' Diary - the ramblings of a menopausal man
Is there a male menopause? As a man in his mid-50s, I have recently become aware of getting older. Increasing age has had a curious effect on my psyche. I am noticing, on an almost daily basis, that I am thinking, feeling and behaving in ways that are starkly different from my youth and earlier adulthood. I will share these experiences on this blog and hope others will join me in describing their own age-related quirks and oddities. I can't be the only one at this "funny age", can I??
Lately, I’ve been doing a lot of
thinking. At 56 years of age I believe it is time to review my life,
stock, make amends. I don’t believe there is a God or an afterlife, but who can
be certain of such things. So I’d like to play safe and acknowledge all my major
wrongdoings from over half a century of prowling the planet earth. After I’ve
drawn my final breath, if I find myself at the ultimate junction, I want to
ensure I’m ushered in the direction of the arrow labelled ‘fine wine, ale and
warm female flesh’ rather than the one indicating ‘fire, brimstone and a
perpetual knee to the bollocks’.
So brace yourself, here goes; my
Dad, I’m sorry I lied to you when
I was 9 and you asked me about my 14-year-old brother’s liking for tobacco.
Adopting my most sincere facial expression – chin jutting, eyes fixed on yours
– I swore that I’d never seen Tony puff on a single cigarette. Father, I
sinned. Your older child was smoking like a damp log on a campfire. Forgive me.
I know it’s no excuse but I had been bribed by my big brother; he’d allowed me
a couple of drags if I remained silent.
Mum, I’m sorry I lied to you when
I was 7. I was responsible for those giant spiders that infested our house. My
behaviour at the time would today have led to a hefty prescription of Ritalin. Forgive
me, for it was I who engaged in frenzied fly-murdering sprees (aiming for a
minimum cull of three bulbous blue-bottles a day) and stored their pulped carcasses
under a loose window tile; word most have spread through the spider community
that a ready-made feast was being served daily, motivating all the dominant eight-legged
creatures within a 2-mile radius to descend on our living room. And didn’t they
fatten up quickly; our window ledge soon resembled a scene from Arachnophobia.
And mum, it was not the cat’s
fault that your wardrobe smelt of piss in 1977 – it’s amazing where a semi-slumbering
young man will urinate after ingesting 12 pints of finest ale.
Mrs Fenwick, I wish to retract my
comment to you when you returned home to break up your son’s house party 39
years ago. With the maturity of middle-age, I can now understand why you might
have felt annoyed to discover muddy foot-prints on the Artexed ceiling of your
recently-decorated dining room, semi-naked teenagers in your bed, not to
mention the pools of vomit on the bathroom floor. You were never a ‘stuck up,
snotty cow’ so please forgive me for my foul-mouthed ignorance; again, the
demon drink may have distorted my mind. (Although come to think of it, you did
often carry an unfortunate facial expression, as if someone was wafting a turd
under your nose).
Jean, the cougar, please accept
my sincerest apologies for my failure to rise to the occasion, particularly
after that delicious three-course meal you prepared for me. I was good-to-go,
until I caught sight of your lady bits which, after churning out three children
–one of whom, at 20 years old, was my age – seemed discoloured and misshapen,
like a poorly-assembled tent flapping in the wind, and not at all like those of
my female peers. Please forgive me.
Jane, the lovely young lady from
Durham, you were totally right to deny me access to your inner treasures on our
first date. I was 20 years old, full of anger and resentment, and treated you
shoddily. And I’m sure you were far from being a ‘frigid slab of whale
blubber’; please forgive me.
I think that should just about
cover it. Oh wait. To the old lady I met last week in the frozen-fish aisle of
the local Tesco store: it was I, not you, who was responsible for emitting the
rotting-cabbage smell; it just slipped out when I bent over the refrigerators
in search of battered cod. I should never have accused you. Sorry.
Well, I feel lighter already.
Wine, ale and warm female flesh, here I come!
Photo courtesy of radnatt at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Courtesy of Raktim Chatterjee at
'Wow, he's a big lad,' I said to Mrs Jones as we sat together on the settee watching our twice-weekly dollop of Judge Judy. 'Look at that gut; when was the last time he saw his knees, not to mention his bits and pieces!'
The victim of my verbal assault
was a young man in his early 20s, standing before the solemn queen of
arbitration in an attempt to sue his ex-girlfriend for the cost of an
engagement ring. Clad in a grey suit and black tie, he clearly had made an
effort to dress appropriately for Court. Articulate and respectful, he outlined
the rationale for his claim. Thinking back, his demeanour suggested a pleasant,
intelligent human being. But at the time I ignored those qualities, my
attention focused only on the straining lower buttons of his white cotton shirt
as they struggled to contain a wodge of overhanging flab demanding its
I used to be a nice man. Size didn’t
matter – except, of course, when creasing the sheets in the midst of lust – it
was only behaviour and personality that counted when evaluating another human
being. But that all changed in 2013 when a self-imposed exercise programme
resulted in me shedding my beer-belly and 30 pounds.
Since my conversion from a chubby
slob to thoroughbred athlete (don’t puncture my delusional bubble – it’s hard
enough to maintain a positive self-image at 56), I’ve developed an obsession
with people’s shapes and, like reformed smokers, I am now the harshest critic
of those who are yet to change their ways. When meeting males for the first
time, I zoom in on their contours and mass. Does he carry more than one chin?
Are there any man-boobs lurking under his outer garments? Is that a poorly
inflated rubber ring clinging to his waste or a swathe of whale blubber?
I know my reactions are
distasteful, ignorant and sometimes repulsive. My rational self often
immediately challenges my prejudicial thoughts:
‘Don’t be a fatist; you’re no
better than a racist, sexist or any other “ist”’
‘If you must form opinions of
others, look further than their physical appearance’
‘Never judge a book by its cover’
‘Some people are born to be
bigger than others; it’s in their genes’
‘There are unfortunate folk with
medical conditions that render weight loss difficult, even impossible’.
I’m familiar with all these
retorts and believe them to be morally and factually sound. But there is an
emotional, almost instinctive part of me that is impossible to restrain. Feel
free to unfriend me now; I’ll understand.
Nor is my discriminatory gaze
exclusive to males. When I’m introduced to a woman one of my first thoughts is,
‘How firm is her butt?’ A close second is, ‘What proportion of her breasts are
pure mammary rather than excess poundage?’ And so my internal conflict is
triggered again, my emotive prejudice challenged by my rational and moral
I often feel compelled to explain
my turmoil to Mrs Jones. When she catches me staring at women’s arses and boobs
I’m at pains to point out that I’m not yearning for soft, silky, tender, warm,
succulent female flesh … …[* breath quickens*] … … but struggling to resolve my
internal conflict. She is not yet convinced!
I recently stumbled upon an
article in Medical News Today titled ‘What
is the average penis size?’ My curiosity pricked – it’s my scientific mind,
you know – I read on. Apparently, the average length of the male member is
about 3.4 inches (8.5 cms) when flaccid, and 5.5 inches (14 cms) when fully
Seconds later, I’m rummaging in
Mrs Jones’ sowing tin for the tape measure, hands trembling with anticipation.
After a fruitless search among the needles and threads, I shifted the pursuit
to my toolbox – the puns just keep on coming; whoops, there’s another one –
until I located the spring-loaded tape, and retired to the bathroom to
determine how I measured up.
I’m sure most men will be
familiar with the process of penis measurement, but I doubt whether many have
carried out the procedure deploying a steel-bladed, automatic-locking device
with push-button retraction; you’ll be familiar with the contraption, the one
that closes like a mouse trap when you press the ‘recoil’ knob. Suffice it to
say that, at the age of 56, I almost earned entry into the Guinness Book of
Records for the oldest man to perform a do-it-yourself circumcision.
Smug with the realisation that I
was comfortably within the average range (albeit after a fair bit of burrowing
into the testicular region), I returned, reassured, to read the remainder of
the article. One study had reported that women’s satisfaction with the sexual
act depended more on penis girth than length. My eyes scoured the text for the
relevant data: the average circumference of the trouser-snake is 3.7 inches
(9.5 cms) at slumber and 4.7 inches (12 cms) when reporting for duty; cue round
two of jousting with the steel tape measure.
After the discovery that my
member was again firmly within the average range, not even the loss of 50 units
of O-negative could erase my self-satisfied grin.
Apparently, there are cultural
differences in average penis size. It seems that Indian men were dealt an
inferior stack when the todger cards were distributed, their average length
falling a crucial half-inch short of their American counterparts. So it’s New
Delhi rather than New York as a destination for me this summer; brace
yourselves Keshika, Sita and Shefali, big Bryan – or comfortably-in-the-average-range
Bryan - is on his way.
'Whatever you do, never, ever, stick your finger in here' said
my 11-year-old brother.
Tony, my elder sibling, was
standing in our living room with the table lamp in his hand. He was pointing at
the opening where the light bulb would go. I was aware that the lamp had been without
a bulb (and shade) for some time; each morning, prior to leaving for work, my
dad would plug his electric shaver into this socket.
‘Why not?’ I asked.
‘Just don’t do it’, said Tony. ‘If
you do you’ll get electrocuted.’
When Tony left, and I was alone
playing on the carpet with my Lego, I struggled to maintain concentration on
building my plastic-brick tower. My gaze repeatedly drifted to the lamp socket.
It looked harmless enough; brown plastic casing circling two small holes. And
what did ‘electrocuted’ mean? To my 7-year-old mind, anything with the word ‘cute’
in it couldn’t be that bad; my grandmother called me it all the time.
As the morning progressed, my
bottom (and plastic tower) shuffled ever nearer to the lamp until I was in
touching distance of that two-holed curiosity. Tentatively, as if extending a
hand towards a sleeping Rottweiler, my fingers brushed the plastic casing,
before snatching them back. Nothing happened. Tony must have been trying to
scare me again; one of his favourite pastimes.
I approached the socket a second
time, my index finger outstretched. It hovered at the entry, before plunging into
My recollection of what happened
next is vague and fragmented. I recall a searing vibration shooting along the
length of my arm, as if I was clinging to a giant locust. Moments later I was
lying on my back, in the middle of our living room, surrounded by Lego bricks,
with a whiff of singed flesh in my nostrils.
To this day I remain uncertain as
to my big brother’s motive in issuing his warning about that light socket. He
knew I was a curious boy who always sought explanations and who was inclined to
experiment to find answers. Almost half a century on, when I reminded him of
the incident, he claimed no memory of it, adding that, if he said such a thing,
it would have been fuelled by a desire to keep his little brother safe. I
continue to doubt; after all, a few months earlier he had almost expired after I
locked him in a suitcase. Nevertheless, we remain the closest of brothers,
perhaps fused in friendship by having both – miraculously - survived our
The queen of the blogging world, Terrye Toombs, posed seven of her most devilish questions and I was one of the victims. If anyone is interested to hear about knickerbockers flying over Castorbridge Wood in the remake of a Thomas Hardy classic - and much, much more - drop in via the following link:
Courtesy of Salvatore Vuono at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Recently, I read an interesting post, titled ‘things women
with big boobs would like you to understand’, in which the author laments the
boob sweat, straining blouse-buttons and the way that hugging someone much
shorter than herself can mimic a scene from a soft-porn film. This got me
thinking about what might represent the male equivalent of this anatomical
curse. It came to me suddenly: big-ball syndrome, followed by the growing realization that I am one of the afflicted.
At 56 years old, my ballocks are enormous and, worse still,
seem to be inflating with each passing day. So what are the disadvantages of
owning a huge pair of gonads?
When I sit on the toilet
my balls plunge into the water like depth-charges; if there are any enemy
submarines stupid enough to be lurking in my lavatory bowl they do not
stand a chance.
In comparison, they make
my manhood appear even smaller than it is, like a shrivelled slug perched
on a hideously obese torso.
At times my oversized
bollocks are inclined to spill out the sides of my off-white Jockey briefs
and fuse to my thighs. Walking any distance with these gonadal flaps can chaff
terribly, particularly on a hot day.
If my jeans are too tight
my gonads are prone to tunnel around the back, rendering them vulnerable
to crushing when I sit down. (And ladies, if you think childbirth is
painful you know nothing!)
On those carefree summer
holidays when I don the speedos I appear to be cultivating a grotesque
hernia; as I walk poolside, the kids scatter, traumatised by the
monstrous, misshapen blob protruding from my gusset while their
sympathetic parents vacate their sunbeds and encourage me to rest.
I suffered extreme embarrassment
prior to my vasectomy, the pre-op shave representing a formidable
challenge; imagine scraping a razor over two rutted, water-filled balloons
and you’ll be getting close.
So let me hear no more grumblings
from you big-bosomed women.
Two years ago, while clad in a burgundy onesie that my
daughter had bought me – she’s always had a devilish sense of humour - I glimpsed
my 54-year-old torso in a mirror. The grotesque sight of my beer gut, shrouding
my waistline like a wobbly canopy, shocked me into action. The potent mix of
onesie and male vanity compelled me, for the first time in a quarter of a
century, to enter into a regular exercise regime and, as a result, I have since
shed 25 pounds.
Part of my workout involves three 30-minute bursts per week
on a static bike – I’m too wimpy to ride a real one. Although effective in
maintaining fitness and burning off blubber, heavy-duty pedalling alone in our
back room is a tedious affair. As such, my wild and fantastical imagination is
an asset … …
I’m back at my old
workplace and it is the annual charity event. My team has selected me to
represent them in the ‘static-bike challenge’. At 56, I’m the oldest
competitor. My friends at work express respect for me for ‘giving it a go’,
despite their belief that I have no chance of winning this test of endurance.
A huge and boisterous
crowd, almost exclusively comprising of attractive females, has gathered to
witness the contest. As I walk – nay, strut – to my bike, wearing my knee-length
navy shorts and white vest, I overhear two vivacious blonde girls talking about me:
‘Wow, how fit is he!’ ‘Just look at those
muscular legs, and his firm, chiselled torso!’
There are five other
men in the competition. One of my opponents is Mike, 20 years my junior and an
arrogant nob-head from the neighbouring office. I dislike him intensely, and
always have done. He smirks when he sees me. ‘I hope there’s a defibrillator
handy,’ he says, evoking laughs from the few cronies who have accompanied him.
I ignore him, maintaining my laser-like focus on the task in hand.
We mount our bikes and,
at the starter’s command, begin to pedal vigorously. The decibel level in the
arena rises to a point where everything sounds distorted. After 15 minutes of
frenetic pedalling, my rivals start to drop out, one by one, each exhausted and
spent. Twenty minutes, and only Mike and I remain in the contest. As I pump the
pedals, the rhythmic thrusting of my thighs has not gone unnoticed by the
ladies in the front row.
‘He’s so powerful!’ ‘Goodness gracious,
that man oozes testosterone!’ 'What a gladiator!’
Giggling, they share
crudities about what they would like to do to my body. They yearn to be the
bike under my pounding limbs. Their lady-bits moisten. They stare at the bulge
in front of my shorts, imagining a truncheon-like phallus lurking within.
They redden at the awareness of their own arousal.
In scenes unwitnessed
since Beatle-mania, swooning girls, overcome by my athletic beauty, are helped
from the stadium. While being lifted onto the stretchers they cry, ‘We love
you, Bryan! We love you, Bryan!’
After 25 minutes, Mike
crumbles over the handlebars, wheezing like an asthmatic 19th-century steam locomotive, defeated.
A crescendo of cheering greets my resounding victory. To humiliate him further,
I continue to pedal for an additional five minutes as the ladies scream their
approval. As I dismount, triumphant, I’m swamped in a surge of adoring female
Alone in the austere back room of our house, I tentatively
get off the bike, feeling groggy and on the point of collapse. I almost slip on
the puddles of gooey sweat on the floor-tiles under each handlebar. My haemorrhoids
are stinging like a swarm of vindictive hornets. I head to the bathroom,
undress and inspect myself in the mirror. I resemble a withered Dumbledore
after a fruitless night scouring the earth for Horcruxes. The grey hairs on my
chest spiral downwards, limp and aimless. My trouser-snake appears to have
tunnelled into my abdomen, rendering my genitals concave. I smell like a vagrant’s
Ah well, I’d better get showered; I’ve got the weekly shop
PS A bowel-blastingly funny e-book will shortly be published on Amazon, titled 'Does Not Write Well With Others'. Together with some of the zaniest bloggers on the planet, I have contributed to a compilation of hilarious stories that may well evoke incontinence in the unsuspecting reader; you have been warned! Watch this space for further details.