Posted by: bravo22c | 15/02/2010

Janh1 asked a question.

Well, two questions actually. ‘Why don’t we sometimes just talk about sharing experiences, comparing notes on the big issues of lifestyle, families, relationships and swapping views on contemporary culture – stuff that’s all out there to be discussed,’ which gave me to think about a subject that’s quite dear to me and will be the subject of my next blog, and this; ‘How have your lives been over the last ten years? Has anyone achieved what they set out to achieve? If not, why not – and what can you do about it? Does anyone share the view that suddenly time becomes precious when you’re the wrong side of forty, yet before that age it’s not a factor at all?’

In the last 16 years of my life, (since I left the colours,) I’ve achieved my main goal, seeing my children into adulthood and independence – isn’t that what most of us spend a good part of our time doing, mostly? With that done and dusted, (mostly, they always come back, don’t they?) I suddenly found that I had time to think about, and devote time and money to, things other than what needed to be done for them. You’re right about age too, it is a sobering thought when you realise that there is more of your life behind you than there is ahead 🙂 A second achievement was recovering from divorce from my ex of 23 years – nothing sordid, and I still don’t understand quite what happened, it seems that we just wanted different things and that once the children were grown and flown the differences became more important than the things we shared. My ex and I are now good friends, happily, we support each other as good friends should, and take a shared delight in our Grandchildren.

My third achievement has been in re-learning how to live an independent life of my own. Being back in the dating game and re-discovering the complications or relationships with women, rather than spouses, was a challenge at first, particularly since I was in Hong Kong where most women in a similar situation – single or divorced and of ‘a certain age,’ – to me were local rather than WASPs. Different rules apply and learning them was fun, though frustrating at times. It also prompted me to think a bit about relationships between men and women, and this, at last perhaps, is the point of the blog. How should men treat women?

I like women 🙂 They are fun to be with. They think in a different way to men – and this has been supported by studies. Men need women – if men need to be comforted, or if they need emotional support, it is women they turn to for most things, though there is a clear need for male support in some circumstances. As the Chinese saying has it, women hold up half the sky and we men need to recognise and acknowledge that. I suggest that we have lost something in our culture since, as you put it, ‘the people who used to preach peace and love and wear flowers in their hair’ appeared, and, thankfully, disappeared again. ‘Equality for women’ lost the plot somewhere along the line. Instead of meaning something on the lines of equality of opportunity and ‘vive la difference’, it seems to have come to mean something like ‘women must be the same as men and à bas tous les differences.’ It’s seen in magazines with names like ‘Wotcher,’ ‘Gossip about celebrities no-one’s ever heard of,’ ‘Photo’s of strange people in embarrassing situations,’** and their like. It’s also seen in the behaviour of young women in public, particularly in popular holiday destinations in the sun. There is a tendency amongst younger women to foul language – and a corresponding increase in the use of foul language by men in public and in front of women – and violent behaviour in the less educated. Personally, I find this odious. I like to treat women with respect. I take pleasure in the little things, opening doors, running round to the passenger side of the car to help a lady out, standing when a lady leaves and comes back to the table and giving flowers for no apparent reason. If you were on the Clapham Omnibus in the rush hour and I stood up to give you my seat, it would make you feel good, it would make me feel good and it would cost us nothing – I might even get a nice smile to brighten my day as a bonus. I suggest that, somehow, the baby got thrown out with the bath water. As the father of two daughters, I am by no means saying that women should not have the same opportunities as men I worked hard to make sure that my daughters got plenty of opportunity, of which, I’m happy to be able to say, they’ve taken full advantage. What I am saying is that good manners and politeness are the grease which oils the wheels of our daily lives and takes out the friction in our relationships. The denigration of good manners and standards of behaviour and the accompanying loss of politeness in our daily lives may, or may not be the root cause of much of the behaviour we see around us every day, but there is a good probability that there is a case to be made that it has been a major contributing factor.

My question is, do you think that this is the case? And a general question could be, what can be done about it?

PS. Toilet seats. We need ‘em up, you need ‘em down, do try to live with it, ladies.

*’Right-minded people* – people who think like I do.
** All names changed slightly to avoid legal action.

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