What Do Old Men Talk About?

Howdy, Pardners…

What exactly do old men talk about while they sit on park benches? Well, as an old man who sits on park benches with other old men, I think that I have a little insight into that subject.

Old men talk about laundry. Since most men retire before their wives do, one of the first household chores that they take over is doing the laundry. And laundry isn’t a bad thing. Good laundry takes a lot of thought, planning, and organizational skills… especially when men do the laundry. There was a time when I thought that the perfect home would have a woodworking shop. Now? I NEED a full-on laundry room.

Old men don’t talk about sex. Many old men can remember the last time they had sex, and that time was many years ago. It’s not that they’re embarrassed about sex. It’s just something that doesn’t populate their worldviews anymore. Mighty members that could once proudly hoist a wet beach towel up into the air are now unable to lift a dry hanky. It is the way of the world, and old men aren’t uncomfortable about that. In many ways, it’s sort of a relief.

Old men talk about sports… a lot. I have a handicap here, because I didn’t go to college (thus, no alma mater to cling to) and I don’t pay the least bit of attention to sports. Haven’t for many years. So when the other old men start talking about sports, I sit alone thinking about sex and laundry.

Old men don’t talk about their wives. Most old men have been through a marriage or two (or more), and marriage isn’t the grand experiment that it is for youngsters. Marriage is more like an old pair of sneakers that have frayed around the edges, laces patched with knots, and comfortable only in that getting a new pair of sneakers would be just too much work.

Old men don’t talk about the jobs that they retired from. Nobody cares. Work and jobs are no longer a part of the mix, and most old men see clearly that, whatever they did, it didn’t really matter in the Big View of things. It was just a job.

Old men talk about their idiot fucking children, or their idiot fucking grandchildren. They don’t seem the least bit embarrassed about the idiot fucking things that their progeny do on a pretty regular basis. Sometimes, such conversations will soar into a contest over which children and/or grandchildren are the biggest fucking idiots. Yeah. Sorry about that, but that’s what dad and granddad talk about… what a fucking idiot you are.

Old men talk about politics…but in a weird non- confrontational way. I think that the lack of confrontation is due to lives that have been lived too long. Old men no longer get passionate about things that they know cannot and will not be changed.


There will be a time when you too (if you are lucky) will become an old man or old woman. Unfortunately, there is nothing I can tell you to help you prepare. Your passion will wilt, your body will change, and things that once seemed amazing and important… aren’t.

But there will always be the laundry.

Have a day.


3 Responses to What Do Old Men Talk About?

  1. Old men no longer pretend to listen to women.

  2. Dear Riley,

    I laughed quite a bit. I wasn’t laughing at the content as much as I was at the style. Very well written. This piece was timed so right. I’m beginning to know a man a lot and I mean a lot older than me and he talks about laundry and sports quite a bit. Sex of course hasn’t been talked about at all!

  3. Ahhh, life is such a beautiful tragedy. Love your article, Riley. Also love, love, love the smell of fresh laundered bath towels and bed sheets.

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