Friday, November 7, 2014

Widower says this column is written for women

On Life and Love After 60

By Thomas P. Blake  November 7, 2014

A widower says this column is for women

Ellen, a Champ and long-time friend of mine, lives in the Pacific Northwest. She and her partner Paul have been together for three and a half years. Ellen wrote, “We sent last week’s newsletter to a relative who is newly widowed after 60 years of marriage. He is a great guy, outgoing, in good health, handsome, financially secure, and quite a catch at 80.

“He has just started seeing a woman he knew from church.
It seems to be moving quickly. She is twice divorced, 18 years younger, with a 27-year-old son living with her, who doesn't drive. That first time with someone after being widowed is so powerful, you're coming from a place of starvation and it feels sooooo good.

“He commented that your newsletter is mostly for women. I noticed that all the comments in this one were from women. I know the newsletter could be beneficial for him.”  

I told Ellen that her email is what inspired today’s column. Her
widower friend is correct in a way; the newsletter is primarily written for and read by women. The reason: Approximately 80 percent of newsletter subscribers are women, and they are the ones who respond with questions, comments, personal experiences and observations, as you did today.

It’s always been this way, going back to the column’s roots.

My first column, titled, “Living alone with only my dogs for company,” ran in the local Dana Point, California, newspaper on July 4, 1994. I had gone through an unexpected divorce and had captured my thoughts on paper. The material had a-woe-is-me, I-got-screwed-in- my-divorce, and younger-women-won’t-date-me, flavor to it. I showed the two editors, who were women, my material. They liked the male-point-of-view--no men were writing about love in those days--and gave me a chance.

What those two editors didn’t tell me was they privately felt the women readers of Orange County would find my material so male-slanted and controversial, it would stir them up big time. It did. I remember the first reader response. A woman wrote, “Who is this sniveling puke?” Another said, “Why is it that middle-aged geezers want to date 20-year olds?” Soon, we were off to the races and the column was in 10 local papers. After that, it ran in the Orange County Register for eight years.

Initially, I estimated the readership was 70 percent woman. As I’ve grown older, the percentage of women readers has increased.

According to Census statistics, by age 60, the number of single women in the USA outnumbers the number of single men by approximately three-to-one. At age 70, it's closer to four-to-one. By age 80, six-or-seven to one. There are simply many more single women than single men in the later years.

I see similar ratios at the Meet and Greet singles events I’ve hosted at my deli for two and a half years. There are almost always two to three times more women than men who attend. And I need to keep replenishing with new men because women gobble them up and then don’t want their new boyfriends to attend any more. I know of approximately 15 men who don’t come back because they met their new main squeeze there. And sadly, two of our regular guys have recently passed away.

When men respond to the newsletter, or send in questions or opinions, they often make very valid points. I usually use their information because women still want to hear the male point-of-view. Some of the men I have recently quoted--Jon from Olympia, Washington, Ken and Chris from Orange County, California, and Art from Florida, for example--really hit the nail on the head with their comments.

And then there are some men who make no sense at all, but not many.

From what Ellen wrote about her widower relative, it sounds like he is moving quickly. But, who am I to judge if this is right or wrong? While his new woman friend is 18-years-younger, he may be happy with her and willing to accept her 27-year-old son as part of the package. I would just caution him to protect his assets and to ensure his estate plan is written the way he wants it.

Still, the widower could benefit from newsletter information that might help him avoid making mistakes that he would later regret. I published an ebook that could be helpful to him titled, “Widower Dating. Gold Mine or Mine Field?” That can be downloaded to one’s computer or reading device at

While I am on the subject of this newsletter and that it is read primarily by women, a somewhat related issue was presented to me at last week’s Meet and Greet. A woman I had never met approached me and handed me a folded, hand-written note. I was busy so I put the piece of paper in my pocket for later reading.

At home, Greta said she had seen the woman hand me the note and was just curious, of course, about its contents. We read it together. It said: “What do you think about doing a ‘His’ and ‘Her’ point-of-view in each of your articles? I’m 59 and would be interested writing it if there is an interest.”

My thoughts on shared writing of this column: Every week I include at least one woman’s point-of-view, usually more than that as Ellen pointed out. The last thing I need is to try to co-ordinate weekly articles to include one exclusive woman’s point-of-view. There isn’t time or money to do that.

Also, why would I--after 20 years of scratching out these columns and newsletters every week on own--be willing to allow someone to ride on my hard-earned coattails? Would doing so make the column more enjoyable to read for women, my primary support group? I don’t think so.

Besides, my current newspaper editor, also a woman, is the one who decides how the newspaper column will be formatted. The woman who wrote the note would have to approach her. And, the big boss, the newspaper publisher, hired me because he wants the male-point-of-view.

So, if anything, I need more male-points-of view in my columns. And believe me, getting them is as hard to come by as getting new men to attend our singles functions.

But that doesn’t mean I will stop trying. 

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