Old men prefer solitude

By Trena Eiden
Posted 4/2/24

I recently read an article stating older men may prefer to be alone. The author sounded like this was newly discovered information, never explored previously and a complete surprise to the human …

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Old men prefer solitude


I recently read an article stating older men may prefer to be alone. The author sounded like this was newly discovered information, never explored previously and a complete surprise to the human race. I can tell him with a lot of certainty, that data wasn’t freshly ferreted out yesterday.

Men like to think of themselves as self-sufficient, independent thinkers who manage their own lives without external interference. This of course is humorous thinking on their part.

Gar is a late-night snacker and eats all kinds of baked goods known to be the cause of cancer or heart issues in every laboratory rat. Fortunately, he doesn’t read about health in lab animals and happily munches his way through cupcakes and donuts with nary a worry.

Being recently scheduled for surgery on a Thursday, I told him, “Since your procedure is set for early afternoon, you can’t eat anything Wednesday after midnight.”

He deadpanned, “Well, that’s good, I’m usually done by midnight.” 

The article on older men said they like life to have fewer responsibilities and less things to remember. They want no complications and they care less about social status, simply wanting to live life on their own terms.

That is truly unfortunate because for the most part, men have the weirdest way of looking at style and they for sure, can’t make simple decisions. I mean decisions that women not only don’t have to think about, but comes as natural as not breathing while drinking.   

Two things to remember: 1. Gar recently got new pull-on, L.L.Bean boots that are loose and easy to slip on. 2. Gar will, nine times out of 10, wear colors together that would perplex a homeless person and, if not stopped, will happily wear checks with plaids. Since he and I both are aware of these shortcomings, you’d think he’d be used to me mentioning NOT to be wearing that ditty of a combination again EVER.

In fact, arriving at our daughter’s one day, she hugged Gar, and seeing his turtleneck color and shirt color, mentioned she was surprised I’d let him out of the house. I nodded in agreement, saying, “I know. I was off my game.”     

The following is one very good reason men, older or otherwise, prefer the peace that isolation brings. Two weeks before Gar’s surgery for a total reverse shoulder replacement, I asked him, “Did you read through the paperwork from the surgeon?”

He answered, “Not yet.”

One week later, “Did you read through the paperwork from the surgeon yet?”

“No, not yet.”

On the day before the procedure, “Did you read through the paperwork?”


Then, on the night before surgery, Gar said, “I read through the paperwork, but I didn’t get the antibacterial soap to use in the shower tomorrow morning.”

Testily, I answered, “I’m not sure why, because we don’t have any antibacterial soap in this house.”

On day of surgery, having a 2.5 hour drive to the location, I was primping my locks at 5:30 a.m., when Gar perused my bathroom, opening cupboards.

When asked what he was doing, he answered, “Seeing if you have any antibacterial soap.”

Me: “Lord help me not to cause a death.”

At the hospital, walking to the door, I look down and Gar was wearing his old, discolored, spectacularly awful, ratty, L.L.Bean work boots. I said, and I admit it was too forceful — and also wasn’t a question — “Why aren’t you wearing your new boots!”

Gar, being accurate, said, “These are broke-in, loose and easy to slip on.”

I then said something that God asked me about later, to which Gar replied, “I’m about sick of you ridiculing me.”

I retorted, “Well, if you wouldn’t do dumb stuff, I wouldn’t feel the need.”

He then said something asinine and I’ll repeat it word for word, “You could have helped me.”

I scared a guy smoking in the parking lot when I bared my teeth, “Help you? Help you?! With what?! I told you to read the paperwork. I bought you new, loose-fitting, easy-to-slip-on boots!” Gar mumbled something unintelligible, which was probably safer.

When the nurse came to get us, she tried to be chatty with her patient.

“Did you two meet in school?”

Gar quietly answered, “Yes.”

Seeing he was fairly stoic, even for a man, she cheerfully turned to me, “And was it a romance?”

I raised my eyebrows, “No, we mostly hated each other then, similar to now.”

I doubt there’s a technology overload on why men like to be alone.