The Weekend Australian - Review - - Rear View - JANE FRASER

AFRIEND of mine, re­cently wid­owed, says she feels as though she is bring­ing up the rear at din­ner and cock­tail par­ties. Friends, feel­ing sorry for her, still in­vite her to events, but she knows it is a mat­ter of time be­fore she is left out in the

won ’ t cold. Her mar­ried friends want her in case she nicks their hus­band, and sin­gle women might re­gard her as un­ac­cept­able com­pe­ti­tion for men al­ready ear­marked.

we’ re I would have thought all far too old to even con­tem­plate such things: surely to heav­ens it would be too much of an ef­fort to start all over again? Ap­par­ently not.

I know we all read about men and women in their dotage meet­ing in old- age homes and

it ’ s get­ting mar­ried. Maybe just me, but this

don ’ t makes me feel squea­mish and I want too much more in­for­ma­tion, thank you very

It’ s much. a bit like gay men want­ing to share with you their ex­pe­ri­ence of com­ing out of the

don’ t rat ’ s. prover­bial closet: I re­ally give a

Last year was a strange one. Far too many peo­ple of close ac­quain­tance fell off the perch and, worse in a way, far too many who have seem­ingly been mar­ried for hun­dreds of years

wasn ’ t called it a day. And it the old cliche of the greedy 1980s, when all that money went

men ’ s, straight to er, heads and they got into the habit of phon­ing their wives from club class air­port lounges to say they had left home and were on the way to Bali with the English nanny.

A male friend who left his wife for a younger ver­sion said the prob­lem was that his wife was be­com­ing more like a mother, telling him

shouldn ’ t what he should and do in the food, ex­er­cise and sleep­ing de­part­ments, whereas the younger one en­cour­aged him to eat, drink and be merry all day and night. He was un­a­mused when I sug­gested the young wo­man was per­haps re­ly­ing on him not liv­ing to a ripe old age.

Not all women feel ag­grieved when their hus­bands go off to the big golf course in the sky: I know of at least five very merry wi­d­ows, free at last of phi­lan­der­ing men. They’ re thriv­ing on their new- found free­dom

there ’ s and have dis­cov­ered more to life than cock­tail par­ties.

Of course, the boot is of­ten on the other foot. I know a wo­man who was rather ea­ger to share her­self with oth­ers while she was mar­ried. It came as a great shock to her when her hus­band said he knew what she had been up to all those years and he was leav­ing her for his preg­nant girl­friend. She was livid.

But women can take care of them­selves, which is just as well. Un­like men, they ex­pect one day to be alone, whereas a man knows that no mat­ter how old, de­crepit, bald, rid­dled with gout or with scorch­ing breath, he will al­ways find a wo­man to take care of him.

that ’ s Oh, well, life.

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