I don’t know about you but I love watching animal programmes on TV. Give me anything on elephants, monkeys, whales and I am completely absorbed. Lately I have been watching The Secret Life of the Zoo on Channel 4, a series about Chester Zoo and their conservation programme. It is full of plenty of fascinating information about the relationships its residents form with each other. How many of us have ever given a thought to the sex lives of Hercules Beetles? Well, a few weeks ago it featured just that relationship, amongst others. The newly matured lady Hercules Beetle was put in an environment with four males who firstly had no idea that their lives were going to change. One had a missing leg and his horn was crooked. Still, whilst the two strongest were battling it out for her affections, he managed to mate with her! The fourth one escaped altogether. He knew he was not strong nor smart enough. It was an interesting perspective on relationships and how they work.
When I was growing up, the popular boys were those who had an amazing (their father’s probably) sports car. If on top of that they were basketball players, well, that did the deal. As for girls they had to be slim and have beautiful hair. This was my perception of course. When I was just about 13 years old I became infatuated with a drummer at the hotel where we were staying during our summer holidays. This chap studied dentistry at university in Ankara in the winter. He was much older than me and treated me more like a sister. He had a little red car and very occasionally he would pick me up a distance from my home in case he was seen, and take me to have an ice-cream. Sometimes he would call on the phone too and if my father happened to answer, he’d say, ‘ Is this the water company?’ And of course my dad would say no and hang up. Then I would know it was he who had called. He had a fiancée too. Years later I was in a taxi and passed in front of his Dentistry cabinet. His name was written big and bold on the door.
It was so easy then, and for many years later to be in and out of relationships. As the French say, ‘You lose one, you gain ten.’ If it did not work out, well, you dumped them or got dumped. There was no texting or internet dating. It was all done face to face. People were out and about so you saw each other. It seemed less complicated.
When the age to be married came, the first question asked was ‘What does he do?’ followed, or preceded, by, ‘Tell us about the family’. It was important that the man had a good education, good job and a good family background. In my own experience raising children with someone from similar backgrounds and values is less complicated. Unfortunately despite these attributes not all marriages last. People change, expectations change.
Do our expectations change as we grow older? Once the marriage and children are out of the way one would assume the demands lessen. We just need companionship don’t we?
So many of of my friends are now divorced. The majority of them are still single. Do they not want a new relationship? It seems to me that they do, but one gets used to being in one’s own company and women seem not to lower the standards that they are used to. Also, sadly of course, it is rare to attract men of similar or younger age. I do not want to be disrespectful to older men but to me women generally look much better as they get older. A good hair colour and cut, appropriate make up can take years away. Yet men seem more in luck when it comes to finding partners. Also they seem less able to bear solitude so they rarely remain alone. Women however take whatever life offers in their stride. Could it be because they open up to each other and have many close relationships with their girlfriends with whom they share hobbies and interests?
I would love to hear your comments on relationships now and then.
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