Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

The Invisible Man Hits Middle Age

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

The Invisible Man Hits Middle Age

Article excerpt

Byline: By Bob Cuffe

Iam now 45. And two days. I'm just a little more hunched than last week. More stoopy. I can feel it. I'm feeling it now. Being middle aged is to be ignored. Being a married man is to be ignored. Being a middle aged, married man is to be absolutely invisible. The invisible man.

When you're recently married, you talk, you listen. You're interested in each other. Then kids come along. And then you start to get sick of each other. Not sick enough to do anything about it, but just sick. It's called Flatlining.

Your marital guard ceases to have a genuine interest in your day ( and you in hers. The Cold War commences. As the children grow up, they take over the house in its entirety. The conversations you do have are about the children.

In the early years, the children listen to you ( especially if you shout. Then you find out they only listen to you if you shout. And then they don't listen to you if you're shouting ( particularly when you're shouting for them to shut up.

I've never been proud of that one, which hasn't stopped me doing it, however. My teenager has mates bigger than me, who could fill me in if the thought occurred to them. So shouting might only provoke them.

So, you end up being ignored at home. The house is full of noise, none of it yours. The children argue with each other, and talk to Mum. Mum argues and talks with the children. You're Harpo Marx.

You talk, and no one pays a blind bit of attention. Try it, tell the family how the cross dressing is going and how you're unsure about your sexuality. Nothing. Don't try this in Tesco's, however, as this is the only place you may get listened to.

The truly desperate ring in to football phone-ins ( they just want to talk to someone, even the fools on the airwaves will do.

You eat what the children want. Ditto television. You are nothing more than a wallet. And a taxi. You take on the appearance of badly hung wallpaper. The phone rings ( but never for you. You always answer it, however, just in case it's your girlfriend.

The ghastly reminder hits home ( must get a girlfriend. The door is knocked, but never for you. …

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