Women are always better at living alone
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.