Midmen by Steve Ochs
Eighty percent of modern, middle-aged men are having what is known as a midlife crisis. These men represent the highest concentration of wealth, the longest terms of unemployment and (drum roll please) the highest rate of suicide. They also represent over four million inappropriate gold stud earrings, seventeen billion individual hair transplants and eight thousand miles of hairy muffin top. These are the MIDMEN.
MIDMEN: The Modern Man’s Guide to Surviving Midlife Crisis is more than just an informative self help book for a growing, if rapidly balding, generation. It is strong medicine dissolved into a spoonful of beer that men can easily digest. However, men are notoriously averse to buying self-help books and, because publishers know that, there isn’t much out there. But they are the primary readers of humor books. Eureka.
MIDMEN is a 50/50 blend of Louis CK and Dr. Phil. It’s half Men are From Mars Women Are From Venus and half Tucker Max; kind of a Fifty Shades of John Grey. MIDMEN keeps the reader laughing as it spoon-feeds him genuine survival information. Covering areas as diverse as health, finance, family and death, MIDMEN leads its MIDMAN reader through an insidious series of sections and chapters that surreptitiously reinforce his sense of well being as he faces life’s second half.
MIDMEN: The Modern Man’s Guide to Surviving Midlife Crisis is a frank – okay downright rude – collection of facts, quizzes and anecdotes that offers readers a way to identify what really matters in life and get it scheduled in by sharing wisdom like: “Who is a MIDMAN? He’s the guy with eyes that can’t stop looking at younger women who can’t stop not giving a sh*t.” “The average middle-aged couple has sex once a week, twice if they also sleep with each other.” “… the question, ‘Are you pre-menstrual?’ is famously punishable by death.” “If your dreams do not scare you, they are not big enough.” Men have felt this way about boobs for years, now we need to apply it to our dreams.
*I received a review copy from the author.
Steve Ochs is a stand up comic/TV writer/producer, and his background and personality really shine through in his book, Midmen: The Modern Man’s Guide to Surviving Midlife Crisis.
Even Steve’s email to me asking for a review was hilarious. As a woman in her 20s, I am definitely not in Steve’s target audience, but the topics he covers in Midmen can be applied to pretty much anyone. (Maybe not for everyone at right this second, but eventually).
The book is crammed with lots of good facts and advice, some of it fairly depressing. But before it gets too real, Steve slips in a joke or a funny anecdote to make everything seem all right again.
In Midmen, Steve’s experience as a stand up comic is apparent. His writing style very much feels as if he is up on a stage talking to you. He’s casual and approachable, yet also not afraid to make jokes at your expense.
The book covers ten topics meant to help out the Midman, ranging from spouse to kids to parents to your mind and more.
Here’s one of my favorites. It’s an imaginary dialogue between a husband and wife concerning the husband’s grooming (from Chapter 10: The Body):
(enters room stark naked) Honey? I know I haven’t been paying a lot of attention to my grooming for the last 17 or so years and I thought you and I could have a conversation about how I can make myself look more attractive to you
What the fuck? You can start by putting something on; someone might see you and puke.
You’re the only one home.
I meant me!
Steve also supplies the reader with a great series of images of Leonardo da Vinci’s the Vitruvian Man, which shows what happens to men as they age (it involves a lot of hair).
Also sprinkled throughout the book are quizzes that may help you take a deeper look at yourself and figure out areas where you can improve or help yourself be happier.
Happiness is a key goal in the book, and a lot of that involves learning how to step back and laugh. And of course, there are three key takeaways, which are repeated throughout like a mantra, with plenty of explanations and examples:
- I’m actually getting old.
- It’s ultimately going to suck.
- Tough shit. I will still need to live life to the fullest until I can’t anymore.
At times, I think Midmen does get pretty dark, so you have to be in the right mood to read it (meaning, read it when you’re not feeling depressed. Or maybe do. Who knows? It might help).
I appreciated all the stats and research, as well as helpful links (especially in the financial section).
So, to paraphrase Steve, if you are a Midman, meaning middle-aged, or if you are married to a Midman, consider picking up this book. It’s advice in the guise of entertainment, and the entertainment at times is even laugh out loud funny.
Length: 221 pages