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Stuck in the past - is it a man thing?

(40 Posts)
manny Thu 09-Apr-20 10:58:33

Anyone out there have experience of husband/partner who excelled in a sport or hobby in his younger years? And who remembers that as the best time of his life?
My Father was a bit like that, especially in his later years. But he had a very interesting and colourful war record.
Is it a man thing? Anybody ever come across women who do the same?

GagaJo Thu 09-Apr-20 11:06:04

Can think of no women who do it. Other than the melancholy, bittersweetness of remembering when your children were young.

I know SEVERAL men who do it. My bloke, who talks frequently about his days on ship. Ex-husband who remembers his running days (MUST have been a long time ago, they were WAY over when we married, in his mid-20s). Friend who is still, in his head, in the military, although having been retired for over 20 years.

I'm mid 50s and still anticipate good professional experiences to come. I hope I'm not deluded, although do have very good, happy memories of classes of students I taught years ago!

Gemini17892 Thu 09-Apr-20 11:10:48

That’s an interesting one. No . I can’t think of any women who do that
My dad was forever remembering his RAF days. Now I wish I had listened more but then ... My husband doesn’t reminisce but he doesn’t say much anyway.

Gaga1950 Thu 09-Apr-20 11:19:06

Oh yes - I’m sure it’s a male thing! My other half has memories right back to childhood, through school and his many years in the army and subsequently in business. He is totally lost in today’s world of technology and email - always writes ‘important letters’ then can’t understand why they are not
responded to in the same way and probably get lost. Deeply frustrating as we try to sell the house following the death of our daughter with whom we bought it. He is a great character though, loved by so many and I wouldn’t change his quirky ways for anyone else, just have to ‘manage’ the situations as they arise. I certainly don’t know any women with the same traits!

manny Thu 09-Apr-20 11:20:01

GagaJo I too have fond memories of the 14-18 year olds I taught for many years. They were so lively and funny. I think they kept me young! But they're a fond memory now. I'd like to think that I've the ability to focus on the present and the future (even thought I'm over seventy!) rather than on the past. It's sad that someone should believe that their best years were over a long time ago.

Eglantine21 Thu 09-Apr-20 11:21:28

Do women do it in a different way though?

I’m thinking of all those photos on display of children as babies, when the babes are now thirty year old adults and the wedding day photos when the result of forty years of marriage is the reality!

Or women who were attractive in their teens or twenties still clinging to the makeup and style of that period in their lives in the illusion that they still look like that??

GagaJo Thu 09-Apr-20 11:25:55

You might be right Eglantine. I DO lament my lost looks, although know it's very vain and that as a cancer survivor, I'm lucky to be here.

MawB Thu 09-Apr-20 11:34:59

Good heavens no, not a man thing at all.
Every so often we have threads about our early years/memories and there is no shortage of posts from Grans .
And you only have to mention potty training/ walking/ nappies/ weaning etc to realise that for many women their child rearing years were the prime of their life - and they still regard themselves as experts in that area. Which, I suspect may be at the root of some of the MIL/DIL conflicts.
So before Grandad, Grumppa, or Rufus2 chip in, feeling the Male contingent are being picked on - I vehemently disagree!

Urmstongran Thu 09-Apr-20 11:56:24

I do think though that men like the memories of bonding together. Football/rugby teams they were part of. Those who were in the Armed Forces etc.

sodapop Thu 09-Apr-20 12:11:39

I agree with MawB it's just different for women. I remember my nurse training with great affection and life in the Nurses Home.

Gaga1950 Thu 09-Apr-20 12:16:33

Yes MawB you are right about the best part of life was raising ones children - what I have found though is never to pontificate on how one did things - that would definitely be a source of irritation for my girls - obviously haven’t got it all wrong though as we are first port of call when their lives get difficult and they need help! Being a mother of 4 girls has certainly been the most fulfilling achievement - along with a happy marriage!

NotSpaghetti Thu 09-Apr-20 12:50:59

Is it partly because older men all had careers or trades - pretty much “for life”? They had long term colleagues and were very much part of things in the work environment.
Women either didn’t work so much or had in-out careers which tended to fit round children and their husbands.

Now, with more equality, more women working and so many “portfolio” careers, maybe things will level out and no longer will men recount stories of the days of the call centre, parcel delivery, bank, sales room or whatever - and nor will women.

I think those who had stable long term work with colleagues they depend on will always have stories be they men or women. Police, Health services, Education, the forces, maybe construction workers or other areas where people work as teams. Perhaps this “story telling” and this particular version of “looking back” is the result of the society we live in rather than whether we are male or not.

SalsaQueen Thu 09-Apr-20 13:03:16

My husband played lead guitar in his younger days (teens). He's almost 62 now, but he and his fellow band members frequently talk about their times with the band. 40-odd years have gone by, their lives are so different now, but when they are together, they talk like teenagers grin

Evoha16 Thu 09-Apr-20 13:08:36

Just scrolling down on BBC news and to my amazement saw an article re ‘making £20,000 per week’ posting nude photos on various websites. Surely it’s not reasonable especially in these straitened times for the BBC to give these activities publicity/ airtime/space on a publicly funded website angry

Hetty58 Thu 09-Apr-20 13:20:47

Yes it's a man thing - an old man thing.

Evoha16 Thu 09-Apr-20 13:28:54

Apologies - I’ve put this post in wrong category - can anyone tell me how to re post or move it please - Thanks

Callistemon Thu 09-Apr-20 14:28:28

This thread reminds me of Only Fools and Horses - Uncle Albert played by Buster Merryfield:

Uncle Albert joined the Royal Navy at 17 and then spent the rest of his life recounting tales from the war. He won seven medals - although this was largely due to the fact that he had an extraordinarily unfortunate time serving on seven ships that were sunk over a period of 4 years.

After the war Albert joined the Merchant Navy and then took up the hobby of falling down pub cellars throughout the South East.

dontmindstayinghome Thu 09-Apr-20 14:43:18

I think its absolutely a man thing. My OH constantly refers back to how things used to be.
When we go on a bus ride I can count the seconds until he starts telling me "how things have changed".
Throughout the journey he tells me what buildings have now gone and what the businesses used to be. He never seems to look forward, he constantly dwells in the past. I am a very forward thinking person so it drives me absolutely insane.
I keep telling him that change is nothing new, life and our environment is constantly evolving.
He gets in a right strop if I ask him to stop it.

MawB Thu 09-Apr-20 14:46:25

Not a man thing an old age thing.
Just reading the threads on GN - Ladies you are not immune! ????

Urmstongran Thu 09-Apr-20 14:49:23

You are right there Maw. I like to look back. I do it a lot. ‘This time last week the ...’ or ‘This time last year we ...’

M0nica Thu 09-Apr-20 15:00:22

No difference, just remember different things.

MerylStreep Thu 09-Apr-20 15:04:51

Definitely not. I think I'm living with Peter Pan. He's still very much involved with sailing/boats. He still has his yachtmasters certificate.
He drives a hotrod as his everyday car and races it at Santapod.
If this crisis hadn't happened we would have been moving a boat in Spain and then taken The motohome somewhere in Europe.

Grandad1943 Thu 09-Apr-20 16:33:07

I have always loved to hear the experiences of people who were born in generations previous to myself. My parents would often draw on their memories of the Second World war. My father a veteran of Dunkirk, North Africa and D Day would often along with other veterans at Christmas Parties etc tell of their army experiences, but not of the actual Battles, but camaraderie and laughs they often had in what must have been very difficult and terrifying situations

My mother would often tell us as children of how our house was bombed in world war two and how she managed her way through that entirely on her own. How she found my father following Dunkirk on a beach in Devon when only that very morning she had reason to believe he was dead.

My daughters and their children often ask me and my wife of how we managed during the winter of discontent when I was out on strike for five weeks with a family and mortgage to keep maintained. My wife will often tell our grandchildren of her experiences of being a youth in the rapidly changing attitudes of women in the nineteen sixties

In the above, I hope I am demonstrating that the memories of others especially, older generations, are something to be listened to and cherished. Me and my wife often pass on to our grandchildren the tales that our parents told us of their life experiences, and in turn, that of our own in being brought up under food rationing etc.

Well, I had better end there for the memories and experiences of others it is a subject I could ramble on in regard to for another fifty paragraphs.

Love it.....Just love it. ?

manny Thu 09-Apr-20 20:28:25

Grandad, I agree with you entirely. Such memories need to be kept alive. My Dad served in the RAF and was a Japanese POW for three and a half years. I listened to his stories when he was able to talk about them - much, much later on towards the end of his life. I now regret that I wasn’t more attentive
What I do struggle with is those who were very successful in some way or another during a golden period in their youth, who later believe that nothing in their subsequent experience can ever match that. I feel sad for them.

Grandad1943 Thu 09-Apr-20 21:15:04

Manny in regard to your above post, my wife's father served in what was then Burma during the second world war and he would often portray the events of that campaign but only in regard to the camaraderie and enjoyable periods they had in the far east. They would never tell us of the terrible things they must have seen and even done while trying to survive in such dreadful circumstances.

However, each generation has its own tales to tell and in a case such as mine we were brought up during food rationing, spent our youth under the shadow of the cold war, Vietnam, the Cuba crisis and civil rights in America which at times looked as if it would tear the whole country apart.

Our grandchildren learn about such things in their history lessons and they often ask us how we remember those periods, for our personal recollections can be very different from what they read in their books.

I feel we are now living through an historical period from which books will be written, but how our grandchildren will portray their personal memories of this period to their children and grandchildren will be very different to what is written in those books.

That is the reason I stated in an earlier post in this thread that the tales, memories, and experiences expressed by older generations are elements to be listened to and cherished, for they are irreplaceable in the memories to those who come after them.