Lonely hearts? Being sexist won't help!
Nobody wants to be alone for Valentines Day or even the period leading up to the dreaded day. Even the non-believers amongst us who find it contrived and commercialised prefer to cringe with somebody at the exaggerated shows of affection rather than suffer the sight of sickly couples alone.
The other day, I was reading the ‘Lonely Hearts’ section of the Yorkshire Post, though not, you understand, as a genuine attempt to find the ‘one’ in time for the special day this February, but rather out of curiosity at some of the advertisements to be found there. Among them were the usual ‘VGL Male 54, divorced, WLTM woman with VGSOH, N/S, OHAC, please get in touch’ and ‘VGL lady seeks mature man, 25-40 with an interest in travelling, wine and reading’ and even a lonely, desperate ‘Male, 84 seeks woman for friendship and outings’ which I thought rather poignant. I almost called up out of sympathy- old men can sometimes be very interesting- and he reminded me of the lonesome, elderly gentleman I met on Kingsgate Bridge who, in exchange for a typically English polite discussion on the weather, offered me a Werther’s Orginal which I took with complete abandon for the rule ‘never take sweets from strangers’.
I used to think these adverts were a last, desperate attempt for the socially inept to find a partner but since both my parents found their current partners on dating websites, I’ve come to accept that it is more a genuine attempt to meet people for an age group where being divorced and getting involved in things becomes increasingly difficult, and the concept of being alone for the long-haul all the more daunting.
However, included among the rather numerous selection of adverts was one to which I immediately took offence: ‘Man, 48, seeks woman who will cook, clean and iron and who doesn’t spend a lot on a night in’. Now forgive me, but I struggle to comprehend how this 48 year old thought it acceptable to compile such an advert given the ‘modern, equal’ society we are supposed to live in today. I also couldn’t understand how he thought that somebody might be interested in contacting him. He may as well have advertised to employ a cleaner for all the charm it carried.
What was he expecting to receive as a reply? ‘Oh yes, please let me do all your housework and then let’s never go out for a nice meal together and don’t even bother to make me feel special once in a while, that would make me very happy’. That sort of attitude may be expected, though not condoned, for a man who lived when women did mostly do the housework, but not for a 48 year old and definitely not in an advertisement for a potential partner, especially when Britain is in the grips of a ‘mancession’ where men are losing jobs at twice the rate of women and where women’s wages make up the sole income for nearly 1 in 3 couples households. If these statistics from Mary Bower’s article in The Times (23rd January) are anything to go by, he might get luckier in winning a woman over by offering to do her housework instead!
I am also a little surprised that the Yorkshire Post allowed that show of sexism and disrespect to be printed. Newspapers should be trying to encourage gender equality whilst dispelling old fashioned stereotypes. Modern women of today have careers, just like men, in departments alongside men, and achieve just as much as men and therefore should be treated as equals to men; not as slaves of household chores, trophies, nannies, personal assistants and whatever else the chauvinists of the world choose to treat them as. It would seem in actual fact, in this ‘mancessional’ crisis, that women are coming into their own, and more and more often it’s the women who are the breadwinners in relationships. Now that is worth a Werther’s Orginal or two don’t you think?
Given his utter ignorance of the female mind it’d be interesting to find out how many calls this deluded man received, not including the offended lasses of Yorkshire who may have wanted to give him a piece of their mind, which I certainly did.
Out of complete indignation I even tried to give this imbecile a bit of abuse, but you had to have an account with the company, and even if it is acceptable to be middle aged and active on these sites, it is probably best to avoid the 21 year olds who ‘WLTM man earning more than £100,00pa, willing to pay for everything (including luxury holidays and cleaning man/lady), who has own penthouse apartment in central London, Paris, New York and houses in most other countries’.
I think I’ll just leave the finding the love of my life for the time being and get back to my degree. Even though women out there are doing better in the job and careers world, it’s still extremely competitive and I don’t want to end up doing some guy’s housework thank you very much!