Crash and crèche

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FOR a variety of reasons many men live solitary lives.

Perhaps they are widowed or a relationship has crashed. Without a partner, girlfriend of wife, many are the problems encountered. Only when single do you realise that the entire world is tailored to meet the needs of people in relationships.

Apart from a miserable Christmas Day spent on my own my most poignant experience of isolation was during a visit to a busy Costa del Sol resort.

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On a business trip and left to my own devices I didn’t relish dining alone in the hotel’s dining room. Having it in mind to discover a cosy little restaurant where I might find a corner table, I dressed for dinner then foolishly I ventured out.

Restaurant staff was serving packed tables. Had there been a spare table I would have been shooed away. The last thing a busy restaurateur needs is Billy no Mates hogging a table for four.

Everywhere I wandered there were couples, families, friends and lovers enjoying each other’s company which rubbed salt deeper into my bleeding wounds of loneliness. The only thing one notices in a busy resort is a man sat on his own.

Men do like to take themselves off for a beer but there are few sights more poignant that a man holding up the bar on his own. It’s a man thing; women are mutually supportive and will be happy to talk the sister-sun up. We men aren’t like that. The sight of a bloke on his own sends out a warning signal that he has baggage.

Yet, I recall that some of my happiest evenings were spent in the mess or recreation room. As a serviceman I often preferred my own company. The difference was the company was all male. Some chatted quietly together; others read, played cards or darts, sat alone or wrote letters. But, in such surroundings one never felt alone or isolated; quite the opposite.

Might I suggest a solution to any bar or restaurant that finds it difficult to fill tables on certain nights. Set one evening aside each week as a men only occasion. A few newspapers, a bookcase, and a pool table are fine. A place to sit with one’s laptop would be good, and why not a dart board, a few card games, dominoes.

If one’s publicity makes it clear that single men are especially welcome I anticipate considerable interest. I am sure the interest would be added by the bank to the takings on each occasion a Men Only night is held.

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