The new rules of how to be sexy as a midlife man

·4-min read
Brad Pitt shows how to be fit-but-not-smug in the new De’Longhi coffee ads - De’Longhi
Brad Pitt shows how to be fit-but-not-smug in the new De’Longhi coffee ads - De’Longhi

Look at this picture of Brad Pitt. What do you see? A relaxed, fit, long-haired Brad drinking a fancy cup of coffee in a sleek, open-plan, minimalist kitchen. What else? A chunky signet ring, a wristful of bracelets, a forearm tattoo, a bit of a greying beard – but neat, not the unwashed stubble of Brad’s tricky artist phase – and in the background, a conspicuous coffee machine. You may not have heard of De’Longhi (we certainly hadn’t) but Brad is their new brand ambassador, following in the footsteps of George “Nespresso” Clooney, and he’s starring in their latest TV ad.

In it, Pitt plays himself, more or less, and if you’re interested in what it takes to be hot like Brad, then you’ll want to google it directly. If you’ve ever asked yourself how a man pushing 60 maintains his sex appeal in 2021, once his bum-flaunting days are behind him (a picture posted on Victoria Beckham’s Instagram this week, of husband David “relaxing poolside”, with his bottom half poking out of his trunks, confirms that 46 is still OK for bum-flaunting) then this provides some pointers.

Alternatively, if you literally can’t be bothered, we’ve summarised the essentials…

Grind your own beans

In the ad, Brad drops into his local Los Angeles coffee store, on his motorcycle, to get his regular order of beans (he grinds his own, naturally). Then he stops off to get his bike tinkered with by a man who drinks cappuccino in a thick glass, (not Nescafe out of a chipped mug covered in axle grease), because they are both the kind of guys who value quality and craftsmanship and are prepared to take the time to get the best results. In the old days, your well-maintained older bloke in an ad got his appeal from sailing a boat, or rounding up cattle, or playing blackjack, or toying with a highball glass half full of Jack Daniel’s. Now it’s a lot easier. There is a lot we can read into grinding your own beans. Bean-grinding indicates taste, patience, sensitivity. Well, it does now.

Be the guy who’s prepared to wait

In the next scene, Brad is filling his motorcycle with petrol, but what he will not be doing is going into that gas station (we’re in California) and getting himself a Ginsters and a takeaway coffee. Brad is heading home to make a curated cup of coffee. He is very much up for delayed gratification; we can tell he is the type who does not hold with takeaway cups. Also, he’s a planner. If he had a partner with a birthday, he would not wait until 5pm, remember, panic and then pick up some wilted flowers and a bottle of warm spumante from the 7-Eleven. He would have the whole evening mapped out. And not just because he’s rich.

Flash your forearms, not your bum

Brad is fit, we know this. As recently as 2019 we were extremely impressed by his bare torso in Tarantino’s Once Upon A Time… in Hollywood. He could absolutely give Becks a run for his money in the hench department, no problem. But successful, attractive midlife man knows that less is more when it comes to flesh revealing. They could have done the whole ad with him stripped to the waist watering the garden, hose in one hand, double espresso in the other; or approaching the De’Longhi from the shower wearing a micro-towel. That would have been good. But it would not have made the point that being fit-but-not-smug is the midlife bullseye. (It’s the any-age bullseye. We really can’t fancy Beckham now that he is desperate for us to love his body… which, BTW, could be a hair loss compensatory thing, don’t you think?)

Be the kind of guy who gets his kicks from the simple things

When Brad eventually saunters into his infinite open-plan house, what’s he looking forward to? A bunga-bunga pool party? A punishing Peloton workout? Cooking up wagyu beef on his teppanyaki hob? No he’s anticipating drinking a frothy cappuccino, and not just because he’s had to give up booze. These kind of simple aspirations are especially attractive in midlife men when the alternative can be getting seriously into red wine, or battlefield tours, or deciding they need to build a house in a field.

Have a GSOH

Be prepared to laugh at yourself. We feel De’Longhi has missed a trick here. Where’s the twist when we discover Brad is actually housesitting for his more successful neighbour George Clooney? Or where Jennifer Aniston comes over and teases him for still drinking cappuccino? Where’s the director saying “cut” and Pitt fussing about his lighting and hair? Never mind. Next time.

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