Meet the MAMIL AKA The Middle-aged Man in Lycra

“So do My Bollocks look BIG in Lycra Shorts?”

MAMILYou could argue that tight-fitting spandex sportswear is something that only youth can wear with confidence, and even then only if they are in great physical shape!

Yet despite the way this skin hugging material highlights every imperfection on the human body, it doesn’t seem to discourage the MAMIL from squeezing into it.

Heck, you might even hear one of them gearing up for the Sunday sprint asking his fellow mid-lifers, with some degrse of pride, if his bollocks look big in his newly acquired lycra shorts. Hmm, perhaps this is just an excuse to don overly suggestive Sportswear Perhaps?

A Poor Man’s Midlife Crisis Perhaps?

So do men facing a midlife shift really prefer to prance around nowadays on a bicycle over a shiny sports car or powerful motorbike?

Maybe this is just exhibitionism on a shoestring for those not in a position to splurge out on racy vehicles and tummy tuck surgeries?

Ah, but hang on a minute, some of these top end road bikes cost well in excess of 1,500 UK (over $2,400 US), for peddle-power. Perhaps this isn’t such a budget pastime after all!

Who is ‘Lycra Man’ trying to Impress, and is it Working?

Ask any Mamil who he’s trying to impress and he’ll probably say none other than himself. Oh he may well blend into his group of fellow lycra lads, but when peddling home alone along the quiet roads and side streets of his neighbourhood, he’ll certainly stick out, or even flop out, depending on his shape, his size, and the fit of his loud stretchy outfit.

Nevertheless, all these blokes are trying to do is stay on top form as they grow older, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong in that. Is there?

No room for Beer & Bulge with the Mid-life Cyclists

Cycling, either in or out of lycra clothing, will do more to reduce a flabby beer belly, and add some quality of life to the cyclist, than say cruising up and down city roads in a highly polished Japanese performance car or Italian superbike.

Sporty Motorist Vs Sporty Cyclist

The middle aged sports car cruiser can often be seen alone on the tarmac in his hopeful ‘chic magnet’, aging eyes masked by Oakley sunglasses, and 80’smusic blasting out from a wound-down window.

More often than not they’ll be a 50-something elbow protruding out of the window’s aperture in a somewhat desperate attempt to draw attention to both man and machine. One can’t help but wonder whether this Daddy posing really produces a good ROI.

Okay, so tweaking ones rear derailleur is not quite up there with fine tuning the V8 in a residential driveway, but there is a significant difference. The man and his road bike are out there interacting within the community. That means he is likely getting more attention and communication from passers-by than the solitary guy in his flash motor.

Is the MAMIL an Egomaniac with an Inferiority Complex?

A lot of these ageing cyclist find themselves getting quite annoyed at all the jibes by the younger generation and their partners. He’s habitually perceived by them as some kind of dried up has-been who’s desperately trying to recapture a long lost youth.

Men undergoing midlife transition are often described as egomaniacs with inferiority complexes, especially if they dare to keep in shape, maintain a trendy hairstyle, and stay plugged into the latest fashion, technology, and music scene.

But just what is so hilarious about a male mid-lifer trying to look after himself? Any man, at any age, is without any question of doubt, happier when he’s fit and healthy, so where’s the mid-life crisis in that? There isn’t one. Is there?

Our MAMIL is Dammed if he does and Dammed if he doesn’t!

The poor sod’s an embarrassment to his family if he lets himself go. He’s also an embarrassment if he attempts to take good care of himself by jogging or cycling around the neighbourhood in brightly coloured sports garments and designer footwear.

So what’s a guy supposed to do In the twenty-first century? Go and vegetate in the garden shed and wait until he’s too old and too frail to be of embarrassment?

As you can probably guess, it wasn’t the 40 plus cycling enthusiast that gave himself the laughable label of ‘middle-aged man in Lycra’. The term ‘MAMIL’ is yet another tag pinned to the over 40’s for the amusement of others.

To a lesser extent, MAMIL is sometimes taken to mean ‘Middle-aged Mum In Lycra’ too, but it’s not the common interpretation, nor is it as satirical.

Are MAMIL’s but a Passing Fad?

There’s nothing new about middle-aged men choosing 2 wheels over 4 as a secondary form of transport. First we saw the born again biker phenomenon, especially in the UK. Not surprisingly these guys were also given their own acronym – BABS, they call them!

Meet the Born-again Bikers

BABS are the maturing motorcyclists who seek to evoke youthful memories of when life was all fun and frolics. Who wouldn’t want to recapture long summer days where bikes and birds (broads), were plentiful, and life on the open road was free and invigorating?

There was also the constant thrill of danger lurking at every sharp bend on long country roads. An enjoyable dice for those lucky enough to survive their biking years without too much pain and injury.

Alas, a lot of men in the midst of midlife often fail to acknowledge they are not as young, or as agile, as they were back in the day. Sadly, many of these born again bikers and their mighty machines became something of a public health hazard, though few would admit it!

Too many failed to rekindle old riding skills, or take into consideration the increased power found in today’s superbikes. Fatalities within this group of BABS rose to shocking levels in the UK, particularly during the decade from 1998 to 2008.

Cycling – so much Safer than Motorcycling

It’s thought that the Mamil occurrence started to really take off as News reported motorcycle fatalities within middle aged BABS a bit too often to ignore. Not only did the over 40’s come to realise that cycling was less dangerous than motorcycling, but it was also much better for them in a whole variety of ways.

Real social interaction (which is increasingly lacking in today’s world of virtual communication), is also a large part of the Mamil lifestyle.

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STOP Mocking the Middle-aged Guys in Lycra

When viewed sensibly, surely these modern day men in lycra are much less of a laughing stock than the ageing TV addicts, couch potatoes, and Barstool Bobs? Most of these inactive types seem to do little more than criticise others from afar while they watch their own lives pass idly by with senseless monotony.

Without doubt, the MAMIL is a lot happier and healthier than the middle-aged men that seek the velocity of motors to prop up their egos. They’re happier too than those who succumb to the lure of booze to ease them though midlife transition.

The Mamils approach to a new and fulfilling middle-age has got to be progress in a time where each new generation surrenders to a way of life that involves as little movement as possible. A time where obesity has become a global epidemic.

If you can’t Beat ’em, why not Join them?

If you’re a middle-aged able-bodied man and looking for something more out of living than mere existence, then why not join with the MAMIL in your area? You’d be taping into a period of your life that’s certain to be both gratifying and worthwhile?

And hey, don’t worry about your bollocks looking big in those Lycra shorts. Rumour has it these bulbous pouches have the ‘potential’ to attract more new friends that a red Ferrari 😉

About Andy Aitch

Musician, writer, netentrepreneur and founder of 50ish.org, the site created for uniting middle-aged men the world over.

Motto: a man is not old until his dreams become his regrets

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Readers Comments

    Eastend Pete says:

    Beleive it or not, but you get this MAMIL crowd tearning through the street of London on workday morings. If you ask me, they’re just bleeding posers, not to mention a danger on the roads.

    ~ EP


    Kieran says:

    I’ve got to hand it to these guys, great stuff for getting out there and getting fit… But when I’m driving to work at 7.30am in the morning with a coffee in hand everytime I see the bulging saggy man parts of one of these men riding down the side of the road I almost spit my coffee all over my windscreen!

    Despite the horrible image of man-junk potruding from lycra, at the end of the day, most wear it for comfort and they are saving the environment so good on them.

    This article summed it up beautifully, for aging guys with busy lives, this is the smartest way to keep fit and if you are confident in yourself and your body it shouldn’t matter what anyone else thinks.



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