Older men, on the other hand, often serve as a reminder of what we are left with when we choose patriarchy instead of working towards a solidarity with women. Just to look at them is to break my heart. I usually get a good dose of this around the holidays.
One of the elder patriarchs in my extended family could be a very impressive person, all the more so in the twilight of his life. Why don't men understand that they will grow old, get sick, and die? This bastard hasn't lifted a finger in preparation. But his advancing years won't accommodate him like his partner always has. Now he feels cheated, having done everything he was "supposed" to do as a man; namely, to assert himself as such, and reap the benefits thereof!
I'm desperate for any male mentor who speaks from the advantage of a life lived in close proximity to death. What do I need to be doing now, while I can still choose? But most of these older men are stuck as if they still want to be boys. They can't even acknowledge where they are, except to complain.
It saddens me to say that many male elders exist for me as brilliant examples of what I must avoid at all costs! Of course, this is helpful in its own way; tragedies often are. Where some men bicker with others over petty, prideful things, I will have to practice simple humility. Where they are self-consumed, I'll have to be outwardly-engaged. And where they are estranged from their partners and loved ones, to say nothing of women in general, I know that I will want closeness.