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Men age like fine wine, women age like milk: A MGTOW meme FACT-CHECK

Not so fast, MGTOWs

By David Futrelle

Manosphere dudes love to spread their ideas, such as they are, through memes. And most of these memes are just plain terrible — badly designed, vaguely incomprehensible, and full of blatant misinformation.

I’ve made fun of assorted manosphere meme fails many times here on We Hunted the Mammoth, but I haven’t ever made a concerted attempt to fact-check their claims. So I’m going to start doing that.

Here’s the first meme on my list.

THE CLAIM: Women age like milk, men age like wine.

This central claim of this meme — that men age better than women — is a favorite folk belief of the modern Man Going His Own Way, and MGTOW memers like to illustrate this point with photos of the two main stars of the 1986 movie Top Gun — Tom Cruise and Kelly McGillis — from the movie itself and as they look today, more than 30 years later. This is the newest version of the meme I’ve been able to find:

In order to properly assess this claim, you’d need a representative sample of people of various ages and a reasonably objective way to judge their relative attractiveness (perhaps using some sort of large survey in which a representative sampling of people judged a set of pictures).

What we’ve got instead is a sample of two, and the person doing the judging is the sort of dude who sits around making MGTOW memes in his spare time. Not only is the sample way too small to be statistically significant, but it’s also wildly unrepresentative, given that one of the two subjects is Tom Cruise, a genetic freak who doesn’t appear to age. Normally you’d throw him out of any data sampling as an outlier.

Using him to represent how men, on average, age makes about as much sense as using, say, Helen Mirren as your example of how women, on average, age. I mean, here’s Helen Mirren at the Oscars in 2002, when she was about the same age as Cruise is now (56).

And here she is in a bikini at the age of 62.

I mean, who can compete with that? I’ve got more than a few years to go before I hit 62, and I certainly don’t look that good in a bikini.

Tom Cruise, like Helen Mirren, is a decidedly non-representative data point.

You don’t even have to expand your data set very much to see just how unrepresentative Cruise is. All you have to do is to look at some current pics of some of the other male stars from Top Gun.

Here’s Anthony Edwards today, looking neither like fine wine or curdled milk bur rather like a dude in his mid-fifties, which is what he is:

Val Kilmer, now 59, is fighting freaking cancer, which is a motherfucker.

Tim Robbins, at 60 years old., still retains some of his perpetual boyish charm, but there probably aren’t a lot of teenage girls with this picture tacked to their wall.

The point is: different men age differently, and very few of them — even Hollywood stars — age as gracefully as Tom Cruise.

So that’s the men. What about Kelly McGillis, who’s now 61? Well, in the recent picture in the meme above she certainly doesn’t look much like curdled milk to me. I mean, sure, she doesn’t look like she did in Top Gun, but if THIS is your example of a 60-year-old who’s aged badly you seriously need your eyes (or your brain) checked.

But again, basing your aging expectations on Hollywood stars is a bit ridiculous. The real world tends to be a bit less less glamorous.. Some age gracefully, some not so much, and I’m pretty sure it has little to do with their gender.

And let’s not even get into that chart, which isn’t based on any actual data but rather is just something some dude put together using data points he pulled from his ass. Also, if you look at the age range across the bottom, it appears that the graph maker thinks 11-year-old girls are more sexually attractive than 50 year-old-women? Jesus fucking Christ.

VERDICT: The meme maker’s claim is unsubstaintiated, due to small and unrepresentative sample size and blatant misreading of the data. And the only thing the chart proves is that the chart maker should probably be on some registry somewhere.

You may be left wondering how gracefully MGTOWs themselves age. Well, I don’t have a representative sample to work off of, but I do have some anecdotal evidence in the form of the video below, showing an assortment of mostly middle-aged Men’s Rights Activists and MGTOWs enjoying themselves at a retreat organized by A Voice for Men.

Though this video practically reeks of alcohol, I have to say I’m not seeing a lot of fine wine here.

Now growing old gracelessly isn’t a crime or a moral failing; how you look at any age is really no one’s business but your own. But MGTOWs like to throw a lot of stones, and it appears that in this case, as in so many others, their homes are made of pure glass.

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87 replies on “Men age like fine wine, women age like milk: A MGTOW meme FACT-CHECK”

I recommend Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief. It’s an HBO production and has some absolutely appalling things in it. I wasn’t a fan before I learned about Cruise’s involvement in Scientology, but I’m positively allergic to his films now. Like cornychips said, he is evil.

@Buttercup Q. Skullpants

I’m starting to wonder if any MGTOW are under age 40, considering how convinced they are that every straight women has designs on Brad Pitt, George Clooney, and Tom Cruise. I suspect that clueless tone deafness is part of their schtick, though. They can’t use celebrities that women actually admire, or they risk being branded a white knight beta orbiting simp.

This is just off the top of my head, but I feel that in the past thirty years, standards of male beauty have undergone one of their regular shifts from square-jawed to pointy-chinned (Hiddleston, Cumberbatch, etc.). Square jaws tend to be read as manly (see male beauty standards of the 40s and 50s, back when men were men, dammit), so clearly all alphas must be square-jawed, while longer, slimmer faces are more effeminate, so clearly the current crop of male hotties aren’t panties-wetting in the right way. Therefore MGTOWs go back to the most recent crop of square-jawed hotties for their examples.

Or, as you say, they haven’t moved on from the male hotties of their youth.

Or their only ideas about what women want come from trashy magazines at the supermarket that, for some reason, won’t stop putting Pitt and Cruise on their covers.

Note: I have not actually studied male beauty standards in any depth, this is all just an impression I have.


AO3 can generate RSS from your searches, which will only display fics you didn’t see before so old stuff or frequent updates won’t clutter your feed (it has a follow option for that).

As both a user and a software dev IRL¹, that is a sweet feature that more sites should offer and shows how on-the-ball the AO3 team is IMO.


I write fanfic, so I’ve been seeing us all asking “wait, does this mean we’re ALL Hugo-nominated writers now?” I expect the nomination is more for the concept/interface, but I’ll take it.

Alas, I believe the nomination is, like you say, in some sort of “related” category which has been in the past been given for editorial and outreach efforts of various kinds. But, still, I’m hoping the nomination is bringing bubbles of froth to the lips of Vox Day and other Distempered Puppies and that makes me happy.

¹ When I can get work, that is. Chronic pain sucks. ☹️

@ Cat Mara:

Well, the founders and several hundred volunteers who run the site certainly deserve acclaim. Especially the tag-wranglers.

Rabid Rabbit,

That could be part of it. I’m sure the return of teen girls lusting after boy band members is disconcerting for them too. It shows that young women prefer guys closer in age to them than men old enough to be their fathers. That definitely conflicts with their bio truths.

Then again, there are plenty of more current alpha male looking celebrities they could fixate on. Like Chris Hemsworth or Idris Elba. I mean, Idris is a double whammy. In addition to being a sexy manly man, he’s black, but women of all races, including the white ones love him. Misandry and white genocide rolled into one! Same goes for Jason Momoa.

@tim gueguen:

Vox Day fanfiction is a disturbing idea, but I’m sure there’s at least a couple of examples out there.

Somebody must have shipped Vox Day and Scalzi.

Of someone is over 50 and has a firm jawline, I strongly suspect they had plastic surgery. Doesn’t matter if it’s a man or woman. Not that I have anything against plastic surgery.

RE: Tom Cruise

I seem to remember, about 10 to 15 years ago, he fired his publicist, and hired a family member in their place. The blog rules don’t permit me to say what I think…let’s just say that the first publicist was MUCH BETTER at their job.

AO3 is a delight to interact with. Whether uploading a story or searching for stories, it works beautifully.

They have a money drive every six to nine months, and they always go over their goals, usually by quite a bit, mostly in $5 to $10 dollar increments. Most of the money is for hardware/server space. Most of the work is more or less crowd sourced to hundreds of volunteers.

And it hosts an amazing amount of truly marvelous fiction. Sturgeon’s
Law definitely applies but when you have hundreds of thousands of stories in the more popular fandoms, you’ll still have more than you can possibly read of good, free, stuff.

And to add a bit of loonacy, here is the story with by far the most kudos on the site: (Please note the warnings. Also, read the comments)

That’s more or less the same thing as saying that men’s work being more valued proves it’s more valuable.

We’ve already debunked the idea that men are fertile into old age right? Because the chance of producing offspring with birth defects or that will result in miscarriage even from a young partner skyrockets from age 40 onward for men (potentially younger than women actually ending their fertile period through menopause), we’ve covered that, right?

My wife and I have talked about asking my brother to be a sperm donor for us to have a kid, but besides the massive awkwardness, we’ve also ruled it out because he’s 44 and we don’t want the high risk associated with older men’s babies.

MGTOWs are overfermenting into vinegar while women are aging into sharp cheddar, and none of them are really getting a lot of interest from teenagers.

I know these idiots love their pretend version of history where old men married virgin little girls, but in reality most people married people around their age (at around 16-20 for first marriages). Most people even in child marriages didn’t have their first child until they were physically fully grown up, because pregnancy and child birth have been major health risks even for healthy adult women throughout history and it would be stupid for people without modern medical care to stack the deck against themselves like that. And some older, wealthier men with young brides (because men remarried if they could after their wives died in child birth, as I’ve seen countless times studying my own genealogy – far more often than women got the chance to remarry) were not necessarily raising their own biological children, if there were virile stable boys and man servants available…

Did these jackholes get the memo on ANY of that yet?


Re: the graph, is anyone else driven to distraction by the fact that the Y axis doesn’t use numbers, but instead goes from BAD to GOOD? How much is a Unit of Bad? Why are infant girls, 15 year old boys, and 50 year old women all 1 Bad?

Also, are we speaking about some philosophical concept of inherent human goodness/badness? Or should we infer it actually refers to people being good/bad at some functional quality that’s comparable across two genders and many ages?

And why does the whole thing stop at age 50?

Maybe the badness of older women or goodness of older men goes over 9000, so it can’t be measured?

(Now I imagine an aging woman’s personal growth story titled “Beth – Bad and Beyond”)

How are Vox Day and Scalzi related? And is this Scalzi the science fiction author Scalzi?

The thing I really like about the graph is that enough accumulated units of Bad become Good. It’s not my experience with, say, GPA or credit scores, but I shall hold out renewed hope.

As a french, I feel compelled to say that even if wine almost universally age better than milk, wine actually have a point after which it degrade instead of going better.

Anecdotal experience lead me to think that both milk (two week before going bad) and wine (usually 4-5 years) age significantly faster than human, even if wine *do* have outlier who have human-like time before best consumption.

Both wine and milk also are much quicker to be palatable ; milk is consumable almost immediatly, wine depending on the exact one can take from several week to a couple year. As for human, I formally advice against eating babies ; human flesh is only good once childish delusions have been shattered and idealism have soured, which can take anywhere from ten year to sixty years. In some case, it never happen, in which case I advice against consumption.

… maybe I got a bit carried away.

@Lurker LXVII:

The thing I really like about the graph is that enough accumulated units of Bad become Good. It’s not my experience with, say, GPA or credit scores, but I shall hold out renewed hope.

It absolutely is the way those work. See, if you do a bit badly in GPA you fail your course and if you spend too long in arrears on your $1500 apartment rent you end up homeless.

On the other hand, if you do so horridly in GPA they seal all your school records and say “let us never speak of this again”, and if you also have multiple big messy billion-dollar bankruptcies, you end up becoming the President of the United States.

@Lurker LXVII

Vox Day is Theodore Beale, a writer of mediocre to poor fiction.

John Scalzi is a writer of rather popular and entertaining fiction.

Both were members of Science Fiction Writers of America, until Beale was kicked out for being a shameless bigot.

It’s Beale’s belief that the primary advocate for his expulsion was Scalzi; thus, in the mind of Theodore Beale, this made John Scalzi his nemesis; a delusion in which he persists to this day.

It’s funny. And of course if there was ever fanfic made of it, there would be a current of homoerotic rage-lust underpinning it.

@Lurker XVIII, dashapants:
Actually, it dates back before that. One year, Vox Day was actually on the Nebula committee (which isn’t a full jury, but which is allowed to add selections to the list to be voted on). Discussion came up on Electrolite (one of the precursor blogs to the modern ‘Making Light’ from Patrick and Teresa Nielsen Hayden) about some of the horrible things Day had previously said and whether he was a proper fit for being on such a committee given his rather open misogyny and racism. Scalzi originally started off with ‘being a horrible person and a good judge of SF aren’t necessarily incompatible’.

Then Vox Day showed up and was his usual smug arrogant self all over the comments, and any trace of sympathy rather rapidly withered away. By the end of it, after a a fair bit of argument in which Scalzi showed his wordsmithing skill by leading Day over various rhetorical landmines, Day eventually got banned from the thread, leading Scalzi to comment, ‘Aww, but there’s still candy in him!’

After realizing that Day was pretty much stalking Scalzi’s own blog after being banned from there too, Scalzi started referring to him as the RHSD or RSHD (for Racist, Sexist, Homophobic Dipshit) rather than his chosen nom de plume and started doing things like donating to charities for every rant in which Scalzi was mentioned on Day/Beale’s own blog, up to a set limit. Basically operating under the maxim that the best way to deal with someone who takes himself as self-importantly as Day was to ignore him when he’s quiet and mock him when he sticks his head up.

In general, there seems to be a lot of alt-right SF hatred for Scalzi, mostly based on the assumption that as a white cis-male rural American who writes military SF, he should be ‘one of them’… when instead he openly mocks everything they stand for. As well as being more popular than most of them. His existence and popularity are a direct threat to a lot of fragile masculine worldviews.

Regarding the aging of wine vs. dairy products: IIRC a discussion about wine came up on David Malki!’s website a few years back after he did a Wondermark strip called “The Oenophile’s Quandary.” According to one reader who sent a link to an article by an actual oenophile, wine only improves with age for the first few months or years, although once it has reached perfection it can be held in that state for quite some time, if stored properly. The *price* of wine keeps going up the older it gets, but that’s because desirable vintages become rarer as more and more bottles from that year are drunk.

So basically, after the first few years, wine ages like comic books (or other collectibles):

Given Vox Day’s long, long list of outrages against common decency– bigotry, sexism, body-shaming, racism, homophobia, transphobia, you name it, he will hold the most repellent position on it– and the fact that I’m an atheist, it seems almost petty to mention how much it bugs me to hear hear the repugnant toe-rag Theodore Beale refer to himself as the “voice of God” (vox Dei). Certainly, in the scheme of things, it is a minor matter, a mere rotten cherry atop the fetid sundae of human waste, sun-ripened jackals’ entrails and stale baboons’ jism that is Beale’s contribution to online discourse but it vexes me nonetheless. Perhaps because I still retain some residual belief in the transcendent and, to quote Jean-Luc Picard from the ST:TNG episode Tapestry, “the Universe isn’t that badly designed”…

@Jenora Feuer, @dashapants

Thanks for the history. 🙂 I’m glad it turned out Scalzi’s fine: I like Scalzi’s books and I’m glad to know I can go ahead and enjoy future ones without qualms. I had to give up Orson Scott Card for being a terrible person, and I was afraid that would happen here when I asked. XD

@Cat Mara

I wondered if that was the etymology of it, but thought I must be wrong because no one would be that arrogant. I forgot about mediocre white men.

@ Surplus to Requirements

Fair point. Regrettably, no one is willing to give me a small loan to help me achieve enough units of Bad to get to those heights on the scale.

Although I admit I’m surprised no one leaked his transcripts yet.

Vox Day fanfiction is a disturbing idea, but I’m sure there’s at least a couple of examples out there.

Given that there is Ea-Nasir fanfic out there–

(Ea-Nasir was a guy who, about 1750 BCE inspired a deeply angry customer service letter about the bad quality of copper he was trading in, and IIRC, some other complaint letters about other business ventures. He has become something of a cult favorite in the present century. There are at least two fanfics I’ve seen in which Nanni, the angry customer, tracks him down, and they have a good old Mesopotamian hate-fuck, and/or fall in love.)

I can never think of Vox Day without thinking “historical verisimilitude”.

It is literally impossible to write something about Vox Day that makes him appear more ridiculous than the things written by Vox Day already do.

@Podkayne Lives:

Every so often I check AO3 for obscure fandoms. Last time I checked for Ea-Nasir fics there were at least eight. My favourite was the dialogue between one of his disgruntled customers and a scribe who was patiently telling him that he could not in good conscience take down a letter that was simply “Ea-Nasir is a Jackal’s bastard” written out sixteen times.

@Lurker LXVII:
Scalzi, amongst other things, is pretty good with owning his mistakes when he makes them. He also wrote an entire article on his blog called ‘Straight White Male: The Lowest Difficulty Setting There Is’ in which he attempts to explain the concept of privilege while deliberately avoiding the word because the sorts of people he would be using this explanation on have already decided that ‘privilege’ is a word just used to make them feel bad.

(I also liked his response when another author called him ‘gay’ as an insult; Scalzi basically went, ‘Umm, the fact that you think gay is an insult says more about you than it does about me.’ When the author in question later apologized, Scalzi responded with ‘I don’t need an apology, because I wasn’t insulted. You need to apologize to everybody else you smeared by assuming gay was an insult.’)

With regards to ‘Vox Day’… also remember that this is a guy who was a columnist for World Net Daily, and is the son of tax protestor and borderline sovereign citizen Robert Beale, who was also one of the people working on Pat Robertson’s presidential campaign. He comes from a family that has been alt-right before alt-right was a thing, and is on the outs with a lot of the modern alt-right because he wants to be the main grifter and he’s being left behind by a movement that cares even less than him about the thinnest veneer of plausible deniability.

@ cat mara

a mere rotten cherry atop the fetid sundae of human waste, sun-ripened jackals’ entrails and stale baboons’ jism that is Beale’s contribution to online discourse

I believe that is the most eloquent insult I have ever read in my 71 years of bookwormery.

@Jenora Feuer:

With regards to ‘Vox Day’… also remember that this is a guy who was a columnist for World Net Daily, and is the son of tax protestor and borderline sovereign citizen Robert Beale, who was also one of the people working on Pat Robertson’s presidential campaign. He comes from a family that has been alt-right before alt-right was a thing,

Given that pedigree, can we even classify him as “alt” right? That’s mainstream right, right there. AOR right. Hair metal right. Christian rock ri– you get the picture 😉. Which makes his “how do you do, fellow kids?” attempts to ingratiate himself with the new fashy cool crowd all the more pathetic.

@GrumpyOld SocialJusticeMangina:

I believe that is the most eloquent insult I have ever read in my 71 years of bookwormery.

Thank you very much. It’s fun to let one’s inner Hunter S. Thompson out for a spin sometimes! 😉

Not only is Helen Mirren gorgeous – now as then – my husband had his first ever date with her when they were both 15 or 16.

They went for a frothy coffee in Southend where they were both at school.

@Cat Mara:
You’re right on that, and that sort of thing is why Vox eventually got kicked off of Gab. Vox is a capable wordsmith, and prefers saying his horrible things with just barely enough wiggle-room and vagueness such that he can pretend to be offended when called out on what he’s said. “I didn’t say that was a good thing, I just said that it made perfect sense from a social control standpoint to throw acid in people’s faces.” That sort of thing. Playing Xeno’s Paradox with the line of what’s acceptable to say.

Which means that he doesn’t like the more up-front and unwilling to be quiet sorts because they’re provoking more pushback, and the up-front sorts consider him to sound just like the sort of intellectual they despise.

Vox Day is nothing but an attention seeking troll that will intentionally say whatever is the most vile thing he can think of to garner popularity with the “being offensive is the same thing as being sincere” crowd. He does not maintain plausible deniability to anyone but the most denial dedicated nazis.

I don’t think it’s the fact that Men physically age better tham women. It’s that most Men and Women use diffrent metrics for attraction.

The normal course of a life is that your social status (esteem, career, accomplishments) accumulates while you physical beauty goes down – both for men and women.

Men value beauty more, while woman value social status more – thus women are losing the important attribute and gaining the less important one, while men are gaining the important attribute and losing the less important one.

Which is why when there are big age gaps in relationships, it’s nearly always the woman who is younger – she likes the social status of the older man, and he likes the beaty of he younger woman – it’s a win/win.

His entire argument suggests that MGTOWs are using such memes to prove the saying. It is merely to present examples, and many more are used than this one photo the author of this article focuses on. (Check out Red Pill Bill on youtube – he has TONS of examples). However, no on needs to prove this fact, because everyone sees it before their eyes. A 21 year old man is rarely as good looking as he is at 35. The opposite is true about females. If you are going to ignore what you see before your own face, I would not be surprised if a bolder slams into it one day and you still insist it was a snowflake. This article posts a swimsuit picture of her with her face obscured. Big deal she has a stunning body FOR HER AGE. She looks terrible compared to what she did look like. The same cannot be said for Cruise. Then he goes on to post Tim Robbins who was never good looking. The best criticism anyone can make about this saying is to point out that wine continues to improve by age, whereas a man has a limit: hardly will he be as good looking at 95 as he was at 50. The saying is meant to make a point, not be taken literally in every aspect. That females lose their beauty at an alarming rate comparatively, and that they dupe men into marriage just before they hit 30 and that beauty fades, makes MGTOW humanitarian to show these photo’s and warn men not to bait the bait for it won’t be long until that bait turns sour in their mouths.

What I think kinda gross is that they have a graph suggesting women or girls above the age of 10 „start to get good until they are 20..““…. like sure a 12 year old to them is kinda …what?! .what the duck? 12 year old girls are children and shouldn’t be represented in the „when women are at their best“ graph. Soooooo gross. I can’t believe this.

I think it’s kinda fair say that men overall do age „slower“…meaning a 40 year old male could the valuable as a 32 year old women (attractiveness). That is ok, maybe men have 5-10 years more time. But to think that men age like wine is…funny. The average male will not look great after 45, at least not to women in their 20s. To them a man in his 20s is far more attractive. Most men don’t look like Prad Pitt (and even he is made to appear younger in movies). Money isn’t sexy either, considering women who date „ugly“ rich men don’t think those men are attractive, but only the money. Looking at statistics young Women dating older men is pretty rare. Not that there is something wrong with that. But yeah.

Also keeping in Mind That yes even men’s fertility drops significantly after age 40-45. The chances of the child having autism, schizophrenia and so old increases. And it takes way longer for the wife to get pregnant if her husband is old (regardless of her age). Sure, fertility problems with age do have bigger effects on women (bc they carry the Child…) but men DO NOT age like fine wine.

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