Sunday, May 23, 2021


"A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle."
This feminist slogan has often been attributed to Gloria Steinem but was in fact coined by Irina Dunn in 1970.

by Gary Sta

Never has this iconic statement been more true than in a woman's - or a man's - senior years.

Earlier this month I wrote a blog called "Grow Even When You Lose: The Value of relationships That Don't Pan Out" -- you can read that here -- that forced me to look deeper within, to know myself a little better, and to understand more about what I want - and don't want - in a relationship.

I continue even into today, letting that blog simmer in me and thought I might like a feminine perspective on my thoughts around the difficulties of the desire to step into a relationship in my advancing (there... I said it) years and what has clearly emerged as my elderhood relationship status: That of a single senior citizen, a difficult place at best with my Shamanic Astrological Chart pointing strongly at relationship and community as my purposes, neither of which I find myself in today.

In that respect, this time of being alone during the pandemic has had a positive side for me: It has allowed me time to really work on my relationship with me.

Still, my friend Google led me to a blog called Boomer Blix and a remarkable blog post titled "A Nurse or A Purse: Why Boomer Women Stay Single…Or Should Really, Really Think About It," by a woman named Suzanne Ball.  

It's largely about the feminine perspective of growing older without a partner (a man, in her case, but certainly not the only option in a world of growing gender fluidity). I'd love to talk with her.

Her blog appears to be inactive since her last post there was in in mid-2016. On it were some links to her FB page, and others, and they all seemed to be inactive as well. I thought about searching for her some more, but the word "stalker" came to mind and I stepped back from that, not wanting to be that guy.

Anway, she'd written some very good blogs about being an "aging" woman, including the one I linked above about 
Why Boomer Women Stay Single. In that blog she points out that
"Women--who also like companionship and its fringe benefits--are faced with a tough decision. Having taken care of children, husbands, parents, pets, and plants for several decades, they find themselves kind of enjoying the freedom of singlehood. Popcorn for dinner, any movie or play, and no one snoring next to them. Hairy legs. Freedom to fart." 
She then goes on to point out, "Hence the dilemma. Sacrifice hard-fought independence for a measure of security? Should you enter a relationship, knowing you have a good shot at becoming the caretaker? Or the banker? Just so you can take advantage of  the "double occupancy" price? And someone to have morning coffee with?" 

Some facts to consider:
  • Boomers are expected to live longer than any previous generation...but in poorer health. Blame it on the introduction of processed and fast foods in our youth.

  • The average 50 year-old man takes four prescription drugs a day. It increases after that.

  • Boomer men have a higher death rate for all ten top causes of death: Heart disease, cancer, injuries, cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory diseases, pneumonia/flu, HIV-related, suicide and homicide.

  • Boomer males who are recently divorced likely conceded half their assets in the process; they know they have little time to recoup the loss. They need a second income, pronto.
You get the picture. she goes on to say. "I'm not trying to discourage Boomer romance. In fact, I still have hopes for myself, although it seems I will have to be quite discerning."

Here are some reasons Boomer women are choosing to decline marriage:
  • They have a strong social network, with friends who are fun and supportive. 
  • They like the idea of dating or having a relationship without the burden of having to always compromise...or pick up after someone else. 
  • Their families are the priority, and they enjoy being with their adult children and grandchildren. 
  • They are better at managing their finances, partly because they have generally earned less than their male counterparts. They know how to make ends meet.
  • And...only 33% of men want to date someone their own age. Once men divorce, they think younger women will find them (and their medical history) too hot to pass up. Same old, same old.

I suspect that the two women I refered to in my previous blog were wrestling with the same experiences and just had not fully come to terms with them... maybe. 

At 76 years old next week, I'm certainly no stranger to this subject. Even my sister, also named Suzanne (Sooz, as I affectionately call her), has a placard in her home in Napa that reads:

"A woman who is looking for a
husband has never been married."

She LOVES living alone.

I get it. I've been married twice and it would be easy to say "well, you weren't very good at relationship," and I'd say that was probably true in my first, but in my second marriage, we know we came together to complete parts of us that were damaged, and when we managed to heal the damaged parts, we had completed our Sacred Purpose as a couple. I happily acknowlege that our time together was a time of enormous growth for me, and for that I will be eternally grateful to her. 
We also realized that we were just better at being friends and parted as amazingly supportive friends and remain so still. 

Just like many women my age, I'm a man who also cherishes my alone time, to be able to do what I like to do when I want to do it. I don't want to move in with anyone, nor do I want someone to move in with me. I don't need their money and hopefully it will be a good while before I need a nurse. So far so good.

I'm also grateful that I am remarkably healthy for my age. The average man is on four prescription drugs by age 50? I'm 76 and not on a single prescription drug, something my doctors seem blown away by, and I'm always thrilled to hear, "you're how old?"

What I'm not looking for is a purse , a nurse, or worse... but a sweet and intelligent companion who has done her own inner work and isn't afraid to talk about what's on her mind without being triggered at every turn, and yet, understanding growth comes as a result of conflict (hopefully minor conflict), (along with some fringe benefits) sounds pretty good. 

You know... someone like me!

I envy couples who have mananged to stay together throughout the years, able to bear the inevitable storms of relationship. 

Sometimes wish I could have been in one of those relationships, understanding that they, too, surely experienced their own storms and turmoils of their relationship, but everyone has their own path to walk. Each of my previous relationships, especially over the last two decades, short or long, good or bad, has had a tremendous effect on the person I am today, in and out of relationship -- and I am immensely grateful to them all. 

Also of interest:
Is the single life a symptom of social fragmentation or individual narcissism? Don't you believe it


Anyaa said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anyaa said...

I’m the good friend and most recent former spouse, and what a great blog, Gary. Always interesting reading especially now that I’m an elder single boomer again too! My recent partner of 3.5 yrs and I recently parted ways over differences in the COVID worldview. And yes, being single in these times in the boonies of western NC is similar to being single in Panama, but the few people around me speak English! May we both fall deeper in love with ourselves, our freedom, and eventually magnetize our rest of life parters… all in Divine Timing of course💚🙏🏼🌷

Gary Stamper said...

Thank you for your lovely comment and endorsement, Anyaa. This is just one of many reasons I will always carry unconditional love for you.

TW, to others who may read here. Somehow, Anyaa's reply eas posted twice and she asked me to remove one, so I did.