I am a woman. But my main character in my new novel is a man. Writing a man’s perspective is proving to be less challenging than I would have expected when starting this journey. And lately, I have taken to the habit of asking my male friends what would be their worst fear when reaching the age of retirement. One man told me – he sold his advertising company and now has a sailing school in the Caribbean – that he’d be afraid not to be remembered by anything. He didn’t say what exactly but I figured no children, no legacy, that kind of thing. Another man who owns a film distribution company said he’d be afraid his wife will have fallen out of love with him, and mentioned a more general fear of exclusion. Today, I had lunch with a man who heads a broadcasting company. I asked him the same question. He said the thought of being penniless and put away in some home due to a failing body scared him, and to then be forgotten. My father-in-law said he’d hate hearing from his successors how much of a mess he made of things.
In drawing some universally manlike conclusions I find myself quoting one brilliant man: “Reputation, reputation, reputation! O, I have lost my reputation! I have lost the immortal part of myself, and what remains is bestial.” William Shakespeare.