What Women Want. or Not.

Posted on December 7, 2020


Visualize this: A band of young people (young, because their life span is less than 30 years), slogging along over some unnamed terrain that would one day boast mile after mile of Targets, Home Depots, Wal Marts, and unlimited fast food and pizza restaurants. Now there is only endless nothing. One female is getting testy. She’s hungry and cold and she has a toothache and she is absolutely sure that the Little Ice Age has no end in sight. Worse, she has no one to kvetch to. Everyone is involved in their own misery as they put one hide-covered foot in front of the other. She needs to scream “Fuck!” as loudly as she can, but that word hasn’t been invented yet. It will take another 31, 500 years, and she won’t last that long. She thinks that she needs a partner, someone she can vent to. She doesn’t know what that would look like, but she looks at the available humans in sight and imagines who might be the best possibility. She is so distracted, in fact, that she completely misses a large crevasse in the ice-covered ground and hurtles head first into it. The band trudges on, her would-be partner oblivious to what could have been.

It’s no secret that humans have pared off ever since the first human noted that life was far easier to deal with when they weren’t restricted to kvetching to some random rock, and, unlike the hapless young women before her, took immediate action. For thousands of years, pairs tended to be one male and one female, affording women a certain amount of protection and fresh kill while they were tending to their young. This system worked pretty well as long as life spans were short and the idea of what constituted a “partner” had a wide variety of meanings.

Problems arose when partners were well past the age of procreation, looked at each other and forgot why on earth they had gotten themselves into such an unworkable situation with another person. But society didn’t approve of relationship dissolution, so humans tended to stay connected and instead, came up with various creative ways to get by. Life in the Boomer Lane has often noted that almost all older women living in ancient villages throughout the world wear mourning black from about age 60 on and seem to be quite content with their lives. They obviously found a creative solution to their problem.

In recent times, societies have become more accepting of both divorce and of co-habitation. The result has been that the divorce rate among oldsters has gone up, the rate of co-habitation has gone down, and fewer female villagers are wearing black. Instead, a growing number of older women are pronouncing their lives as “just swell, thank you.”

Luckily, a Loyal Reader has sent LBL a recent article, “The New Reality of Dating Over 65” in theglobeandmail.com. The piece details the reasons why this phenomenon is happening.

While many single women over the age of 65 do want male companionship, they don’t relish the thought of moving in with a man. They see the downside of co-habitation to include loss of independence, caregiving, sacrifices, and nightly hearing the words, “What’s for dinner?” after one has been released from that bondage for a long time. In 2017, a General Social Survey found that 72 percent of senior-age women were highly satisfied living on their own.

There’s a general belief that single older men are as elusive as support bras and that it’s impossible for single older women to actually spot them between the hours of 6 AM and midnight. The truth, though, is that men like companionship, especially when that companionship lives in residence. Men also like being taken care of, while women say they like taking care of themselves. Women usually have large networks of friends. Men rarely do. Many women have, in their marriages, been cast as a sort of cruise ship social director, providing their husbands with any number of people and events that allow said husbands to appear to be normal, sociable types.

So, what’s going on here? LBL has female friends who remarried happily late in life. She has friends who are unmarried and living together. She has friends who have partners but live apart from them. She also has friends who, for one reason or another, are not interested in any of that. In one case, she knows a married couple who each lives in their own condo.

There is no one answer for everyone, only an awareness that single households (of all ages) are on the rise. One things she is absolutely sure of is that if one had a peek into the thoughts of said happy singles, one would occasionally hear them wish they had someone to kvetch to. The good news for them is that the word “Fuck” is now available to them. The bad news is that it doesn’t have quite the same impact when said to one’s cat or dog or TV.

At 3 AM on the morning of November 4, LBL sat in her dark living room watching the presidential returns roll in. Trump’s lead kept growing, seemingly with no end in sight. It wasn’t enough to scream at the TV. LBL ran into the bedroom, where now Husband was blissfully sleeping. She stood at the foot of the bed and yelled, “There is no FUCKING way Biden is going to win this!” Now Husband, unceremoniously roused from a sound sleep, could muster only “Whaa? Huh?” while LBL ranted. Finally exhausted, LBL went back to the living room and promptly feel asleep in front of the TV. Now Husband was then up fretting for the rest of the night.

LBL is happily partnered. She will always be grateful to share her living space with her life partner, as well as for whoever invented the word “Fuck.”