Don’t blame Meghan for going out without Harry – midlife men are happy to be left at home

Us boring middle-aged dads would far sooner stay in to watch a documentary about grouting on UKTV Sheds, and we don’t care who knows it

Meghan with Kerry Washington and Kelly Rowland
Meghan enjoying a night out at Beyoncé’s concert in LA with Kerry Washington and Kelly Rowland Credit: WireImage

When Meghan went to Beyoncé’s big concert in Los Angeles on Monday without her husband, people were bound to talk. Why wasn’t Harry with her? All right, so he’d seen Beyoncé earlier in her run of shows (and looked pretty bored while he was there). But the Sussexes know all too well that, whenever Meghan is photographed having the time of her life without Harry, it sets tongues wagging. So why had she so conspicuously left her husband behind?

Sadly the couple have not taken me into their confidence. Frankly, though, I very much doubt that his absence implies anything untoward. Quite the opposite, in fact. I bet Harry couldn’t have been happier.

Because the truth is, there’s nothing that we midlife men love better than being left home alone by our wives.

One of the best things about growing older, I’ve long felt, is that you no longer have to pretend to enjoy going out. When you’re a young man, you feel miserably compelled to go to parties, nightclubs and other social events every night God sends. Partly this is because you’re desperate to meet a woman (or to maintain the interest of the one you’ve got). But it’s also because you’re insecure. You go out because you don’t want other people to think you’re a boring Billy no-mates.

Happily, by the time you reach your late 30s – like Harry – you’ve shed this juvenile insecurity, and can finally admit to yourself, and the world, that you’d far sooner stay in to watch a documentary about grouting on UKTV Sheds. Yes, you’re a boring middle-aged dad – and you don’t care who knows it.

Women, however, aren’t like this. They’re wired to be sociable and outgoing. Even in midlife, they lose none of their zeal for getting out and about. They might not go dancing in Soho till 4am quite so often. But they do start joining book clubs, and taking spin classes, and getting involved in local community groups organising litter-picks and charity bake sales. The sort of activities, in short, that most of us men steer well clear of. Not that we have anything against them, per se. It’s just that, well, they sound a bit too much like hard work. You know: doing things and talking to people. Nightmare.

Of course, there is a downside to men’s midlife unsociability. While our wives make energetic efforts to keep up with their old friends – and even, incredibly, to make new ones – we men tend to lose touch with ours. According to one poll, a third of British men say they have no close friends at all. And experts say a shortage of friends is bad not just for our mental health, but our physical health, too.

Still, I’m sure Harry knows all this. I expect it was just nice for him to have a night off from the exhausting showbiz whirl that is Meghan’s social life. Like the rest of us his age, I imagine he’ll have gratefully seized the opportunity to relax, dress as scruffily as he likes and not have to make dutiful small talk with people he’ll never meet again.

There is, of course, one other great benefit to being left home alone. You can do all the things you can’t do when your wife’s around. In my case, cook steak (my wife’s vegetarian), watch action films (she can’t stand them) and play electric guitar (I’m so unlistenably inept that playing it within her earshot would risk immediate divorce proceedings).

So on Monday night, no doubt, Harry had a whale of a time, enjoying all the wickedly illicit pleasures he couldn’t possibly get away with in the presence of Meghan. What those pleasures might be, we can only speculate. Reading Jeremy Clarkson, perhaps, or putting the recycling in the wrong bin.