Nudging Your Guy Toward Healthy
Trying to help the man in your life be healthier and live longer is like trying to wrangle a herd of house cats with a feather. For nearly 30 years, I’ve picked doctors, made appointments, kept medical record folders and asked questions. There was no big “Tah da! Today I am taking over.” We have an unspoken agreement that I take care of him now so he doesn’t get all broken down later.
It sounds easy, but if you’ve ever tried to take a triple-decker cheeseburger out of your man’s hand because you don’t want him to clog his arteries, you know how hard it is. What starts as an act of love becomes an argument about his car, your sister or the remote control. One minute he’s giving you a piece of his mind because you are all in his business. Then, in the blink of an eye, he’s showing you fungus-ridden toes or impacted wisdom teeth. From boils to bunions, these are the things we must be prepared to see, all in the name of love.
It doesn’t always go smoothly. You can try to sneak more fruits and vegetables into meals, if you don’t say, “We are eating more fruits and vegetables.” You can see him limping, or favoring one side when he walks, and he will look you in your eyes and say, “I’m just working on my swagger.” What?
You can send him articles about the perils of smoking and still catch him hiding behind the bushes in 10-degree weather, sending out smoke signals. Ask him if he wants to go to the gym with you, and he might say yes, or he might say, “Hell no!” Tell him that by knowing and controlling his numbers—blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes—he’ll add years to his life. He’ll probably give you the okey doke. It’s easier just to tell him that it will improve his sex life. Play to your strengths.
Recently I overheard a conversation between my husband and one of his friends. He told the guy he was actually glad I try to take care of him. “She’s good at it, but you have to watch her like a hawk,” he said. “She takes you to the doctor, lays you down on the table and lets them cut you.” He’s still traumatized by last year’s skin biopsy for a suspicious mole. “That’s why I wear long pants and long sleeves and ski masks, even in my sleep. It’s only a matter of time until I’ll be like Toby from ‘Roots’ with my foot cut off so I can’t run from her anymore.”
And then he told the guy he saw a study (actually, I saw and told him about it) that says men who have women in their lives live longer than men who don’t. I think he’s finally getting it.
—Andrea King Collier