Women are al­ways bet­ter at liv­ing alone

Wid­de­combe

Daily Express - - NEWS -

THERE have been a num­ber of sur­veys re­cently on the liv­ing ar­range­ments of the pop­u­la­tion. Ap­par­ently a third of those aged 45 to 64 live alone due, among other fac­tors, to the ris­ing rate of di­vorce and to the rise in num­bers of those not mar­ry­ing at all. A third of men aged 20 to 34 and a fifth of women still live at home with their par­ents.

In a sep­a­rate study, just un­der half of sin­gle men and two thirds of sin­gle women are con­tent to be on their own.

From this I de­duce that not much changes. Firstly, women are more self-suf­fi­cient than men: they leave home ear­lier and cope well on their own. Sec­ondly, af­ter a half cen­tury of ex­per­i­ment­ing with young peo­ple set­ting up their own homes with the ink not yet dry on their grad­u­a­tion cer­tifi­cates, fam­i­lies are once more liv­ing to­gether in a way that used to be taken ut­terly for granted. Thirdly, there is still a sec­tion of the pop­u­la­tion which ac­tively prefers its own com­pany.

I grew up at a time when ex­tended fam­i­lies were per­fectly nor­mal and no­body found it at all re­mark­able if grand­par­ents were liv­ing with their chil­dren and grand­chil­dren.

Then some­how this was re­garded as odd and the “nu­clear fam­ily” of mum, dad and 2.2 chil­dren be­came the norm. Next came the gen­er­a­tion of sin­gle-par­ent house­holds as cou­ples split up and chil­dren ro­tated be­tween sep­a­rate house­holds, of­ten ac­quir­ing new sib­lings along the way as par­ents re­mar­ried and in­tro­duced their new young.

Why should it be a source of con­cern that there are house­holds where the chil­dren re­main at home into adult­hood or un­til they them­selves marry? Why is it a right to be able to af­ford a house with the first pay packet? Surely we should rather cel­e­brate the mix­ing of gen­er­a­tions liv­ing to­gether.

Fi­nally, why should it be any sur­prise to any­one that there are peo­ple who ac­tively pre­fer to live alone? Count­less num­bers have done so through­out his­tory, some in­deed by chance but many through Con­grat­u­la­tions to Sir Ken Dodd on his 90th birth­day. May he find him­self tick­led for many years to come. IN the late 1950s and early 1960s the art of the tele­vi­sion in­ter­view took off with a se­ries called Face To Face and hav­ing ob­tained a DVD of 34 of the shows I have watched with ad­mi­ra­tion as John Free­man in­ter­viewed an eclec­tic mix of prom­i­nent peo­ple of the time both Bri­tish and for­eign. How dif­fer­ent

choice. A few decades ago, when the word had a dif­fer­ent mean­ing, sin­gle men were of­ten re­ferred to as gay bach­e­lors while women were sad spin­sters. These statis­tics demon­strate that the op­po­site is true.

Women cope much bet­ter alone. I sus­pect they al­ways have and that many an old maid was ac­tu­ally glad to be so.

Be­lieve me, I know.

FACE TO FACE WITH THE BIRTH OF THE TELE­VI­SION IN­TER­VIEW

were manners and mores then! I laughed as so many of the sub­jects lit up cig­a­rettes dur­ing the in­ter­view and an­swered ques­tions be­tween puffs.

Then amaz­ingly the in­ter­viewer was merely a voice with the cam­era un­remit­tingly on the sub­ject, as op­posed to the mod­ern con­cept of the in­ter­viewer be­ing the star of the show. The sub­ject al­ways had time to an­swer thought­fully and most did so in good English prose, the only ex­cep­tions be­ing those of Adam Faith, the pop star, and peo­ple whose first lan­guage was not English.

Free­man could be per­sis­tent but never hec­tor­ing. It was a gen­uine con­ver­sa­tion. A lord chief jus­tice pon­dered the morals of de­fend­ing the guilty, a Ger­man gen­eral the chal­lenge of dis­obey­ing or­ders, a TV star the triv­i­al­ity of a life spent in panel games. It was fas­ci­nat­ing, prob­ing and thought-pro­vok­ing and I re­gret its demise.

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