Understanding Men's Passages: Discovering the New Map of Men's Lives

Understanding Men's Passages: Discovering the New Map of Men's Lives

by Gail Sheehy


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Her stunning bestsellers Passages and New Passages brilliantly mapped the changes we live through from youth to maturity. Now Gail Sheehy guides contemporary men through the turbulent challenges and surprising pleasures that begin at forty. As a man crosses that threshold, he is bound to ask midlife's most troubling question: Now what? Work anxieties, concerns over sexual potency, marital and family stress, issues of power, all take on new urgency as men contemplate the decades ahead. But as Gail Sheehy reveals in this major new book, midlife is precisely the period when men are most likely to reinvent themselves and become masters of their fate. In Understanding Men's Passages, Sheehy offers all men—and the women in their lives—an essential guide to self-discovery.

Hundreds of bold, imaginative men—celebrities as well as everyday heroes—share here their most intimate desires, deepest fears, and most fervent cravings for renewal. Decade by decade, Sheehy uncovers the real issues facing men today: finding new passion and purpose to invigorate the second half of their lives, dealing with "manopause," surviving job change, enjoying post-nesting zest, defeating depression, and learning what keeps a man young.

Informative and inspiring, grounded in fact and full of fascinating life stories, Understanding Men's Passages is a landmark that will take its place beside Gail Sheehy's epoch-making Passages and New Passages.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780345406903
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 05/28/1999
Edition description: FIRST BALLENTINE
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 463,264
Product dimensions: 5.46(w) x 8.29(h) x 0.73(d)

About the Author

Millions of readers defined their lives through Gail Sheehy's landmark work, Passages, and through its bestselling sequel, New Passages. Among her twelve books is the huge international bestseller that broke the taboo around menopause, The Silent Passage. Ms. Sheehy is also a political journalist and contributing editor to Vanity Fair. The mother of two daughters, she divides her time between New York City and Berkeley, California, where she lives with her husband, editor and lecturer Clay Felker.


New York City and Berkeley, California

Date of Birth:

November 27, 1937


B.A., University of Vermont; M.A., Columbia School of Journalism

Table of Contents

Author's Note17
Part IWhat Do Men Want?
Chapter 1It's a Guy Thing35
Are You Prepared for Another Life?46
But I'm Not Ready!51
The Need to Know and the Fear of Knowing54
The Eight-Hundred-Pound Gorilla57
Chapter 2The New Map of Adult Life62
The Wife's Nightmare67
What to Do with All This Leftover Life?71
Part IIFlourishing Forties
Chapter 3Why Do I Still Feel Like a Kid?79
The Vanity Crisis83
A Flagrant Freedom90
The Father-Son Midlife Power Struggle97
When You Comin' Home, Son?99
The Dead Father101
The Midlife Delinquent105
Chapter 4Manhood on Trial112
Yuppie Playing Catch-up113
Banker "Excessed" at Home115
The Sole Breadwinner's Insecurities115
The Idealist's Angst116
A Hard Time to Be a Man in His Forties121
Confronting the "False Self"124
Are You What You Smoke?127
"The Big Impossible"130
The Reluctant Father136
First Fatality Jitters140
Moving Up the Mortality Markers146
Honor Among Men149
Manly Sports: More Than Just a Game152
Current Manhood Models157
Chapter 5Married and Mortal175
The Aha! Moment175
The Heart of the Matter180
The Stonewaller's Defense189
The Trouble with Wives195
Part IIIFearless Fifties
Chapter 6Passage to Your Second Adulthood203
The Samson Complex206
Mature Masculinity212
Former Pro Football Star217
Geezer in Graduate School218
Globe-trotting Journalist Turns Gardener219
The Fearless Professor223
Beyond Power228
Barry Diller's Search for Self235
Prospero's Passage244
Welcome to the Age of Influence248
Chapter 7Redirect Your Life Before the Hammer Falls254
The Dark Night of Joe O'Dell257
Destructive Defenses262
The Comeback of Joe O'Dell265
They'll Never Fire Me268
The Rebirth273
The Window of Opportunity278
Midlife Money Realities280
What Could Spook John Wayne?283
Give Up "I'm the Big Shot"285
Building a Team289
Opening the Spiritual Dimension292
Find Your Passion and Pursue It298
Chapter 8Love and War with Wives, Fathers, Children303
From Competing to Connecting305
Gender Crossover: Comfort or Crisis?309
Coaching the Coach313
Withholding Sex320
The Safety Net Wife324
Making the Crossover Work331
Brain-Sex Changes333
Mellowing Out336
Empty Heart337
Mr. Mom340
Father Hunger343
Letting Go of a Growing Son344
How Many Men Friends Can You Count?349
The Nest Is Empty -- Are You Ready for Love in the Morning?355
Part IVWho's Afraid of Male Menopause?
Chapter 9The Male Sexual Life Cycle361
Magical Expectations362
The Male Sexual Life Cycle369
The Unspeakable Passage376
Men Behaving Intelligently383
Mind over Manliness389
Chapter 10Secrets of Perpetual Virility391
Would You Rather Have Steak and a Smoke Than Be a Sexual Athlete?392
Magic Bullets397
When Sunday-Afternoon Football Is Better Than Sex401
Free Testosterone!404
DHEA: A Man's Master Hormone408
Chemical Machismo409
Couples Work414
The Testimonial Woman422
Teaming Up to Find the Right Treatment424
Part VInfluential Sixties
Chapter 11Passage to the Age of Integrity429
Secrets of Well-being in the Sixties431
Imagining the Paul McCartney Retirement Home436
Don't Retire! Redirect!438
Looking for Your Postcareer Career442
His and Her Retirement Fantasies446
Chapter 12Progress Versus Despair452
The Black Tempest455
Don't Back Up, Severe Tire Damage!460
Help Is Not Hard to Get464
I Am Not Having a Heart Attack!469
Absorbing the Blows of Fate474
Part VIWhat Keeps a Man Young?
Chapter 13Unconventional Wisdom481
Do Men Have to Die Earlier Than Women?485
Unretired Champions490
Growing and Regenerating Brain497
Spiritual Hunger501
Love in the Twilight of Life503
A Lusty Winter505
Appendix A511
Chapter 6Passage to Your Second Adulthood
Coping with Job Loss511
Strategies for Surviving Job Loss in Middle Life513
Resources: Career Counselors516
Appendix B518
Chapter 8Love and War with Wives, Fathers, Children
Resources: Couples Therapy518
Appendix C520
Chapter 10Secrets of Perpetual Virility
Shopping for a Doctor/Male Health Clinic520
Resources: Physicians and Therapists for Sexual Health Issues521
Appendix D525
Chapter 11Passage to the Age of Integrity
Preretirement Couples Exercises525
Appendix E527
Chapter 12Progress Versus Despair
Warning Signs of Depression527

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