I had an email last week from a reader from a small town in Ontario, Canada in which she commented how difficult it was to find activities for single older women. To make matters worse, it seems that she is being made to feel unwelcome at some senior activities which are dominated by oldster couples.
My heart goes out to this woman because I have no doubt what she is saying is true; there is definitely a tendency among couples to act like single women (no matter whether they are widowed or divorced) are either some sort of a threat, or worse, contagious.
It would be nice to think that this sort of behaviour died out in high school, but some people just never grow up and it is quite often the married women who are spearheading this cruel and elitist behaviour.
In truth, these insecure narrow minded people probably would not make great friends anyway. My honest suggestion would be to simply ignore them. This woman should invite another single female to attend the next group supper with and stroll through the door in a bright red dress! (It is far better to be gossiped about than forgotten.)
On a more practical level, it is definitely time for this lady to find some new activities where single people are welcome. The possibilities that come to mind are sporting activities such as ice skating or swimming; cultural activities such art classes, art show, or book clubs; social activities such as bridge clubs, or coffee groups; and any sort of volunteer work.
It really does not matter if you have not done any of these things before – the point is to stretch yourself and try completely new things. Yes it will be uncomfortable at first, and the thought of wearing a bathing suit might be just too terrifying for words, but sitting home alone is worse and not good for your health.
No coffee club in your town? Then start one. Call up three other single people and invite them to meet you at the mall. Don’t let the fact that you don’t know them very well dissuade you; it will give you all something to talk about. My father, who is about to be eighty-one, sorts books for a charity with another oldster each Friday morning – they did not know each other at all when they started but now they are the best of buddies. If he can strike up a new friendship at his age then so can you.
To the married women out there who are shunning single women remember: “but for the grace of God there go you”. You may think that these women somehow deserve to be alone but you have absolutely no idea what they have been through, and even less what the future might have in store for you.
To the single ladies: don’t wait for the people around you to understand your circumstances; go get your hair done make a new life for yourself. Do not become Alice in Wonderland swimming in a pool of your own tears!
Life, especially as we get older, must be enjoyed, not made miserable by the insensitive acts of others.