Thursday, 14 October 2010
Britain is a country whose old men have lost their champion Claire Rayner
Claire Rayner, who has died aged 79, was probably Britain's best known and best loved 'agony aunt'.
Two years ago she wrote an article in 'The Guardian' entitled :
'Take every chance you can - on what women can teach men about getting older'.
She said :
* she remembered one letter she got in the 1980's which said : 'I'm 81, I'm very energetic and healthy but so lonely since my wife died. I'm a clean and tidy old man, and I'd love to meet another lady.'
* it was 'heartbreaking', but 'not uncommon' and she got many letters from men in their 70's and 80's who had been desperately lonely since losing their wives.
* these men knew they weren't eating properly and it was because they didn't know how to cook and their attitude was 'why bother?'. Many didn't see family or friends any more.
* she got letters from men who were divorced and desperate to see their children, or grandchildren.
* her advice was : 'when you lose your partner, not only have you lost your life companion, a whole lifetime of memories have gone.... accept every single invitation that comes your way, because otherwise people will stop asking. It's easy to get out of the habit of being sociable - you can lose it very quickly, especially if you're grieving. If you don't have a circle of friends, then force yourself to meet new people'.
* and take every chance you can. Join local interest groups, dating agencies, look in your favourite paper or magazine at the contacts column. Many men in their late 70's and 80's still have healthy libidos.
Claire, what a treasure you were.
The BBC obituary for this remarkable woman :