A friend said he was going to a surprise 50th birthday last Saturday night for some lawyer, and that the super-secret arrangements were being handled by the guy’s wife. This struck me right away as something only a wife would do. There’s no way a guy turning 50 is on Cloud Nine about this. He may be spiritually or philosophically at peace with reaching the half-century mark, but on a gut emotional level he’s definitely not delighted with it. At the very best he has mixed feelings. I’ve known guys who were bummed when they hit 30 and a lot of people are freaked when they hit 40, so don’t talk about the big five-oh. But this lawyer guy’s wife wants to celebrate it. People who throw surprise birthday parties are always presumed to be coming from a place of love for the significant others, but if you ask me this is the wife proclaiming to their circle of friends and acquaintances that her husband is passing the official threshold into life’s older phase, and, unless he’s a workout freak, he’ll gradually be taking more in naps and staying home and reading non-fiction and being a bit less of a hot dog in the professional playing field or, if the shoe fits, less of a hound. (I mean, if he had such tendencies when younger.) And that her 50-plus husband is now more likely to be loyal…in a vaguely sleepy, domestic, I’d-rather-watch-TV sense. Wives love to subtly advertise that their husbands are less available for whatever. This is why some of them feed their husbands so much food…to make them look slightly pudgy, so they’ll be less attractive to other women.