75 Things No Man Over 50 Should Own
Get in touch with your inner Marie Kondo, fellas.
Making it to 50 can feel simultaneously like a victory and a defeat. On the one hand, you’ve been alive for half a century! You’re old enough to be filled with wisdom and life experience, but not so old that you feel like an antique. At the same time, there are days when you feel your age. Maybe not physically, but at least culturally. The world doesn’t seem to revolve around you like it once did back in your younger years.
Everything from your fashion choices to your home décor options now feels a little more limited. You can’t get away with anything you want anymore, because a 50-year-old is held to a different standard. And it’s not a bad thing actually. Now, more than ever, the world expects you to be an adult. Here are 75 things that a guy over 50 years old should think about retiring from his life, if he hasn’t already.
If you’re over 50, you were probably bewitched by that Back to the Future sequel where Michael J. Fox evades capture on a futuristic hoverboard. Sorry to break it to you, but that fantasy is exactly that: a fantasy. Modern hoverboards are dangerous, at best, and lame, at worst. (Oh, and they don’t actually hover.)
When you first decorate an apartment, a futon seems like a great buy: it’s both a bed and a couch! When you pass 50, however, it’s high time that you get both a bed and a couch.
Anything that gets affixed to your wall with scotch tape never deserved to be there in the first place. Put it in a frame, leave it in the box with your other old college dorm room décor, or (gulp!) throw it out.
It’s the piece of gym equipment that everybody hates, and with good reason. Buying one and putting it in your home is just showing off, and not in a good way. It’s telling the world, “I care enough about my health to buy an expensive piece of exercise equipment I’ll never use and just hang laundry on it.”
A cell phone holster.
Back when the only cell phones available were brick-sized (and -shaped) Nokias, a holster like this was the coolest, savviest way to cart around your snazzy new device. These days, we all know better: the cell phone goes the pocket.
A mini fridge (and no big boy fridge).
By all means, have a mini fridge! (Stock it to the brim with cold beer, too.) Just don’t let it be your only fridge.
An expired passport.
One of the gifts of growing older is realizing just how precious time is. If you’ve been meaning to take a big trip or see a part of the world you’ve always wanted to visit, you need to stop postponing it. Renew that passport and make plans while you’re still young and physically healthy enough to enjoy it.
Tickets to Lollapalooza.
According to one 2015 Chicago Tribune report, nearly 40 percent of Lollapalooza attendees are between the ages of 18 and 24. A further 40 percent of attendees are between the ages of 25 and 34, while fewer than 10 percent are over 45. All this to say: Do you really want to be the 50-year-old guy at a party full of 24-year-olds?
Plus, there’s another relatable reason you’ll have a way better time sitting at home, wearing comfy pants, and listening to your tunes on a high-quality record player. “I don’t like sitting on the ground,” one attendee told the Tribune. “I have a bad back.”
You want to grow a mustache after 50? That’s fine—commendable, even. Facial hair is every man’s right. But having Salvador Dali delusions doesn’t help your credibility as an adult. Just let your stash do what it wants to do; don’t try to manipulate it into clever, unnatural shapes. And if you want a much more clean-cut look, steal these 23 Top Tricks from Barbers on Shaving Properly.
More than two social media accounts.
If you’re on Facebook and Instagram already, that’s plenty—especially if that’s where you can keep up with your close family. But if you’re also burning up Twitter with 50 posts a day and spending hours on Pinterest and Snapchat, chances are your virtual life is encroaching too much on your real one. Our advice: Pick the one or two you care about the most and use them responsibly and respectfully to communicate with friends and loved ones.
A fantasy football team you can’t stop talking about.
Fantasy football is a fun hobby. But it’s best to limit conversation about the hobby—the minutiae about what trades you’re considering and what your long-term strategy is—when you’re around non-hobbyists. Free idea: talk about real-life sports! Everyone loves those.
A wristwatch that looks like it was a prize at the bottom of a cereal box.
At this point in your life, you deserve a watch like your dad used to wear—a high-end timepiece with a clean, modern design, not a watch whose band stretches to the point of breaking every time you so much as flex your wrist.
Jeans that don’t quite fit.
Whether you’re waiting to lose “just a few more” pounds so you can squeeze into them or you like the way the jeans make you look, these pants are unbecoming on a man your age. Instead, pick up a slim-straight option in the right size.
It’s not just that they’re the ugliest shoes that humankind has ever created, or that they give your feet a polka-dot tan. It’s that Crocs are hurting your feet, according to podiatrists. The open back and loose strap can wreak havoc on your heel and shank. And you know what will start to break down after 50 if you don’t take care of them? That’s right, your feet!
(Also: They’re the ugliest shoes that humankind has ever created.)
A laundry service that rhymes with “Other”.
Yes, we’re talking about your mother. Over the past half century, how much has she done for you? The least you can do is wash, dry, and fold your own non-Spider-Man underpants.
High school trophies.
It’s great that you were a soccer champ in high school, or that you led your debate team to victory with thoughtful analyses of ’80s-era Cold War relations. But once you pass 50, keeping decades-old trophies on front-and-center display is the dictionary definition of self-indulgent. Our advice: keep them somewhere special—and totally out of sight.
In 2019, we’re sorry to report, Humphrey Bogart’s favorite headwear just pretentious. And, if you believe the folks at Vox, the fedora fallen so far in everyone’s collective estimation that it’s officially known as a “scumbag hat.”
You? You’re better than that. If you’re over 50, we recommend a classic tweed newsboy cap, a good-looking dad hat that fits you well, or—especially if you like to play golf—one of the best hats you can buy for 2019.
A virtual reality headset.
It’s not that you’re too old for new technology, but you’re just not going to be satisfied with where VR tech is at. It’s a weird thing that nobody in their twenties really understands. Those older than 50 can still remember a time when virtual reality was “just around the corner.” Twenty years later it’s… okay, we guess. Maybe it’s more impressive to people who are just learning about virtual reality, but when you’re 50 and you’ve been anticipating it for a long, long time, it’s hard not to be underwhelmed.
A drum kit.
You know what nobody has ever said at any dinner party hosted by a 50-year-old in the history of social interactions? “Hey, anybody here know how to play the drum solo from ‘Tom Sawyer’?”
A man bun.
No. You know why. Cut it out! (Literally.) If you really want your ‘do to make you look younger, take a look at these 15 Best Men’s Haircuts for Looking A Decade Younger.
Any book whose premise is how to “score” with “chicks.”
It’s arguable that ever owning dating tomes by Neil Strauss or Tucker Max was always a terrible idea. But if you’re 50 and you’ve got one of their books on your shelf? It’s no longer an argument.
Manuals for appliances and electronics.
After 50 years of trial and error, you’ll learn that such manuals are entirely useless. (Also, there’s this thing called Google.)
Spoiler alert: Nobody is trying to steal your wallet. Or at least nobody is being deterred from stealing your wallet because there’s a gigantic chain hanging from your front pocket. That isn’t intimidating to pickpockets. It’s intimidating to anybody who doesn’t want to hear that you saw Elvis Costello at CBGB once upon a time, and that the underground music scene just isn’t as cool as it was when wallet chains first became a fashion accessory.
A collection of funky shot glasses.
Hey, we all like the occasional sip of hard alcohol, too. But it’s high time we put those Jägerbombs in the rear-view mirror, pal.
A best bud who’s “going through a rough patch.”
Being a supportive friend is more than commendable. When that friend lives on your couch for a few months, eats everything in your fridge, and shows no effort at finding a real job? That’s when it’s time to take a second look.
A single earring.
“But Michael Jordan wore one!” some will surely protest. Here’s the thing: basketball legends can pull off any style move.
A pantry overflowing with junk food.
You can blame your kids for all the Oreos and chocolate bars and tortilla chips and bags of Hershey’s Kisses clogging the shelves of your pantry, but let’s get serious. You’re the one doing the grocery shopping. If you don’t want all that junk in there, you just have to…not buy it. If you’re 50 and you have at least one box of Cap’n Crunch within easy reach, you have no one to blame but yourself.
More than a few selfies on your phone.
You don’t need more pictures of yourself posing in front of nothing in particular. You’re not an insecure 21-year-old kid anymore, still unconvinced of his self worth. You’ve been on this Earth long enough to know that endless selfies are not the path to self-acceptance.
Corduroy jackets with suede patches on the elbows.
This is something guys in their 20s wear because they think it makes them look like 50-year-old intellectuals. Don’t be a 50-year-old dressing like a 20-year-old trying to look like a 50-year-old. And for more fashion moves to quit, learn about these 40 Horrendous Style Mistakes Men Over 40 Can’t Stop Making.
A favorite cast member of Keeping Up with Kardashians.
We’re living in the Golden Age of television! Game of Thrones is about to wrap up the most legendary fun of cinematic fantasy in history. Netflix releases a zeitgeist-worthy show on a seemingly weekly basis. The sheer amount of high-quality programming is staggering. There’s no need to spend time on Keeping Up with the Kardashians!
More than one gaming console.
If you’ve got a Sony PlayStation 4, you don’t also need a Nintendo Switch and a Microsoft Xbox. Pick your poison.
A beanbag chair.
Sitting in a beanbag chair is like sitting in a bag filled with crunchy mayonnaise. There’s nothing kitsch or throwback about them. (For the record: same goes for waterbeds.)
An embarrassing Google search history.
If your mom can get on your computer right now and take a look at your internet search history without blushing, you’re good. If not, you need to seriously rethink what you’re doing online. You’re 50 years old—don’t click on those sites!
Strong opinions about modern music.
Quick, answer this question! What do these three terms mean to you: Juice WRLD, Ava Max, Kodak Black. If you answered “shopping mall chains,” you’re…not even remotely close. As of this writing, all three are music acts on the Billboard 100.
A tool chest that’s mostly just free Allen wrenches from DIY furniture.
Those tiny wrenches that come with furniture you’re supposed to put together yourself are good for nothing else ever again. Do yourself a favor and throw them away. Your tool chest should be stocked with actual tools, like wrenches and hammers and other instruments of civilization.
A Tinder account.
Remember when dating involved more brain effort than swiping left or right? Of course you do. You’re 50!
Old t-shirts that look like they were attacked by piranhas.
If people take one look at your shirt and say, “Oh my gosh, are you okay? What happened? Do you want me to call the police?,” that may be an indication that your favorite t-shirt is a little too tattered and full of holes to be worn outside in public anymore.
Leaving around stacks of mail you just haven’t gotten around to opening—because maybe they’re bills or maybe it’s just junk mail—is the behavior of a man who’s not quite grown-up enough to face responsibilities. Take the 0.2 seconds to see what’s in those envelopes.
The fact that Justin Bieber wears one should be all the evidence you need.
Your old CD collection.
We know it’s hard to let go. Back when CDs were the dominant audio format, our shelves were lined with our favorite CDs. But we live in a digital age now, and all of your favorite music doesn’t live on little silver discs anymore. Ride along with the rest of us to the era of instant streaming.
You’re 50. You can keep a real one alive.
A bed that never gets made.
“If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed,” Admiral William H. McRaven said, in the 2014 University of Texas Commencement speech. “If you make your bed every morning, you’ll have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride, and it will encourage you do another task. And another. And another.” Leave the crumpled up sheets and blankets to those who may have fewer tasks on their to-do lists (i.e., twenty-somethings).
Just one nice suit.
It’s cute when a kid just has one fancy suit that he wears for church or other formal occasions. Less-so on a 50-year-old. Get a few great suits that work for all occasions: a navy one, two gray ones (one dark and one light), and (trust us) a summer-weight one.
If you need reminding, listen to that Frank Sinatra song again. The Chairman of the Board was 54 when he recorded “My Way,” and it contains a lot of truisms for anyone over 50, especially if you lived your life well. Sure, you’ll have some regrets. But then again, too few to mention. For ideas on what to keep an eye out for, check out the 50 Most Common Regrets People Have in Their 50s.
A car once owned by your parents.
You won’t get retro vibes by driving around your dad’s ’87 Subaru hatchback. You’ll just get a sputtering vehicle that needs its engine checked more often than it needs its tank refilled.
A piece of furniture here or there is okay, but if the majority of your furnishings came from the Swedish company, you look like a 50-year-old who still hasn’t graduated from college. For a look at what’s okay to buy (and what’s not), here are The Best and Worst Deals at Ikea in 2019.
A sickening online comment trail.
The Golden Rule, 2019 edition: If you’ve written it online about a stranger and it would mortify your mom if she ever read it, maybe it’s something that never needed to be written at all. Just sayin’.
Pajama bottoms that are worn anywhere outside your home
Pajama bottoms worn as real-life pants is a look gives that devil-may-care look that so many twenty- and thirty-somethings seek. As any 50-year-old knows, though, the perhaps biggest difference between the decades is that, hey, caring is awesome! And there’s no better way to show the world that you care than by putting just a touch of effort into your look. And if you really want to amp up your style game, here are the 50 Essential Accessories for Men Over 50.
Maxed-out credit cards.
It’s never a good idea to max out your credit card. It’s an even worse idea to let maxed-out credit cards stay maxed-out. Financial experts suggest that about a third of your credit of your credit score is based on how much of your credit line you’ve used up. If that figure is at (or near) 100 percent, and stays there for a while, you can expect your score to plummet—and quickly, too. To get yours to level out, make sure to make the minimum payment every month. And then put a self-imposed three-month moratorium on all credit card expenses. Your score will be right as rain in no time.
Deep V-neck sweaters.
The deep V-neck sweater is more suited for dudes who shave their chests and want to make sure everyone notices. Plus, if you wanted to show off that much of your chest, you shouldn’t have been wearing a sweater in the first place.
The same cologne you wore in high school.
We have nothing against cologne in general, but if it has a name that’s also an adjective commonly used in a romance novel featuring Fabio on the cover—like Axe, Brut, Fierce, Obsession, that sort of thing—maybe it doesn’t belong on your body anymore. At 50, you deserve a distinguished designer fragrance.
Underwear with a funky design or portrait of your favorite fictional or real person.
Your underwear has one job, and that one job is not to announce to the world (or, uh, whoever happens to see your underwear) how much you love Superman.
If you’ve been wearing a woven friendship bracelet for decades, that’s cool. If you wear a bracelet your kid or grandkid made for you, that’s cool, too. Anything else is verboten. Stick with a timeless timepiece (and, if you really want something extra, something made out of a solid sterling).
A t-shirt with profanity on it.
Teenagers wear shirts plastered with foul language for, let’s face it, one reason: to make adults upset. Remember, you’re the adult now!
Yellow towels that should be white.
There’s no reason to be nostalgic about bath towels, especially if they look like they’ve been stored in a musty attic for the past few decades. Towels are relatively inexpensive to replace, and as the first thing that touches your clean body after a bath or shower, you definitely want something that doesn’t smell (or look) like mold.
If you’re so deep into the whole vaping scene that you’ve got power chargers and vape bands and replacement tanks and carrying cases, you’re far too invested in what might be an unhealthy habit. Yes, vaping is “better” (inasmuch as an unhealthy activity can be) than smoking cigarettes, but new research suggests that vaping has been linked to an increased risk for heart attacks and depression. Far better to kick the habit for good.
A frat sweatshirt.
There’s nothing intrinsically wrong about being in a fraternity in college. But there is something a little weird about a 50-year-old still celebrating his frat experience three decades after the fact. At this point, hopefully you’ve made another group of friends that maybe don’t have eight secret handshakes and host keg parties.
A Borat impression.
We’ve all got a conversation starter in our back pocket, a joke or a story that we like to pull out as an icebreaker. Under no circumstances should that be an impression of Borat, the Sasha Baron Cohen character from a movie that’s well over a decade old. The time has officially passed where lines like “Great success,” or “Very nice. How much?” count as funny.
A pet snake
Here’s a short list of pets that are acceptable, in all cases, for a 50-year-old man: cat, dog. Anything else? Reconsider. And if it’s the type of super-dangerous jungle beast that can kill you in a matter of minutes (i.e., a python), don’t even consider.
A Chevy Camaro.
Yes, it’s America’s quintessential muscle car. And it is indeed a great ride. But it’s also the automotive equivalent of a t-shirt that reads, “Welcome to the gun show!”
People who aren’t your brother who you call “bro.”
Calling a non relative a bro—at least, when you’re not Matthew McConaughey, Ryan Lochte, or a side character in a How I Met Your Mother repeat—is confusing and disorienting for everyone. In fact, there’s no reason to call your brother “bro” either. Call everyone by their first name and leave it at that.
Camo is a timeless pattern for one group of people and one group only: the armed forces. For everyone else, it’s a trend. And by 50, you know that trends are rarely, if ever, worth hopping on. Better to stick with classic, timeless looks.
When transition lenses first hit the market, it was nothing short of a paradigm shift. Vision-impaired people no longer needed to cart around two pairs of lenses! How cool! Now that we’re a few years removed from their novelty, however, the truth is apparent: It’s pretty easy to carry around two pairs of lenses.
A Bluetooth headset worn everywhere.
If you’re in a car, it’s all good. You’ll get no judgment from us. In fact, you get bonus points for not using your phone while driving. We’re talking about the guy who walks around with a Bluetooth headset like it’s a fashion accessory, wearing it just to show off that he’s sooo important and could get calls at any moment. Most meetings could be an email. Most phone calls could, too. The only people who should be plugged-in to a phone number at all hours are 911 operatives.
A sun tan.
Novelty belt buckles.
Unless you’re an actual rodeo cowboy, a belt buckle should exist only to keep a belt attached to your waist, not to draw attention to itself. Think of it like good writing: less is more.
Just to be clear, we’re not talking about plastic chairs in your backyard or next to a pool. We mean plastic chairs used as living room furniture, or huddled around the dining room table. It’s not just that they’re uncomfortable, but they make your home seem like it’s a temporary residence. (Hopefully, at 50, your home is not a temporary residence.)
Otherwise known as a fohawk, it’s a hairstyle that looks adorable on a child and slightly amusing on a college student. For everyone else? Well…
A shelf full of books you’ve never read or intend to read.
A bookshelf should be a celebration of your literary journeys, not a sad display of broken promises, the “I’ll get to it someday” wall of shame. If you haven’t read touchstones like Slaughterhouse-Five, Catcher in the Rye, and The Great Gatsby—or if you haven’t read them since college, and even then it was just a skim for credit—they shouldn’t be used as decorations. They’re books, guys, not houseplants. Give them a home where they’ll be pored over with love.
You’ve held on to that favorite sock for years, hoping that someday it’d be reunited with its trusty sidekick. Maybe it’s under a bed or at the back of the closet, or just hiding at the bottom of a hamper. It’s hard to say goodbye to your favorite clothes, we get it. But at 50, you have to start realizing that nothing lasts forever, and that’s certainly true of socks. Give up the chase. You know in your heart that your widower sock is ready for retirement.
A club shirt.
If a shirt has more rhinestones than a Cher costume, there’s only one place it belongs: a Cher concert. (If that sounds good to you, know that Cher is currently on-tour in North America, through November 2019.)
A Costco membership
When you’re in your 20s and still pinching pennies, it’s fine to do most of your shopping at a warehouse where everything comes in bottomless bulk. But by 50, you deserve higher-quality condiments and toiletries (which you’ll find come in sizes far smaller than a metric ton). And for more reasons to steer clear of the mega-store, learn about these 15 Costco “Bargains” That Aren’t Really Bargains at All.
An energy drink logo decal on your car.
Drink the stuff all you want, but there’s no good reason to tell everyone on I-295 that you haven’t blinked in hours.
A tattoo with the name of an ex.
Nothing wrong with a tattoo, friend. But mistakes should be corrected, and any 50-year-old who’s capable of getting “Sheila 4-Ever!” inked into his skin is capable of finding a skilled tattoo artist to cover it up with a more tasteful, artistic tattoo. And if you’re in need of some awesome ink ideas, check out these 100 Amazing Tattoos for First-Timers.
Not only are grudges a pointless waste of time and energy—being angry at somebody for years has never, in the history of human civilization, ended with anyone feeling victorious—but some studies have found that holding a grudge may even put you at risk for coronary heart problems. If you can’t even remember why you were upset with somebody in the first place, make today the day when you finally let it go. You won’t regret it. And for more on life after the big 5-0, here are the 50 Questions You Should Never Ask Someone Over 50.
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