The Road to 50 – Who’s Joining Us



Now that turning 50 has taken root in my thoughts, I can’t help but wonder who else is in the same boat as me.  Luckily, the advent and subsequent popularity of social media has created an unprecedented network of peers.  I can watch high school friends, childhood friends and family members age right along with me.  I can get all up in your personal business…and I do.  I can see who’s trying to keep fit, eat healthy, and evolve their personal style.  I could develop comprehensive peer-to-peer benchmark reports from Facebook data alone if I wanted to.  But you’re already in the boat with me.  It’s not terribly exciting data.  I’ve spoken with many of you and received your comments on the last post to know how you are handling the big 5-0.  So my mind has turned to more trivial matters.  Like who are my peers in Hollywood and media?  How are they holding up?  Are they aging gracefully or getting some custom maintenance?  If I were single and on the market, who could I dupe into going out with me?  How do I stack up physically with the dudes?  Let’s take a look at who will be joining us in Club 50 in 2015 and play a little Could I Date Her/Could I Take Him:

Baltimore native son Muggsy Bogues turns 50 in January
Baltimore native son Muggsy Bogues turns 50 in January

Baltimore native sun Muggsy Bogues turns 50 in January.  Muggsy and his Dunbar High teammates stole plenty of joy from us Walbrook Warriors.  I thought we had a pretty good team back then but we could never get past the Poets.  I’m not quite sure what he is doing with himself these days, but Muggsy is looking older than 50.  I expect more from a former athlete.  Could I take him?  Physically, I think I can take Muggsy if I can keep him from going low.  At 5’3″, if he gets me around the ankles, I’m done for.

Diane Lane turns 50 in January
Diane Lane turns 50 in January

Actress Diane Lane hits 50 in January.  She is still in great shape and doesn’t appear to have augmented anything.  But what do I know.  Could I date her?  I think so.  I’m charming, well traveled (in the eastern United States), and she looks like she might enjoy a glass of fine wine, something that I’m great at pretending to know a little something about.

Sarah Jessica Parker turns 50 in March
Sarah Jessica Parker turns 50 in March

The star of Sex in the City will reach the half century mark in March.  Always the style icon, SJP keeps it together.  She must eat like a bird and train like an athlete to keep that shape.  Could I date her?  Probably.  She’s married to Matthew Broderick…what more do I need to say?

Iron Man's 50th is in April
Iron Man’s 50th is in April

I wish I could turn 50 like Robert Downey Jr.  I admire his style.  Always dapper.  And some killer eye-wear!  The one-time drug abusing bad boy of Hollywood has really turned his life and career around and I respect that. And he is in fantastic shape.  Could I take him?  Doubtful.  He’s probably learned some fight techniques during his Iron Man training that my Cherry Hill, Baltimore hustle, Bruce Lee movie osmosis thing can’t keep up with.  Doesn’t mean I wouldn’t give it my best shot.

Dang Gina! turns 50 in April
Dang Gina! turns 50 in April

Comedic genius Martin Lawrence joins our club in April as well.  From stand-up comedy to television to box office Hollywood hits, Martin Lawrence has experienced great success.  I don’t think I ever admired his fashion style though.  Nothing wrong with it.  I just prefer a more classic look.  Can I take him?  Yes.  Looks like success has made ol’ Marty Mar a little soft.  Plus, when has a comedian ever scared you?  I could take him while even having consumed a couple of Vesper martinis.

The CNN anchor is 50 in May
The CNN anchor is 50 in May

CNN anchor Fredricka Whitfield is beautiful, stylish, and appears to be defying age.  Qualities that you need if you are going to have longevity in television broadcasting.  Let’s be honest, no one at Syracuse University cares about what I look like sitting behind my desk or behind a radio microphone.  The pressure on women it the television broadcast industry is palpable so she has to stay on top of it.  Could I date her?  Yes.  I just need an “in”.  Broadcast media is my “in”.  After a couple glasses of wine and a lengthy discussion on digital disruption of traditional broadcast media…BAM!…she won’t know what hit her.

The Walking Dead's Carol is 50 three days after me in May
The Walking Dead’s Carol is 50 three days after me in May

Melissa McBride, one of the stars of AMC’s The Walking Dead, will turn 50 three days after I do in May.  She’s in great shape and I love how she rocks the salt and pepper pixie cut.  It is most likely for TWD show but you get an idea of what she would look like if she decided to maintain a natural look.  Much like the way actress Jamie Lee Curtis did and does.  Could I date her?  Probably not.  I’m such a huge fan of the show that I would most likely trip over my words, geek out during a meeting, and mistakenly refer to her as Carol.  Immediate turn off don’t you think?

Dwayne Wayne joins the club in July
Dwayne Wayne joins the club in July

Kadeem Hardison, AKA Dwayne Wayne, is another of our contemporaries.  He turns 50 in July.  Over the years, the kid with the flip-up sunglasses has experienced some significant shifts in weight.  He’s rocking a natural salt & pepper look like us average Joes.  His personal style says that he maintains a deep connection to his hometown, Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn.  I can respect that.  Can I take him?  Yup.  Dwayne Wayne is looking a little soft these days.  Plus, he’s tall at 5’11”.  If I can get down around his ankles… game over.

Viola is 50 in August
Viola is 50 in August

No one’s spark is hotter than Viola Davis right now.  As she approaches 50 this coming August, her maturity as an actress positions her nicely for diverse roles.  She can take it from the matronly servant to the energetic power broker.  And she doesn’t look 50.  But you know what they say about it not cracking.  She has a beautiful smile and keeps the body tight.  Though my wife Angela says that she has never seen her in a wig that compliments her.  Looking good at 50 though.  Could I date her?  I don’t know.  She seems too serious.  I might come across to goofy and immature.  But if I can get her to sit with me on a park bench and talk about people as they walk by…I have a shot.

I know that I a lot these folks don’t keep regular schedules like we do and have plenty of time to work with personal trainers and have personal stylists, but they inspire me to enter my 50’s fit and in style.  Fit at 50.  That’s my goal.


Turnt Up Like James Bond


Agent 007 James Bond is one of the coolest, stylish icons of masculine sophistication that we have ever encountered, no?  Ian Fleming’s character is the perfect representation of charm and wit paired with destructive ability.  Whether osculating with a Bond girl on a yacht or chasing bad guys in an Aston Martin, 007 did it with style and with a statement.

Fleming was intentional in creating signatures for Bond.  The Aston Martin.  The Walther PPK.  The martini.  Flemming knew that the audience would make the associations with Bond’s signatures that he wanted them to make.  A common understanding that Bond was a man of class and sophistication with a license to kill.

We’ve heard him say “shaken, not stirred” 50 times or more.  The martini was Bond’s signature drink.  Like Bond, the martini says elegant and strong.  Fleming went so far as to create a specific martini for Bond – the Vesper Martini – named after a character in the 1953 novel, and subsequent film, Casino Royale.  I’ll get into the Vesper in a minute.

Agree or disagree, I think what we choose to drink in social situations reveals something about us more than we would like to admit.  It makes a statement.  And what we choose to drink while socializing is as varied as the social occasions themselves.  There are literally thousands of drinks, cocktails, spirits and wines to choose from and it can be daunting.  So we fall back on what we know or try something from the bar menu.  Every man, who wants to make a statement, should have a signature drink.  A drink that makes a very intentional statement at that.

Scene from the movie Brown Sugar
Scene from the movie Brown Sugar

Remember the bar scene in the movie Brown Sugar when the main characters, Sid and Dre, ordered drinks for each other?  She orders him a Kettle One, straight, with a twist.  He ordered her a Perfect 10.  The writer wanted us to feel the repressed intimacy between the two characters and did so by having each know the other’s signature drink.  And those cocktails made statements about each.

What are you saying when you order a beer?  That you are down to earth?  A regular guy?  Does a craft beer suggest that you enjoy the finer things in life?  That you savor quality?  If you are in a bar in the dead of winter and order a margarita, does it say I wish I were in Cabo right now?  Do you order wine just to be safe?  Rare scotch to say that you are accomplished and worldly?  Does your drink suggest that you just got out of college or haven’t grown since those days? (hello Red Bull and Vodka).  Or are you indecisive and wishy-washy and just order what everyone else is having?

I’m not suggesting what you should drink or that you drink at all.  I am suggesting that you consider that your choice makes a statement and if you are going to make a statement, make it an intentional one.  For example, in a recent bartender blog, Jordan Catapano explains that a man who asks to see the wine list usually has interest in art, culture, and travel.  But if he orders the house varietal, he may need a bit more grooming.

Ingredients for a Vesper Martini
Ingredients for a Vesper Martini

My signature drink is the Vesper martini – James Bond style.  It is simply a variation on a classic martini which is my fall-back should the bar keep come up short on ingredients.  A signature drink like a classic martini says you know exactly what you like.  That you perhaps are discerning, particular and sophisticated with a slight hint of douche-baggery.

The Vesper Martini
The Vesper Martini

The Vesper Martini, described by James Bond in Casino Royale, is 3 ounces of London Dry Gin, 1 ounce of Vodka and a 1/2 ounce of Lillet (bianco).  Lillet is a dry vermouth made in France since the 1800’s.  It is made of wine, liqueurs, fruits and herbs and aged in oak. The Vesper is garnished with a lemon peel.  Given the 3 ounces of gin and 1 ounce of vodka, you can imagine that it is a potent drink.  Make no mistake, it’s a man’s drink.  And while one or two might suggest sophistication, 3 or more says you have a drinking problem.  So please be responsible with this signature.

Do you have a signature drink?  What do you think it says about you if anything?  I am a curious fellow so please do share.

If you are meeting friends for a drink, what are you likely to select:



A Fresh Look

Finally some warmer weather here in Central New York has me thinking more about spring and summer, cookouts, drinks on the deck, breaking out the bike and….men’s fashion?  Yes, men’s fashion. I typically struggle this time of year as I wrestle with whether or not to stock the closet with warm weather gear, store the cold weather outfits and permanently retire outdated styles from both seasons.

So what to wear for spring and summer 2014.  Do we grab what we see on the mannequin or thoughtfully plan out our look for the season? Option A is easy and hit-or-miss at best. It requires you to trust that the store buyer is up on modern trend. Option B requires research. Have no fear though because I have scoured the interwebs for themes on men’s fashion trends for spring/summer 2014 and I, out of extreme generosity, will share them with you here.

The key for us hominids over 40 is to take these themes and fashion them to our own particular stage in life. Fashion is often a young man’s game so take the themes and apply them age-appropriately.

Theme 1 – The Whiteout

Head-to-toe white is a cool look for the summer.  You can go all white or throw in a splash of color with a shirt or pocket square.

White OutDolce & GabbanaTheme 2 – Double Breasted Blazers

It’s a classic that’s always on time.  Try pairing the blazer with a pair of shorts.

Whether it's just the jacket or full suit, you'll class up the room no matter the occasion.
Whether it’s just the jacket or full suit, you’ll class up the room no matter the occasion.

Theme 3 – Block stripes and color blocking

Select for suit or jacket or shirt. Make a subtle or bold statement.
Select for suit or jacket or shirt. Make a subtle or bold statement.

Block stripe shirt

Theme 4 – Warm Weather Leather

Designers have removed the lining and made the fabric as thin as possible to be appropriate for the season. Try a nice shirt. Don't let me see your old ass walking around in leather pants, please.
Designers have removed the lining and made the fabric as thin as possible to be appropriate for the season. Try a nice shirt. Don’t let me see your old ass walking around in leather pants, please.

Theme 5 – Floral Prints

Pants, shorts, shirts, blazers…I’m seeing it all.

Work it in but remember your age.  And for god's sake don cheat by dusting off the old Tommy Bahama shirt in the back of your closet.
Work it in but remember your age. And for god’s sake don cheat by dusting off the old Tommy Bahama shirt in the back of your closet.

Theme 6 – Sporty

The athletic motif is in this season. This doesn’t mean breaking out the old Penny Hardaway jersey. Be fashion conscious about working in the sport that you are fanatic about.


Joe’s wish list

I’m putting these reptile skin gladiator sandals on my list just because…I’m a bad mutha…..

Gladiator Sandals

Other things to keep in mind are colors for spring and summer 2014. A few previews have mentioned very light grey, various shades of pink and purple.  Make it pop! Adopt a few of these to give yourself a fresh look this season and when we see each other, we will salute with the Man Up Hominid casual head nod.

Do any of these float your boat? I’m interested in knowing.